The present seat of the Church of England, a pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages and one of the oldest and most appealing cities in England, the Unesco World Heritage site of Canterbury attracts visitors with its old-world charm and wealth of centuries-old architecture, including the famous Canterbury Cathedral. To aid you in your exploration of its cultural riches, the city is served by a spectacular selection of hotels, some with histories almost as old as the city itself, ranging from ultra modern chic retreats to 12th-century manors and ancient coaching inns. Here’s our pick of the best hotels in Canterbury – all bookable on Culture Trip.
Just inside the Canterbury city walls, the Coach House is a family-run B&B with lots of creaky charm and centuries-old character, spread over three floors of a gracious Georgian Grade-II-listed building that’s a short walk from the city centre. Rooms have wrought-iron beds, gilt mirrors and antique furniture, and overlook either the street or the garden at the rear. Some rooms are en-suite, while others have private bathrooms just across the hall. There’s on-site parking and the hotel is pet-friendly.
With 12 smart rooms, the Miller’s Arms has been a popular Canterbury inn since the 19th-century, and is an especially lovely pub-hotel. The comfortable, spacious rooms are named after Chaucer characters (from his bawdy Canterbury Tales) and some have wonderful river views. They’re appealingly kitted out with a hint of Shaker farmhouse style, with painted cabinets, plain headboards and chalky colours on the walls. Another advantage of staying here is the excellent ales and pub grub downstairs.
One of the most contemporary hotels in Canterbury, the Hilton offers rooms with sunflower-yellow headboards that contrast nicely with the pale blue carpets and textiles. There are great city vistas from many of the windows, and plenty of facilities to enhance your stay, including a fitness suite, stylish lounge, and a funkily blue-tiled bar where you can pull up one of the dusky pink bar stools for an evening drink.
Dating back to 1438, the Cathedral Gate Hotel is the most historic hotel in Canterbury. Converted from a medieval hospice, it is right in the town centre, with glorious views over cobbled Burgate from the front, and the gothic splendour of Canterbury Cathedral and red-tiled rooftops from the rear. With wood-beamed ceilings, sloping floors and crooked doors, the hotel has 25 characterful rooms, with dark wood features and gleaming white bed linen: beds range from wrought-iron singles to wooden four-posters.
Located minutes from Canterbury Cathedral, this hotel is the ideal base to get to know the city. When you’re not out exploring, relax in the Scandi-chic rooms, which come with crisp linens and plenty of homely touches. For an extra-special stay book the Fabulous Suite, which has a private terrace with views over the cathedral. Before calling it a day, enjoy a pre-dinner drink at the Champagne bar followed by a meal of upscale British classics at County restaurant.
Housed in a 15th-century coaching inn, the Falstaff is a living museum. The 46 en-suite bedrooms come with stylish design touches, such as headboards made from custom fabrics. Add a luxurious soak to your stay by opting for a room with a roll top bath. Book a superior suite for period features such as wooden beams, wood panelling and fireplaces. In the evening, head to the cocktail bar where you’ll find an innovative menu with drinks named after mythical creatures.
The red-brick facade of this Victorian townhouse hides a clutch of comfortable rooms come with tea and coffee facilities, but it’s the garden – where you’ll find a sun terrace and patio, plus two hot tubs – that’s the real attraction. You’ll also be pleased to hear management are looking to make this getaway greener by introducing eco-friendly toiletries and minimising plastic waste. The short stroll to the centre make this a great pick for culture vultures.
The Victoria Hotel prides itself on being a home away from home. Less than a mile from Canterbury’s centre, it has an enviable location within sight of the famous cathedral; when you book, opt for a room with a view. Comfortable and cosy, the hotel comes with a warm colour scheme, including bold splashes of crimson. If you’re here for a weekend trip, don’t miss the Sunday lunch before hitting the road — this place is famous for its carvery.
If you’re looking for stately luxury in a rural retreat, book a stay at Broome Park. Established during the reign of Charles I, this Grade-I-listed mansion is one of the finest examples of flamboyant Carolean architecture in the country. Its 18 suites live up to the exterior’s promise, particularly the Mansion House suites, which come with stately four-poster beds, luxury linens and garden or golf course views. For more privacy, book one of the 14 luxury woodland lodges, which can sleep up to six. The on-side health club includes a pool and squash courts or you could play a round on the 18-hole Parkland championship golf course.
Abigail Blasi contributed additional reporting to this article.
For a different type of accommodation, why not try out one of the best bed and breakfasts in Canterbury, bookable through Culture Trip.
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