A far cry from the nearby business of London, Canterbury falls asleep as soon as the sun goes down. The center of Kent is blessed with rich countryside, quaint towns and some of the country’s most impressive cathedrals. The truth is that the majority of people who visit Canterbury do so just to have a look in the ancient cathedral. However, for many travellers, Canterbury can be much more than just a church visit. It can be a getaway from the rat race of the major cities. With so many ways to get out into the countryside, I’ll take this England over the busy England you find in London any day.
Time Needed: 1-2 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 50 Pounds
Things to do in Canterbury
Most people spend their day in Canterbury at the cathedral and do nothing else. Personally, I popped in and out of the cathedral and rather spent most of my time walking around the countryside. There are a couple really good walks that will get you out into the local “nature” and farmlands.
- Cathedral: The Cathedral is the main attraction for obvious reasons. It sits in the heart of the city and boasts the fact that it is one of the oldest cathedrals i Europe. You don’t have to pay to walk around the outside, but if you want to go in you’ll have to pay up. My recommendation is to go either first thing in the morning or just before close. Mid-day groups from London swarm the church.
- Walks: If you want to get out to the countryside it’s not difficult. You can pretty much wander in any direction and find a nice walking trail. Hambrook Marsh is a favourite walk among many. Also, if you don’t feel like leaving town you can also wander along the canals.
- Castles: The Norman Castle right in Canterbury isn’t much to write home about, but it does make for a nice sight. You can also do a daytrip to Dover to check out the very impressive Dover Castle.
- Museums: I’m not a big museum guy, and didn’t go into any of the museums in Canterbury. However, I was recommended the Canterbury Heritage Museum, so it might be worth a look if you’re into that sort of thing.
Where to Eat in Canterbury
I’m not going to mess with the talk of “English” cuisine, I’ve taken a hard enough time for my hassling of Manchester and London. You will find your Yorkshire puddings, fish and chips and meat pies at the pubs and a couple small diners in town. You’ll also find a variety of other foods such as French, Spanish and Mexican.
- Mexican: With more of a craving to sit outside and eat rather than a craving for Meixcan I went to a place called Tacos Locos. The food was great and the service was amazing. If you like Mexican food, this is the place to go.
- Pub: If you’re into pub food, give a place called Lady Luck a try which gets great reviews and has a really good atmosphere.
- Tapas: On my splurge night in Kent I went to a place called Cafe Mauresque which is a Spanish Tapas restaurant. The food was very good and the price wasn’t even as bad as I had expected. Very well worth a try.
Where to Stay in Canterbury
I stayed at Kipps Hostel which was actually a bit of a hike up a hill in town. However, the accommodation is fine and the staff is great. You’ll be hard pressed to find better value in town. I will be writing a review on the property in the next couple days.
Getting out of Town
If you’re going to Canterbury, chances are that you’re coming from London, Dover or perhaps mainland Europe. Getting to London or Dover, you’ll find that the train, for whatever reason, is really expensive for these trips. Instead, choose to jump on with National Express as they are much cheaper and only take slightly longer to get you where you’re going. If you’re heading directly to mainland Europe there are a couple options, but the train is likely your best choice unless you want to connect in Dover with a ferry to save a few bucks.
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