Canterbury location guide

About Canterbury

Canterbury is an unexpectedly small city with a big student population – being home to three universities makes it a lively place, with no shortage of entertainment or good food.

Canterbury at a glance…

  • Masses of student appeal
  • Vibrant international art scene
  • Steeped in history
  • Over 80 restaurants and pubs
  • Great for hopping across the Channel.

Many of our graduates find that Canterbury offers a lot towards helping them carve a career in the arts. We’ve created exciting links within Kent's vibrant international art scene with festivals, grants, paid apprenticeships, studio spaces and internships available for art and design students and graduates in the area.

You’ll find dancing, DJs, comedy, cocktails, live bands and more – Canterbury has an eclectic mix of laid-back pubs, lively clubs and popular bars offering nights out to appeal to all tastes. You'll also be within easy reach of London, as well as the towns of Ashford, Maidstone and Rochester, if you fancy exploring further afield.

If you’re in need of some retail therapy, Canterbury’s Whitefriars shopping centre brings you the best in fashion and lifestyle brands, while the King’s Mile, Westgate and St Dunstan’s are just a stone’s throw away and offer a range of specialist and individual outlets. 

If you’d rather browse more unusual and retro products, head for the independent craft and gift shops, boutiques and galleries in Herne Bay and Whitstable. 

Leisure and the arts
Canterbury’s two theatres (the contemporary Marlowe, and the Gulbenkian on the University of Kent campus) offer a wide programme, including opera, musicals, theatre, dance, music, pantomime and stand-up comedy.

The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge offers an array of unusual collections, and for something a little off-beat, there are the Bagpuss and Rupert Bear displays at the Canterbury Heritage Museum. You might also come across the Canterbury Festival, held in October – a major international arts festival that brings a rich mixture of performing arts from around the world.

Getting around
Canterbury is a pedestrian-friendly city, ideal for cycling with plenty of pathways. The city’s two mainline stations can take you to London via high-speed rail in as little as an hour. Seaside destinations such as Whitstable, Herne Bay and Margate are only a short bus or train ride away. For visiting the Continent, the Channel Tunnel connects nearby Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes.

Eating and drinking
Whether you want cheaper eating options or a restaurant for a special occasion, Canterbury offers plenty of choices. You have the choice between quirky cafes, traditional oak-beamed pubs, on-trend restaurants and the Shake Shed (a student institution) – so you'll soon discover your favourites.

Sport and recreation
Adventure sports, dance and fitness, swimming, cycling, walks in the country - there are so many ways to get active in the Canterbury area.

For a breath of fresh air, why not take a stroll in one of the city’s tranquil gardens. Or, for a heartier walk, head along the Crab and Winkle Way to Whitstable.

Search the Active Canterbury directory to discover the leisure centres, clubs, activities and walking and cycle routes available to you.


Additional info:

The official Visit Canterbury website is packed with useful information about the area. You can also download the free Visit Canterbury App for a full list of events, information about top attractions, where to eat and drink and special offers.

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