The Best Guesthouses in and Around Canterbury, England

Canterbury is full of old-world charm
Canterbury is full of old-world charm | © Leonid Andronov / iStock
Photo of Alice Johnston
Food Editor4 January 2021

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

Guesthouse, Spa Hotel
Map View
TOR Rooms
Courtesy of TOR Spa Retreat / Booking.com

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.

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The Wife of Bath

Pubs with Rooms
Map View
The Wife of Bath
Courtesy of The Wife of Bath / Expedia

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.

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Seabrook House

Guesthouse
Map View
Seabrook House
Courtesy of Seabrook House / Booking.com

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.

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Rocksalt

Pubs with Rooms, $$$
Map View
Rocksalt
Courtesy of Rocksalt / Expedia
Near the working fishing harbour of Folkestone, Rocksalt is a guesthouse with real heart. Each of the rooms has a unique character, with an antique bed, statement wallpaper and exposed brick walls – some even have views of the harbour and the English Channel. Start your day with a complimentary breakfast, and end it at the on-site restaurant that serves fresh fish complemented by waterfront panoramas. During the summer, reserve a seat on the wooden terrace.
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Willow Down

Bed and Breakfast
Map View
Willow Down
Courtesy of Willow Down / Hotels.com

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.

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  • China Farm Barn

    Bed and Breakfast
    Map View
    China Farm Barn
    Courtesy of China Farm Barn / Hotels.com

    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.

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    Bijou Abode

    Guesthouse
    Map View
    Bijou Abode
    Courtesy of Bijou Abode / Expedia

    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.

    Stay 2a

    Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse
    Map View
    Stay 2a
    Courtesy of Stay 2a / Booking.com

    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.

    These recommendations were updated on January 4, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.