I absolutely adore my home city in Kent and whenever we’ve got a free weekend at home, I like to spend my Saturday in town, wandering the old city centre streets. When I moved to Canterbury in 2014 for University, I had no idea that I’d still be here 4 years later, but I guess plans just change when you end up adoring your University town. Canterbury is full of history, gorgeous architecture and every kind of independent cafe that you could ever dream of, so it’s incredibly popular with holidaymakers and weekend tourists. Saturdays are busy in town, but the atmosphere is electric and there is always plenty to do if you’re planning to visit the area for the day. To encourage more people to the area, I’ve decided to dedicate today’s article to the tourist attractions, restaurants and cafes that you should visit if you come to Canterbury on a Saturday. I’ve spent many Saturdays in town with Stuart, our family and friends and I’ve grown to learn which parts of the city should be top of your must-see list.
No trip to Canterbury is complete without a visit to the Cathedral, so I recommend getting to the Cathedral gates for opening at 9am. You’ll probably spend an hour at the UNESCO World Heritage site, wandering through the spectacular old building and exploring the beautiful grounds. Tickets aren’t cheap at £12.50 per adult, but it’s absolutely worth it as you get to visit one of the UK’s oldest and best-preserved Cathedrals.
The Beaney Museum
On the high street you’ll find The Beaney Museum, which always hosts unique art exhibitions. The exhibitions are usually always free and you can easily spend half an hour in the museum, admiring the art collection. In April we went to Quentin Blake’s BFG exhibition and it was so nostalgic.
The Beaney is also where you’ll find the city tourist information centre, which sells fantastic Canterbury postcards and souvenirs. If you want to take something home with you from your day out, the quality of souvenirs at The Beaney is much higher than anywhere else on the high street.
Once you’ve finished at the Beaney, I’d pencil in some time for shopping. Canterbury has lots of independent gift stores and if you happen to visit near Christmas, you will find lots of unique items for your family and friends. On the old city streets near the Cathedral you’ll notice the majority of the independent stores. My favourite gift store in the city is Wrapped and they have so many cute party decorations, stationary and bath products. It’s one of the stores in the town that I feel so fortunate to have as they sell items that you’d normally have to order online.
Flatbreads for lunch at Canteen
I originally heard about Canteen thanks to Groupon, but their flatbreads are delicious. From caesar chicken to hummus and falafel, they sell a variety of fillings for all kinds of diets. When you’re in Canterbury for the day, you must visit a one-off café for lunch and Canteen will not disappoint.
River tour in the afternoon
This is something that we’ve never actually done as we get to walk along the River Stour whenever we like, but the river tours are incredible popular with tourists. Some of the city river tours go past the Westgate Gardens, The Marlowe Theatre and the old streets via the Cathedral. If you join a tour in the afternoon, you’re bound to see lots of the city’s historic buildings.
After getting a glimpse of Westgate Gardens on the boat tour, I recommend heading there for a wander in the afternoon. The Westgate Arch dominates the skies above Canterbury city centre (once you reach it, you’re at the end of the high street) and adjacent to the arch is the gorgeous Westgate Gardens. In the gardens you can perch on the banks of the River Stour, amongst the colourful flowers that the garden is known for. You can watch the river tour boats go past and enjoy an ice cream on a sunny day. Stuart and I’s first date actually involved spending a sunny afternoon in Westgate Gardens.
Westgate Towers Museum and Viewpoint
This is top of my list of things that I’m still yet to experience in the city, but for £4 an adult you can go up the top of the Westgate Towers and see Canterbury from above. This is very affordable given that the Westgate Towers is one of Canterbury’s major attractions. It makes sense to pop into the museum on your way back from the gardens, before you head back into the centre of town for a cup of tea; this is Canterbury after all!
Tea and cake at Alice and the Hatter
In the late afternoon, make sure you stop at a tearoom for cake. Alice and the Hatter provides you with a unique afternoon tea experience as the whole place takes inspiration from Lewis Carrol’s iconic books. There are lots of weird and wonderful flavoured slices of cake and an expansive variety of teas, so it’s certainly the place to visit if you’d like try something new. Alternatively if Wonderland is not your cup of tea, head to Tiny Tim’s for classic scones or the Chocolate Cafe for waffles.
After tea, you’ll probably have seen enough of the city for one day. There are other places to visit such as Dane John Gardens, the Marlowe Theatre and Canterbury Roman Museum, but why cram them all into the remainder of your day in the city, when you could easily come back another weekend? One day is simply not enough to experience the whole of Canterbury.
Have you ever been to Canterbury? How did you spend your time in the city?
Thanks for reading my blog today.
Love Kat xxxx