The Top Things To Do And See In Canterbury

The ruins of St. Augustines Abbey, an old monastery in Kent, UK, are drenched in history
The ruins of St. Augustine's Abbey, an old monastery in Kent, UK, are drenched in history | © Dmitry Naumov / Alamy Stock Photo
Kelly Bradshaw

An ancient city in the UK offering an astonishing amount of history and culture, Canterbury proudly boasts a variety of popular tourist attractions. Below is a list of the 12 best things to see and do in the scenic city of Canterbury, England.

1. Westgate Gardens

Botanical Garden

The beautiful Westgate Gardens in the medieval city of Canterbury.
© Stewart Mckeown / Alamy Stock Photo

With four different landscape areas offering a beautiful stretch of recreational land, Westgate Gardens follow the River Stour into the wonderful countryside of Canterbury. The park offers riverside walks, scenic gardens, a play area for children and a picnic site, so there’s something for everyone who hopes to experience the beauty of this historic city. Westgate Gardens is the ideal place to visit for an afternoon of relaxation in a tranquil setting with an array of wildlife and water meadows.

2. Canterbury Historic River Tours

Natural Feature, Historical Landmark

Canterbury Historic River Tours give you the opportunity to discover the wonderful views that the city has to offer by boat and also educate you on Canterbury’s rich and exciting history. Having received several awards, such as the Quality Assured Tour by VisitEngland, this renowned tour provider maintains an impressive reputation and is not to be missed.

3. Canterbury Cathedral

Building, Cathedral

A welcoming place of beauty and holiness, Canterbury Cathedral is the seat of the local archbishop. The magnificent building is part of a world heritage site and creates a peaceful and harmonious environment. The cathedral also has its very own choir.

4. Howletts Wild Animal Park

Park, Zoo

Howletts Wild Animal Park is a popular tourist attraction for families seeking an exciting day out. With a large variety of wildlife, such as tigers, snow leopards, gorillas and the largest elephant herd in the UK, the park makes for an unforgettable experience. You and your kids are up for a challenge? Then, make sure to have a go at the park’s Treetop and Animal Adventure Challenges.

5. The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Art Gallery, Museum

With its museum, art gallery, library and cafe, the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge in the heart of historic Canterbury has a lot to offer. Having been built during the late 1800s, it is sure to impress you with its stunning architecture as well as its range of learning facilities and exhibitions.

6. Cultural Tour of Canterbury

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Taking a cultural tour of Canterbury gives you the opportunity to learn more about the rich history and culture of this ancient city. Discover the River Stour, numerous tombs and monuments, the cathedral’s stained glass windows that date back to the 12th and 13th century and so much more. A walking tour is ideal if you’d like to get a taste of what life used to be like in this bustling city during earlier centuries.

7. Wildwood Trust

Natural Feature, Park

If you love nature and animals, this is the place for you. Wildwood Trust is home to over 200 native animals living across 40 acres (16ha) of ancient woodland. Get ready to see an impressive range of British wildlife, such as wolves, wild boar, deer, foxes and beavers. Educational trails and a spectacular adventure playground offer children an unforgettable experience, while a picnic area, a cafe and a shop allow you to recharge your batteries.

8. Canterbury Norman Castle

Historical Landmark, Architectural Landmark

Canterbury Norman Castle was built in 1070 and is a spectacular landmark, offering beautiful views of the city. It features a roofless shell surrounded by a quiet garden as well as wonderful greenery. If you are looking for a quiet retreat from the bustling city life, this is the place to go.

9. St. Augustine’s Abbey

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Canterbury is brimming with historical buildings, and St. Augustine’s Abbey is another site of special significance. It was founded in 598, and, for a long time, it was the only major religious house in Kent. Now, you are free to visit the abbey as a place of worship or to simply explore the grounds, which have been rebuilt and extended many times over the centuries. Several previous archbishops are also buried here.

10. Blean Woods Nature Reserve

Forest, Natural Feature

You have to travel to the edge of the city to reach Blean Woods, but it’s well worth it. As one of the oldest woodlands in England, it offers you more than 120 miles (193km) of walking routes as well as tracks for cycling and horse riding. Spot various rare species of plants, birds and other wildlife. The Royal Oak pub is also in easy reach if you get hungry after a long day of walking.

11. Canterbury City Walls

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark

Canterbury city walls in Kent, England
© Leonid Andronov / Alamy Stock Photo

As Canterbury can trace its origins all the way back to Roman times, the city was originally walled – essential when you never knew when the next invasion might be around the corner. Make sure to check out the remaining towers and Queningate where pieces of the original wall can be viewed.

Additional reporting by Callum Davies

12. Canterbury Roman Museum


Built around the remains of an original Roman townhouse, the Canterbury Roman Museum provides a fascinating and family-friendly insight into Roman Canterbury. Giving you the opportunity to discover rare objects and the marketplace as well as to learn how the Roman town was built, this museum is a must-see attraction if you visit the historical city.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article