Canterbury is a really pretty city that’s lovely to walk around. There’s lots to see, especially in the warmer months, but what’s it like when you’re alone with kids?
Canterbury is a small city, but despite this, it has two train stations and a comprehensive bus network. The trains are a particular asset to the city as the Canterbury West train station has fast trains that run to London – they’ll get you to London St Pancras International in just an hour. Canterbury West Station is more accessible than Canterbury East, and a fairly new refurbishment means that buggy access is easy throughout the whole station!
The bus network is the best way of getting to the wider reaches of the city if that’s where you need to go. It’s also a good way of getting to the seaside if you want some sea air while you’re in the area.
What To Do
Canterbury is a city that’s great to just walk around, but that’s not always the most kid-friendly activity! Within the city centre itself, child-friendly activities are few and far between. The Canterbury Roman Museum is good for older kids, and sometimes the Beaney House of Art & Knowledge sometimes has fun exhibitions on, and the Marlowe Theatre often has kid-friendly shows, so check their websites if you’ll be visiting. In the warmer months, walking around the Westgate Gardens is lovely, and it’s a good spot for a picnic.
Canterbury Cathedral is one of the main attractions of the city, but check what’s on before you pay the entry fee. Sometimes there are great kids’ activities running throughout the Cathedral grounds, but they tend to be limited to school holiday times.
Head 20 minutes out of the city to get to the nearest bit of seaside at Herne Bay. It’s easy to get here via bus and once in this typically Victorian seaside town you’ll find miles of beach to explore, playgrounds, arcades, mini golf courses, and everything else you’d expect from a seaside town. Head a few miles up the coast to find Whitstable which is a little less commercial feeling. There are fewer arcades and playgrounds, but the beaches tend to be emptier. Whitstable is on the same bus line as Herne Bay and is just as easy to get to from Canterbury City Centre. If you’ve got a buggy with you and aren’t comfortable manoeuvring on and off busses alone then both seaside destinations are on train routes from Canterbury too, so check the train timetables.
Where to Eat
Canterbury city centre has a huge amount of eateries to choose from so you certainly won’t be stuck for choice. You’ll find all of the tried and tested chains with good kids menus and decent accessibility, and then all kinds of other hidden gems scattered throughout the city. As many of the buildings in Canterbury are incredibly old, sometimes accessibility is really limited. The streets closest to Canterbury Cathedral have some wonderful restaurants on them, but most are not buggy friendly, so make sure to ring ahead if you’re unsure.
It’s definitely easier to get the most out of Canterbury if you’re an adult only party, or your kids are a bit older. However, it’s a nice place to use as a base to explore the wider city and the seaside in spring and summer.