When I moved to England, I was excited to have the chance to explore London at leisure, and venture outside the capital to other places in England.
With so many cities being 1-2 hours by train from central London, day trips are one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday.
In my first year, I made it to Oxford, Bath, Rye, Brighton, Colchester, and Windsor. On my explore list this year? Canterbury, The Cotswolds, Cambridge, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Hastings, Cornwall, Liverpool, Dover, Bristol, Margate/Whitstable, and hopefully a weekend trip to Wales.
Mid-January, I found myself itching for a day outside of the city. Checking train tickets, I found a great deal to Canterbury (can’t beat £22 round-trip!).
Canterbury, a medieval city on the south coast of England is best known for its cathedral.
Heading to Canterbury, I knew I wanted to visit the cathedral, it’s been a place of pilgrimage for centuries, and the stunning architecture in/around the cathedral makes spending a few hours there well worth the visit.
Aside from visiting the cathedral, I didn’t plan any other specific activities- a few friends recommended cafes and restaurants, but I kept my day’s agenda light purposely- I wanted to explore at leisure.
Hopping on an early morning train from St. Pancras, my day in Canterbury started with a quick visit to The Goods Shed, next to the Canterbury West train station. If you’re into farmers markets, you’ll love this place- gorgeous veg, great cheese and wine, and a few vendors selling on-the-go eats you can enjoy in one of the communal dining areas or take with you. If you want a relaxed meal, there’s also a sit down restaurant, which uses goods from the market.
Everything looked delicious at the market, but breakfast at The Refractory Kitchen came highly recommended. If you’re looking for a cosy, local place, this is it. Cute decor, a roaring fire and delicious, but simple meals.
I opted for a mocha and the french toast with cherry compote and banana (Saturday, treat yo self). Everything was delish.
Post breakfast, I headed towards the center of town, dipping in and out of side streets- no shortage of cobblestone streets and timber houses here.
Eventually, I found my way to the cathedral, which costs £10.50 for adults. Denoted a UNESCO World Heritage site, visitors from around the world flock to the cathedral each year.
Despite not making it to the cathedral until early afternoon, there weren’t too many people visiting.
The Canterbury Cathedral is England’s largest cathedral and the heart of the Church of England. Founded in 597 AD, the cathedral became well known after the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170.
An entry ticket grants you access to the crypt, tombs of Henry IV, gardens and cloisters, and nave with medieval stained glass windows.
Next up: More wandering and a stop in kitch cafe for a cuppa tea and bit of reading. I didn’t eat here, but brunch looked delicious. Would definitely recommend popping in for a drink (their teas, juices and smoothies are lovely) or lunch while you’re exploring town.
Before heading back to the train station late afternoon, I wandered around a bit more and stopped in an adorable pub, The Shakespeare for a cheese plate snack.
Canterbury isn’t a large city, which makes it easy to see in a day. To be truthful, if you’re on a tight schedule, you’d really only need half a day to get a feel for the city.
Albeit small, it is one of the cutest places I’ve been in England- although, fair to say I feel that way about every English town. 🙂
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