1 1/2 hours by train or 2 hours by car (62 miles) from London
Do you know that Canterbury is a walled city? We had no idea until we arrived there. Guess we missed it in all the literature. The wall makes a nice walk, and there is a hill not far from the train station that offers a great view. One of the oldest and most famous Cathedrals in England is here.
The streets are lined with old buildings, full of places to stop for coffee or tea and many unique shops to wander though. The gardens were breathtaking when we were there in the spring.
The highlight of our day was to take a punt tour. A punt is a flat bottom boat, rather like a gondola. We were lucky to have a tour with just our chatty guide and us. As the boat sits low in the water, we were able to float underneath some of the old buildings (most of the other tour boats couldn’t).
There are several boat tours in Canterbury; we liked this one – Canterbury Punting Company. Their website is www.canterburypunting.co.uk The punts are hand-made from hardwoods and can hold up to 12 people. You can request a personal, romantic or group tour.
Travel UK Tip
If you see the price for “Concessions,” it is equivalent with our, in the USA, “Senior” pricing.
Westgate Towers Museum & Viewpoint
Enjoy spectacular views of the city while standing on top of the largest surviving medieval gateway in England.
Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the city, head downstairs, grab a refreshing drink and take a seat in the newly restored police cells which were originally built in 1907!
This is a great stop for travelers on a budget, and they have a family ticket available.
Another budget-friendly stop is The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge. There may be a charge if there is a special exhibition.
If you arrived by train, it is an easy walk, about 10 to 12 minute through town to the cathedral. Over a million people visit each year. You may want to check their website for visiting tips and open times. The cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous in England. It is the site of the shrine of Thomas Becket and the seat of the Archbishop.
The spectacular building houses many stunning features, including a Romanesque crypt, a perpendicular nave, and beautiful medieval stained glass windows. Take a guided or audio tour or enjoy the surrounding gardens.
Visiting Canterbury is one of several excellent day trips from London. Or you can always stay much longer!