Words by Rebecca Lavender
As a Foodie, and someone who likes to explore cities on foot, my guide focuses on the best places to eat and the hidden gems you’ll find only by wandering around and getting lost.
WHEN TO VISIT
Early spring to make the most of the fresh blooms in the city’s many green spaces, and to miss the summer rush. Canterbury is busy all year round because of its medieval heritage and fantastic cathedral, but a sweet spot to visit is May/June when uni students have finished for the summer but ‘school holidays’ are not quite in full swing. The long daylight hours in late spring and early summer allow for full schedules of brunching, shopping, and milling around; and the warm evenings invite you to dine al fresco or meet with friends in a beer garden with live music.
| Where to Stay |
The Cathedral Gate
With arguably the best view in the city, you can bag a room in the historic Cathedral Gate from £50 per night with an undisturbed view of the Cathedral and its inner courtyard; period decor; friendly staff; and an excellent free continental breakfast which you can have in your room at no extra cost. Time to check in!
WHERE TO START
All roads lead from here, just outside the Cathedral’s Gate (and the hotel). take your Mercy Lane selfie with the Cathedral spires behind you and the High Street ahead. If you head down Sun Street you’ll stumble upon the famous Chocolate Cafe; carrying on you’ll walk down the Friars by way of Orange Street and find the Marlow Theatre, all before heading into Abbots Mill Gardens.
Abbots Mill Gardens
The Great Stour runs through here, as does the canal. It takes all of 5 minutes to pass through but it’s somewhat of a secret garden when you’re at its heart; an oasis where you could be miles from any city, and the only one in a rush is the river.
A picturesque walking route with twee houses and quaint street names.
WHERE TO EAT
Breakfast Saffron Cafe, 9 Castle Street, ££
Beautifully prepared, locally sourced food and a warm, family-run atmosphere. Great coffee and varied tea selection.
Coffee/Brunch Chocolate Cafe, 1 Guildhall St, £££
A Canterbury institution, have you really been to Canterbury if you haven’t been here? You have to have a hot chocolate (try the spiced blend for a change, mixed with cinnamon and chili) and don’t forget to try the crepes… and the chocolate covered strawberries. All at once? Sure!
Lunch The Monument, St. Dunstans St ££
Newly opened but well-established gastro pub selling all-vegan fare. Don’t be shy, this place is fast becoming the place to eat for vegans and non-vegans alike. Good quality, fuss-free food, enthusiastic staff and the cutest resident cats in Canterbury! You have to walk a little out of the center to find this gem, but its well worth it.
Dinner Côte Brasserie, 2 Longmarket, Parade £££
French-style chain restaurant done well. Try the authentic Plates Rapides, which is your French equivalent of fast food – but much tastier. Damn good Lattes, generous portions and outdoor seating for the authentic European dinner.
WHERE TO DRINK
Millers Arms 2 Mill Ln, St Radigunds
Feels like your country local with a quiet atmosphere; open plan, light and airy yet still comfy-cozy. Serves a gastropub menu. Nice after an evening stroll or pre/post theater.
The Penny Theatre 30-31 Northgate
Local entertainment hotspot, set in an old coaching house. The Penny, as it’s affectionately known, hosts an extensive menu of cocktails, local cask ales, and old favorites, as well as food throughout the day. There is live music almost every week of the year, along with a popular quiz and comedy nights.
WHAT I WORE