Canterbury was actually my first taste of freedom. This small town in the south of England full of old history and made famous by the book The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer was were I spent three years of my life at university. It wasn’t quite an escape to freedom as Canterbury is only 1 hour away by train or 1 hours 30 minutes by car from London. The cathedral city still close enough to London to make for the perfect day trip but also still far enough to get away from the hustle & bustle of a big town and out into the county dubbed the ‘Garden of England’.
Canterbury still boasts a lot of its green spaces with the centre of it all being Dane John Gardens.
Winding through the cobbled streets you’ll find standard high-street names such as Topshop, H&M & Debenhams and plenty of coffee shops for the much needed rest.
It’s worth noting that Canterbury also has many independent retail shops with unique one-off pieces. Sowley, further down the main high-street towards the Westgate Towers has beautiful hand-painted cards and pictures as well as original art and jewellery. There is also Canterbury Pottery that sells all the beautiful ceramics forms cups and mugs to figurines made right above in the Ceramic studio upstairs. At both places Sowley and Canterbury Pottery its worth talking to sellers there who are more than willing to talk about the process that goes about making the beautiful works of art.
Carrying on down the main high street, turn down Mercery Lane you’ll find Canterbury Cathedral just ahead. Being one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in the UK and the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury (head of the Church of England), Canterbury Cathedral has immense history dating back to the -Anglo-Saxon period and stunning architecture. Be aware there are entrance charges of £12.50 for adults but will be reduced for students, senior citizen 65+ and for children. There is also a group discount charge for those who book as a family (1 or 2 adults with 3 children) or anyone part of a guided tour.
The amazing history and old architecture continues all around Canterbury with beautiful Tudor timber buildings all over the town. There is also the river Stour running through the historic town with the option to go punting and see sights like the Instagram famous Old Weavers House close up.
For charming historic town like Canterbury with great transport links from major cities like London, it makes for a perfect day trip or for a weekend break.