Things to do in Canterbury

>>  Friday, July 26, 2013

My favourite things to do in Canterbury were the boat trips and visiting the Cathedral, but after that what to do...

 Let's start with cafe life.  There are lots of them and the closer you get to the cathedral the more numerous they get.  They are well geared up for hot and cold weather.  Take the time to try them out.  It has a great French feel about it, but with helpful waiters.  Ask for what you want, not just what's on the menu, they mostly seemed very happy to oblige, this lovely frothy iced americano was the result of a conversation about what I felt like and wasn't on the menu.
Visit the Canterbury Tales.  We went early, there for 9:30 opening.  It was empty and it was great, some live actors but mainly statues and imagery.  A few of the Canterbury Tales are told (in precis) in a very amusing manner.  Despite the bawdy nature of the stories even the Miller's tale is suitable for young children here.  I think if it is busy it would be hard work and not as enthralling but I really enjoyed it.  It's all indoors but it looked like any queueing to get in would be outside.

The Hospital of St Thomas the Martyr of Eastbridge.  It is small but interesting, especially after we had gone under it on the boat trip.  Only £2 to go into, don't expect much but I was happy to see the list of masters and look at the rates of change, especially during the plague years.  There are also some interesting history boards to read.

Did you know the term 'to canter' (as in horses) comes from Canterbury, it meant to ride at a pace like that of Canterbury pilgrims who needed to get to the city gates before they were closed for the night.

Greyfriars house, chapel and garden dates back to 1267 and is free to look around.  There is a cell downstairs and a lovely reflective chapel upstairs.  The gardens are nice to sit in by the water on a nice day.
The Canterbury Heritage Museum is a really interesting museum with lots of hands on stuff for the kids (I had none with me and had a ball playing!)  It's worth going just to see Oliver Postgate's story of Thomas Beckett but it covers a full history of Canterbury from the early Romans right through to present day.
The original Bagpuss is there and there is a Rupert Bear gallery which I loved but HWMBO hovered longer in the WWII exhibition and Stephenson's original Invicta Railway engine.  It would be great on a rainy day, but we went on a very hot day to get away from the heat for a bit.

The wall walk and Castle were a pleasant way to spend an hour, the wall walk takes you along the old city wall past a Dane John park with a mound, maze and glorious band stand.  The castle itself is just a shell, not much to see here but we enjoyed the stroll along.  I don't recommend going up the steps inside, it was a smelly mistake.

We also just loved exploring the streets, there were so many interesting old buildings to look at.
And interesting things to spot.  This claims that 2 Chitty Chitty Bang Bangs were built here, whereas it seems to me that it was a chitty bang bang.  There is a huge difference when it comes to the number of chitties!

As a final thought,  I recommend the Parrot and La Trapiste for a drink, the chocolate cafe for the coffee and strawberries and the Old Weaver restaurant for a traditional meal.  Don't bother with Michael Caine's Old Brewery Tavern, the food was ok but the service and cleanliness left much to be desired.

I really liked Canterbury there is a lot to see and do an a small area, but it felt like a city with a country town heart.

If you are looking for a B&B, we stayed at the White House.  It was in a perfect position and was a lovely stay.


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