Canterbury – A mix of everything
Whether it is spirituality you are looking for or for some quiet time, Canterbury can offer both. If you want to see famous churches and buildings, then Canterbury is where you need to be. If you want to relax at a beach and enjoy the sunshine, then also Canterbury is a right choice. If you don’t want to do anything and just want to take a long walk and explore, then also Canterbury is the ideal choice.
Canterbury’ coastline is 14.5 miles long and stretches from Seasalter to Reculver. It is located at a distance of 300 kilometers away from London, in South-Western England.
Canterbury is also known for Archbishop Thomas Becket’s tragic murder and for Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”. Considered as a pilgrimage site from the 12th century, The Canterbury Cathedral draws in big crowds every year.
The city is ideal for a walking tour because of its small size. It is a walled city. The defensive walls around the city were created during the period between 270 and 280 A.D. They were built by Romans and were meant to defend the city from invaders.
Canterbury has still retained its medieval character, unlike many other cities. It is widely regarded as the “birthplace” of English Christianity. It was in Canterbury where St Augustine had first converted Anglo Saxons in 597 A.D. He is buried at St Augustine’s Abbey, which is located just outside of the city’s walls.
When to go
Canterbury is good for a vacation at any time of the year. However, the period between the months of June to August is the best.
How to reach there:
Trains to Canterbury (East) leave after every 30 minutes from Victoria Station, London
Trains to Canterbury (West) leave after every 30 minutes from Charring Cross, London
Time of journey: One and a half hours maximum
A bus trip from London to Canterbury takes about two hours. Buses for Canterbury leave every hour from Victoria Coach Station.
It takes about an hour and 45 minutes to get to Canterbury via road from London. (If you are taking the M2 or A2). Canterbury Park and Ride has several parking areas just outside the city and their charges are nominal.
Where to stay
Kipps Canterbury Hotel
Located just a few minutes from Canterbury Cathedral, the Kipps Canterbury Hotel comprises of 10 guestrooms. There is a community kitchen where guests can prepare their meals. Wi-Fi internet access is available for free. There is a cafe, a bar and a lounge for eating and relaxing.
The Retro B & B Hotel
The name itself spells out the type of hotel it is. The Retro B &B hotel is also located close to the Canterbury Cathedral and is made up of red bricks. There are 6 rooms available for guests and the hotel offers daily complimentary breakfast. Other facilities include free Wi-Fi and free parking.
Pregegrine House Hotel
Like the other two hotels mentioned above, the Pregegrine House Hotel is also in close proximity of the cathedral. Free Wi-Fi and assistance for tours/tickets is available
Abode Canterbury Hotel
The Abode Canterbury Hotel is located centrally and has 72 guest rooms. The hotel has a restaurant, a cafe and a lounge. Room service is provided 24/7.
Top Attractions :
The Canterbury Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most famous places of worship in the whole world.
Both the interiors and the exteriors of the cathedral are an amalgamation of different types of architectural styles. It is famous because it was the location of Archbishop Thomas Becket’s murder. The unfortunate murder was committed in the year 1170 and was a result of a gross misunderstanding between Henry II and his knights. As you go and stand in front of the Cathedral, you cannot help but think of the murder.
The Old city is comprised of historic buildings which are framed by timbers. If you walk down to Mercery Lane, you can see a row of similar looking black and white houses with upper floors which seem to be “hanging”. Many of these houses were built before the time of Queen Elizabeth I. At the very end of Mercery lane, there is “Chequer of the Hope”. The latter is famous because it was mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales”.
No visit to Canterbury is complete without visiting the Canterbury tales. It is a museum dedicated to Geoffrey Chaucer. He is famously credited as “The father of English Literature”. Chaucer was born 200 years before Shakespeare. The Canterbury Tales are presented in this attraction as a “mock” 14th century pilgrimage.
Other notable Canterbury attractions include:
The Canterbury Norman Castle
St Martin’s Church
Canterbury Roman Museum
Chilham and Chilham Castle
St Augustine’s Abbey
Canterbury Heritage Museum
Take a walk on the wild side
Howletts Wild Animal Park
Located towards the South-East of Canterbury, the Howletts Wild Animal Park is home to two rare Sumatran tigers (Only 441 remains in the world). The park also consists of Rhinos, a herd of elephants and Western Lowland Gorillas. All of these animals are housed in natural enclosures.
Caution : Swim only on the beacheswhich are safe for doing so. When there is low tide, the currents are dangerous on most of the beaches. Always take local advice before swimming at any beach.
The beach is special because it is one of the few beaches in UK which has a pub on it! You can swim,take a walk across the unspoiled shoreline, grab a drink or simply watch the sunset.
Herne Bay Central Beach
This beach won the Seaside Award in 2016. Popular with families and large groups, it is ideal for bathing.
The Tankerton Beach is characterized by its sailing club and the wooden beach huts. It won the Blue Flag Award in 2016.
Reculver beach is ideal for those who want to “get away” for some time. Also a winner of the Seaside Award 2016, the beach is ideal for relaxing and for admiring the Kent coastline.