Family Activities in Canterbury: A City with Kids in mind

You and the kids are off to Canterbury for a few days and you’re wondering what there is to do. Well, you’re in luck!

This historic city has plenty of family-friendly activities to keep the little ones entertained. From boat rides to medieval Cathedrals, Canterbury offers a brilliant mix of culture, nature and good old-fashioned fun. In this article, we’ll share our top picks for family activities to try in Canterbury. You’ll find ideas for rainy days as well as sunshine, so you can make the most of your visit whatever the weather. With parks, museums, tours and more, Canterbury is a fantastic city for families. So get ready to explore centuries of history and create special memories with the kids.

Canterbury. A family friendly destination

Lots to explore

Canterbury offers families a variety of activities to enjoy together. There are world-class museums like the Canterbury Roman Museum and Beaney House of Art and Knowledge which offers free admission for kids. The city is also home to beautiful gardens like the Canterbury Cathedral Gardens, perfect for a family picnic.

Animal encounters

Families will love visiting wildlife havens like Wildwood Trust park and Howletts, which are home to diverse species including otters, and red squirrels.

Beyond the city centre

Families can enjoy hiking and cycling through scenic trails at Chartham Hatch and Stodmarsh Nature Reserve. A short drive away, families will find pristine beaches ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. Families looking for outdoor fun in the city centre should visit Dane John Gardens, which feature spaces for games and picnics.

A safe, welcoming city

Many venues in Canterbury offer free admission for children under 5, and the city centre is pedestrian-friendly with wide pavements, making it easy to get around with a pushchair. Canterbury’s family-friendly atmosphere ensure that families of all backgrounds will feel welcomed and at ease exploring the city.

With museums, gardens, wildlife havens and outdoor adventures set against a backdrop of stunning historical architecture, Canterbury offers families an idyllic English getaway. The city’s family-friendly amenities, natural beauty and rich history will delight visitors of all ages.

What makes Canterbury great for kids.

Canterbury is a fantastic city for families with children of all ages. You’ll never run out of exciting things to do that will capture the imagination of both kids and adults alike.

Outdoor adventures galore

Canterbury offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun. Explore the peaceful gardens and woodlands at Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve and spot birds, butterflies and other wildlife. The coastal town of Whitstable is only 10 minutes away, with a shingle beach perfect for swimming and enjoying fish and chips along the seafront.

Step back in time

A trip to Canterbury isn’t complete without visiting its UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Explore the ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey, founded in 597 AD, and see how the first Christian missionaries lived. At Canterbury Cathedral, kids can follow activity trails to learn about the cathedral’s history in a fun, engaging way.

With so much natural beauty, culture, and family fun on offer, Canterbury will capture the hearts of visitors both young and old. Your kids will cherish the memories of this magical city for years to come.

Top 3 Family-Friendly Activities in Canterbury

Meet the Locals at Wildwood Trust

This wildlife park and conservation charity is home to native British wildlife like badgers, otters, wild boar and more. Kids will love spotting the red squirrels, owls and deer in large, naturalistic enclosures. There are keeper talks, animal feeds and hands-on activities daily. It’s very budget-friendly and prams/wheelchairs accessible.

Explore the River Stour

A river boat tour on the River Stour is another great option for families visiting Canterbury. The tranquil river winds its way through the heart of the city past historic buildings and sights. Kids can keep an eye out for wildlife along the banks while learning about Canterbury’s history from the tour guide. It’s a fun, different way to see Canterbury from the water and experience the city from a new perspective.

Step Back in Time at Canterbury Roman Museum

History comes alive at this museum which showcases Canterbury’s Roman history. Check out a Roman marketplace, handle artefacts, build an arch and more. Kids get an activity pack to bring the exhibits to life. After, walk around the Roman walls of the city for a glimpse into ancient Canterbury.

Why a River Boat Tour is a great activity with kids

A river boat tour along the Stour River is an ideal family activity in Canterbury. Gliding along the water, you’ll enjoy scenic views of the city from a unique vantage point while your kids can let their imagination run wild.

Learn through Play

On a river cruise, kids can pretend to be explorers discovering Canterbury for the first time. Have them look for wildlife along the riverbanks like ducks, swans, and fish. Challenge them to a game of ‘I spy’ to see who spots the most interesting landmarks or natural features. These kinds of imaginative games promote learning through play.

Quality Family Time

A boat tour provides the perfect opportunity for quality time together as a family without distractions. You can sit back, relax, and truly enjoy each other’s company surrounded by the peaceful sounds of the river. Laugh together, share stories, or simply take in the views in companionable silence. Some of the best family memories are made during simple moments like these.

An Educational Experience

While entertaining for children, a river tour with Canterbury Historic River Tours also offers an educational experience. Kids can learn about Canterbury’s history and architecture spotting landmarks like the Westgate Towers, Canterbury Cathedral, and St. Augustine’s Abbey. An experienced guide provides commentary about each site along with tales of what life was like in medieval Canterbury. Your kids may not even realise how much they’re learning!

A river boat tour checks all the boxes for a fun, memorable family outing in Canterbury. Not only will your kids be entertained, but you’ll also spend quality time together while gaining a unique perspective of the city. For an enjoyable activity the whole family will love, a cruise along the Stour is a perfect choice.

Planning Your Family Holiday in Canterbury

Cathedral and St. Martin’s Church

No trip to Canterbury is complete without visiting the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral, founded in 597 AD. Kids will be wowed exploring the historic crypt and climbing the bell tower. Nearby St. Martin’s Church is the oldest church in England still in use. Entry to both is free for children under 16.

Howletts Wild Animal Park

For a fun family day out, head to Howletts Wild Animal Park, just outside Canterbury. It is home to a huge collection of wild animals, including gorillas, tigers, and elephants. The park has adventure playgrounds and zoo keeper talks to keep little ones entertained. Family tickets offer good value.

Leisure Activities for Children

Canterbury has plenty of kid-friendly activities for rainy days or to reward good behaviour! Take your pick from clip ‘n climb climbing walls, soft play centres, or Laser Quest laser tag.

With museums, parks, castles and cobbled streets to explore, Canterbury has so much for families to experience together. Advance planning will help make the most of your time and budget. Book activities and accommodation in advance, and consider looking online to get the best prices for local attractions. Most of all, go at your own pace and have fun discovering this charming historic city.


So there you have it, Canterbury really is a fantastic place to visit with the family. With its mix of culture, history, outdoor spaces and activities, there’s something here to keep everyone entertained. The compact size of the city centre makes it easy to explore on foot too. And with so many family-friendly places to eat you’ll be spoilt for choice. Hopefully this has given you some inspiration for your upcoming trip. We’re sure you’ll have a brilliant time making memories to cherish. Canterbury may be small, but it packs a lot in. Your kids will leave wanting to come back for more!

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