A weekend in Canterbury Kent

Canterbury UK How to spend a weekend on a Budget

There are few more historical or fascinating places to spend a weekend break than Canterbury. This beautiful city is the jewel of Kent, with its ancient buildings, exciting attractions and scenic riverside setting.

Even if you are travelling on a low budget, there is still plenty to see and do in this beautiful destination to keep the whole family entertained. 

Immerse Yourself In History

The centre of Canterbury is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its many historic buildings. The cathedral is the city’s main attraction, with its beautiful stained glass windows and grisly past – everyone knows the famous story of the murder of “that troublesome priest” Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170.

If you can’t stretch to the £10.50 entrance fee, simply enjoy a stroll completely free of charge through the streets, where you can see many pretty half-timbered buildings and narrow, winding alleys. 

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral

Visit A Museum

Canterbury is a cultural hub that is packed with interesting museums and galleries, many of which are cheap or even free to visit. Learn more about the city’s ancient heritage at the Roman Museum, built on the site of a Roman house complete with mosaic flooring, or delve into Canterbury’s World War II past at the Canterbury Heritage Museum.

For a free day out that offers something completely different, why not drop into the Kent Museum of Freemasonry and dispel some of the myths about this famous organisation or discover the fascinating collection at the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge which includes such bizarre and outlandish items as the severed hand of Sir John Heydon and a mummified cat?

Discover The Canterbury Tales

The city of Canterbury will be forever linked with 14th century poet Geoffrey Chaucer thanks to his famous work “The Canterbury Tales“.

Whether you are already familiar with the stories of The Wife of Bath, The Miller and The Knight or know nothing at all about Medieval literature, you are sure to enjoy visiting The Canterbury Tales visitor attraction in the heart of the city. Walk in the footsteps of the pilgrims as you experience the sights, smells and sounds of 14th century England, and watch the stories unfold before you in the vividly recreated scenes. 

Canterbury Cathedral and Cloister
Canterbury Cathedral and Cloister

Get Closer To Nature

There are many lovely green and wild spaces in and around Canterbury that can be visited completely free of charge.

Enjoy a budget friendly day out at the Stodmarsh Nature Reserve where you can get up close to the birds and wildlife, or take a picnic to the Grove Ferry picnic site by the river where you can spend a peaceful hour or two watching the boats pass by. 

Mess Around In Boats

Canterbury enjoys a beautiful location on the banks of the River Stour, and what better activity to include in your weekend break than a boat trip?

Canterbury Historic River Tours allow you to discover the buildings of the city from the water and to listen to an interesting and informative commentary from your knowledgeable guide about the area’s history and heritage.

Or for a different style of boating experience, why not take a leisurely meander through the Kent countryside on a punt

Traditional houses near Canterbury Canal
Traditional houses near Canterbury Canal

Enjoy Some Delicious Cuisine

Whatever your budget, you are sure to find a meal to suit your taste in Canterbury. The city centre is packed with atmospheric eateries and restaurants serving world class cuisine, so whether you revel in the fine dining experience that you can find at Deeson’s Restaurant or want to sample the cheap street food at The Goods Shed, you won’t be disappointed.

Vegans and vegetarians will love The Veg Box cafe with its varied menu that will tempt even the most die-hard meat-eater, while those who prefer more exotic cuisine are sure to be impressed by The Ancient Raj which serves up authentic Asian meals in a stunning Tudor setting. 

Shop Till You Drop

Anyone looking for a spot of retail therapy will be spoiled for choice in Canterbury.

From huge department stores to quirky boutiques, there is something for every shopper here, so whether you prefer the modern chain stores of Whitefriar’s shopping centre or want to explore the ancient Buttermarket with its unusual selection of gift shops, pottery stores and sweet emporiums, you’re sure to find a bargain. 

People with shopping bags walking

Have A Night On The Town

Canterbury may be a historical city, but it certainly isn’t lacking in nightlife. From atmospheric and traditional pubs where you can enjoy a relaxing pint to lively and vibrant clubs where you can dance the night away, you’re sure to find a venue to suit your style.

Club Chemistry is the local hotspot for all-night partying, while anyone looking for a laid back drink in a traditional 16th century environment is sure to love The Bishop’s Finger, just a few steps away from the cathedral.

Alternatively, why not spend the evening taking in some world class entertainment at The Marlowe Theatre? Named after one of the city’s most famous former residents, this venue is the ideal place to enjoy a play, musical, or even hilarious comedy. 

Stay In Style

There are a wealth of accommodation options to choose from in Canterbury, so finding a place to stay that fits into your budget couldn’t be easier.

Are you looking for luxury? ABode, a 4 star hotel within easy walking distance of all of the city’s main attractions, offers all mod cons and beautifully appointed rooms. Alternatively, for travellers trying to keep their costs down, the city’s no-frills Premier Inn and Travelodge hotels offer clean and affordable accommodation.