Top 15 Things to Do in Canterbury and the Surrounding Area

Welcome to the charming city of Canterbury and its picturesque surrounding area! Steeped in history, this idyllic region in southeastern England offers an abundance of captivating attractions and activities for tourists of all interests. With its iconic landmarks, rich heritage, and scenic landscapes, Canterbury and its surroundings are the perfect destination for history buffs, nature lovers, and culture enthusiasts alike. So, let’s embark on a journey through the Top 15 Things to Do in this delightful corner of England.

Stroll through the Historic City Centre:

Take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets of Canterbury’s historic city center. Admire the well-preserved medieval buildings, charming boutiques, and traditional tearooms. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of art and culture at the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge. Located in the heart of Canterbury, this museum and art gallery offer a diverse collection of exhibits, ranging from fine art and historical artefacts to interactive displays and educational workshops.

Indulge in Local Delights at the Goods Shed:

For a unique culinary experience, head to the Goods Shed, an award-winning farmers’ market and food hall located right next to Canterbury West railway station. Step inside and be greeted by an array of artisanal food stalls offering locally sourced and seasonal produce. From freshly baked bread and gourmet cheeses to organic fruits and vegetables, the Goods Shed is a food lover’s paradise. Don’t forget to treat your taste buds to some delectable street food from the diverse range of vendors, providing a taste of global flavours made with regional ingredients.

Explore Howletts Wild Animal Park:

Just a short drive from Canterbury, animal lovers can experience a wildlife adventure at Howletts Wild Animal Park. This conservation-focused park is home to a diverse array of endangered species, offering visitors an opportunity to learn about wildlife conservation while witnessing animals roam in spacious enclosures.

Enjoy a Boat Trip on the River Stour with Canterbury Historic River Tours:

Relax and indulge in the beauty of Canterbury’s waterways by taking a tranquil river tour with Canterbury Historic River Tours. Drift along the serene River Stour, passing under charming bridges and picturesque gardens. This enchanting journey offers a unique perspective of the city and its surroundings, with expert guides sharing captivating stories along the way.

Enjoy a Day at the Beach in Broadstairs:

Make your way to the charming seaside town of Broadstairs, known for its beautiful sandy beaches and coastal charm. Spend a day by the sea, basking in the sun, and sampling freshly caught seafood at the local restaurants. Don’t miss visiting Bleak House, the former residence of Charles Dickens, which provides stunning views of the coastline.

Wander through Westgate Gardens:

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and unwind in the serene Westgate Gardens. Perfect for a leisurely picnic or a quiet stroll, these gardens boast a lovely river walk and beautiful floral displays, making them an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and families alike.

Experience the Maritime History of Chatham Historic Dockyard:

For history enthusiasts, a trip to Chatham Historic Dockyard is a must. Explore the fascinating maritime heritage of the area with interactive exhibits, historic warships, and authentic dockyard buildings. The site offers an immersive journey through centuries of naval history and showcases the world’s most complete dockyard from the age of sail.

Discover the Canterbury Roman Museum:

History buffs will be delighted by the Canterbury Roman Museum, where you can explore the remains of an ancient Roman townhouse and discover fascinating artefacts that provide insights into Canterbury’s Roman past.

Delight in the charm of Whitstable:

Venture to the nearby coastal town of Whitstable, known for its quaint charm, artistic community, and delicious seafood. Explore the colourful beach huts, try the famous Whitstable oysters, and enjoy a relaxing day by the sea.

Explore Canterbury Cathedral:

No visit to Canterbury would be complete without experiencing the awe-inspiring Canterbury Cathedral. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the most significant religious and architectural marvels in England. Be enchanted by the breathtaking Gothic design, marvel at the stunning stained-glass windows, and immerse yourself in the centuries-old history of this spiritual sanctuary.

Discover the beauty of Dover Castle:

Take a short drive to Dover and marvel at the mighty Dover Castle, known as the “Key to England.” Explore the centuries-old fortifications, tunnels, and secret wartime chambers, and enjoy panoramic views of the English Channel from atop the castle’s iconic white cliffs.

Experience the Canterbury Festival (seasonal):

If your visit aligns with autumn, make sure to check out the Canterbury Festival, a two-week celebration of arts and culture. The festival showcases an exciting lineup of music, dance, theatre, and visual arts events, creating a vibrant atmosphere in the city.

Wander through the Enchanted Forest of Blean Woods:

Nature lovers will be delighted by a visit to Blean Woods, one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in southern England, situated a short distance north of Canterbury. Explore the network of walking trails, surrounded by an abundance of flora and fauna. This magical forest is a haven for wildlife and a serene escape from the bustling city.

Unwind at the Secret Gardens of Sandwich:

Nestled on the banks of the River Stour, just a short drive from Canterbury, lies the charming town of Sandwich. This quaint town is home to the Secret Gardens of Sandwich, a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Step into a world of tranquility as you explore these beautifully manicured gardens, featuring an array of colorful flowers, lush greenery, and peaceful water features. Take a leisurely stroll through the different themed gardens, each with its own unique character, and find a serene spot to sit and soak in the beauty of this picturesque sanctuary.

Immerse in History at Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre:

A history lover’s dream awaits at the Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre, located a short distance from Canterbury. This ancient site once served as a significant Roman port and played a crucial role in Roman Britain’s history. Explore the remains of the Roman walls, monumental gateways, and the impressive amphitheater that once hosted thrilling gladiatorial contests. Wander through the archeological remains and uncover the fascinating stories of this Roman settlement, transporting yourself back in time to the days of Roman rule.


Canterbury and its surrounding area offer a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its majestic cathedral to serene river tours and charming coastal towns, this region beckons tourists to explore its diverse attractions. Whether you’re intrigued by ancient history, seeking a tranquil retreat, or eager to immerse yourself in local culture, Canterbury and its surroundings promise an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags and embark on an enchanting journey to this captivating corner of England!

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