Canterbury has been a hotspot for pilgrims ever since archbishop Thomas Becket met his grisly end in the cathedral in 1170. Nowadays, visitors are more likely to be marvelling at the medieval architecture, lapping pints in ancient pubs or splashing some cash in boutiques than making a true religious journey. No matter your reason for visiting, there’s an excellent collection of guesthouses in the city or nearby offering a homely experience. Here are the best.
TOR Spa Retreat is the place to stay if you really want to relax. This ayurvedic spa hotel sits in the village of Ickham, 5mi (8km) from Canterbury. The spa itself has a steam room, a Finnish sauna and a super-heated oxygenated indoor pool, along with a lengthy treatment menu. Guest rooms feature a peaceful neutral colour palette, with comfort and cosiness expressed through the fluffy soft furnishings.
Taking its name from Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (1392), the Wife of Bath guesthouse is a 30-minute drive from Canterbury in the village of Wye. The six guestrooms – each named after a character in Chaucer’s magnum opus – come with Egyptian cotton sheets, a flat-screen TV and Nespresso machine. When you get hungry, the on-site restaurant serves a delightful selection of British classics using local ingredients. In the morning, you can get a breakfast hamper filled with coffee and pastries delivered to your room.
If you awaken at Seabrook House on a clear morning, you might just be able to see France from your window. Even if you can’t, the views are still impressive much closer to home. This B&B sits in a half-timbered Victorian property within landscaped gardens, with rooms decorated in a neutral, pastel colour scheme. A highlight of the guesthouse is undoubtedly the tropical-themed room with beach-style loungers sitting under a sunlight simulator, allowing you to top up your vitamin D before hitting the streets of Canterbury.
You’ll find true history at Willow Down, a converted farmhouse built in the 1640s. You’ll stay in one of the two rooms in the annexe. The ground floor has a king-size bed and a single, while the first floor is a self-contained king room with a kitchen. The centre of Canterbury is a five-minute drive, or the greens of the local golf course may attract you. Whatever you choose, end the evening sipping on a pint in the Old Coach & Horses gastropub, about a 10-minute walk away.
This barn conversion is as pretty a Kent house as you’ll find anywhere. It was built in 1860 to store apples but is now one of the best guesthouses in Canterbury. You can explore the 247 acres (100ha) of apple, cherry, pear and cobnut orchards or get into birdwatching at the dedicated reservoir. The hotel is cosily decorated in an old-world theme with artefacts from across the globe artfully scattered about the property.
Bijou Abode sits in the heart of the city, perfect for exploring the delights of Canterbury, particularly the thriving cultural scene; it’s opposite the Marlowe Theatre. Rooms are unusually spacious for a hotel in such an ancient city, and the ensuite bathrooms have underfloor heating and a roll-top bath for a welcome touch of luxury.
This boutique B&B sits in the heart of Folkestone. Although you’re not right in Canterbury, the good news is you’ll return to a soundproofed ensuite room with a king-size bed, walk-in power shower and vanity desk. And when you get hungry, you can head to its sister restaurant, Sotirio’s, for reasonably priced Greek cuisine. If you don’t fancy a journey to Canterbury, visit the nearby Creative Quarter, where you can wander down the technicoloured Old High Street, lined with boutique shops, cafes and galleries.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.