Fittingly beautiful for the county long known as the Garden of England, the medieval city of Canterbury, in Kent, is packed with history and culture.

Its cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and of great religious significance – the diocese is led by the head of the Church of England, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet this historic city also has three universities, a castle and easy access to countryside and coast – and London, just an hour away by train.

Where to stay in Canterbury

You’ll want to make sure you pick the best motorhome site for your needs when you’re heading off on tour.

If you’re heading to Canterbury and are after a peaceful site, Sunnyside Farm Caravan Park could be ideal. It’s a small, quiet, adults-only motorhome site with quality facilities and only a 20-minute walk from the charming village of Chilham. There’s also easy access to Canterbury on the A28.

For a family-friendly option, you could try Canterbury Camping and Caravanning Club Site. This pretty campsite, a bus ride from town (the stop is just outside the site), is packed with facilities, including a children’s play area. Pets are welcome.

What to do in Canterbury on Day 1

9am – Breakfast feast

Get your bearings with a walk along the High Street, across to the north side of the River Stour, for a tasty breakfast of Croque Monsieur or Eggs Royale at the Kitch Café.

10am – Garden of England

Then it’s a short stroll to the Franciscan Gardens, where you can enjoy peaceful contemplation in 1.5 acres of beautiful grounds, in the remains of a Franciscan friary that dates back to the 13th century. Enjoy the picturesque wildflower meadow, dotted with heritage fruit trees.

Franciscan Gardens
Peaceful contemplation in the Franciscan Gardens

Tickets for adults cost £6, while entrance is free for children. If you’re in the mood for more greenery, go through Greyfriars Garden to Eastbridge Hospital and the Greyfriars Chapel.

1pm – Relish the idea

Head south of the river for scrummy lunch at Notorious B.R.G, where diners will find a splendid selection of gourmet meat and plant-based burgers. Delicious!

3pm – Pilgrim’s progress

No visit to this beautiful place would be complete without seeing Canterbury Cathedral. Seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury and dating back 1400 years, this great place of pilgrimage (just see Chaucer!) was also the scene of the martyrdom of Henry II’s “turbulent priest”, Thomas Becket, in 1170.

Canterbury Cathedral’s cloisters
Canterbury Cathedral’s spectacular cloisters

Today, the historic Black Prince’s tomb, superb medieval Miracle Windows and glorious Romanesque arches are among many highlights. Tickets cost £15.50.

7pm – Pound the beat

The award-winning Pound Bar & Kitchen is located in Canterbury’s former jail and police station. One for the revellers among you, this lively restaurant and night spot stays open until 2am. British classics are on the menu, and other entertainment available at the venue includes a cinema, an escape room and the fascinating Westgate Towers Museum, providing stunning views from its battlements.

What to do in Canterbury on Day 2

10am – Munch brunch

Enjoy a superb full English or US-style waffles at The Refectory Kitchen, a popular Canterbury institution. The all-day brunch is served from 8am to 4pm.

11am – Take a punt

Canterbury’s River Stour has plenty of interest and beautiful views to be enjoyed by those who venture out onto the water. A variety of tours are available, including historical and nature punts. Shared trips from £10.

Franciscan Gardens
Peaceful contemplation in the Franciscan Gardens

1pm – Buon appetito!

Stretch your waistline (not your nose!) at Pinocchio’s, where classics include Pizza Gourmet, with Italian sausage, spinach, mushroom and mozzarella, all topped off with truffle oil.

2pm – Cycle to Whitstable

Looking for a chance to get out of the city and explore? Time to take a bike ride along the Crab and Winkle Way. This charming 7.6-mile cycle trail linking Canterbury and Whitstable takes its name from the old railway line that ran between the towns during the 19th century.

You can hire bikes at Kent Cycle Hire, which will arrange for bike collection and drop-off at its Canterbury, Herne Bay or Whitstable cycle hubs.

2pm – Roman holiday

If a cycle ride doesn’t appeal, stay in town and go back in time at Canterbury Roman Museum, where you’ll find the remains of a superb Town House and one of the few pavement mosaics still in situ – from burial swords to fine jewellery, the museum is packed with interest.

Mosaics at the Roman Museum
Mosaics at the Roman Museum

7pm – Exit stage left

Christopher Marlowe was born in Canterbury in 1564, going on to become one of the most important playwrights of the Elizabethan age, famed for works such as Tamburlaine and Dr Faustus.

Today, you can round off your city break with a visit to The Marlowe Theatre for some more contemporary entertainment, including hit musicals, orchestral concerts, dance and comedy.

Lead image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wondering where else you can head to for a weekend getaway? Then head to our Best of British: Weekends Away section, for more great ideas!

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