If you are planning a trip to London, then I highly recommend taking a day trip to Canterbury. Canterbury is one of the most charming towns I have had the pleasure of visiting in my travels. The town features picturesque rivers, old stone architecture, and colorful florals throughout. This article outlines how to get to Canterbury from London, how to get around, and things to do in Canterbury. I have also included style inspiration for your day trip, and a hotel recommendation should you choose to turn your day trip into an overnight one.
How to Get to Canterbury from London
You have 3 main options to get to Canterbury from central London:
- Take the Train: The fastest and easiest way to take a day trip to Canterbury from London is to take the train. We took a direct train from St. Pancras station, which took around 1.5 hours (depending on the time of day and ticket booked, it will take somewhere between 1-2 hours). There are also trains available from Victoria Station. There are two train stations (East or West) you could arrive to in Canterbury dependent on the ticket you book – either station is fine.
- Rent a Car: If you rented a car for your trip to England, then this might be a good option for you. According to google, it will take you around 2 hours with normal traffic.
- Book a Guided Tour: This is my least favorite option, as I feel day trips can feel a bit rushed. I feel that Canterbury merits a full day to explore, and it is very easy to access this city without a car. In any case, I thought it was worth mentioning this option as there are guided tours available on sites like Viator.
Getting Around Canterbury
Fortunately, Canterbury is a very walkable city. You can easily walk from either the East or West train station into the city center, and to the sites mentioned in this article. I created the below map for reference on how close everything is.
Day Trip to Canterbury: Things to Do
Visit the westgate Tower gardens
Perhaps the most charming spot in all of Canterbury, the Westgate Tower Gardens feel like they are straight out of a fairytale. In the warmer months, you might even luck out with a variety of gorgeous blooms! Regardless of when you visit, these riverfront gardens are a staple of Canterbury.
Consider a river tour
If you are visiting Canterbury in the warmer months and want to learn more about the history of Canterbury, then you should consider booking a river tour. This historic river tour will take you to spots around the city which are only accessible by boat, while offering unique and picturesque views.
Grab Lunch at a Local Restaurant
As you make your way around town, you will see many restaurants to choose from for lunch during your day trip to Canterbury. While there are many lovely options to choose from, I highly recommend Cafe du Soleil. It was my favorite restaurant I had the chance to dine at while I was in Canterbury. This charming Mediterranean restaurant is situated on the river near the Westgate Towers and Gardens. In addition to great food, it features a unique setting as it is inside a brick-walled 18th-century mill.
Not big on Mediterranean? Check out this article which covers the 10 best restaurants in Canterbury.
Visit Canterbury Cathedral & Explore the Grounds
If you only do one thing during your day trip to Canterbury, then make visiting the Canterbury Cathedral it. One of the oldest and most famous churches in England, it is not to be missed. While the Canterbury Cathedral was certainly gorgeous, I found the grounds to be the biggest highlight for me. Stunning stone buildings, gorgeous blooms (I visited in August), and charming entryways made me feel like I was in a fairytale book.
Meander through the Dane John Gardens
If you have extra time, consider making your way over to the Dane John Gardens. This park can be viewed from above along the old city walls, and explored by foot. Be sure not to miss the striking pathway of trees (pictured below) which gave me Alice in Wonderland vibes.
Day Trip to Canterbury: Style Inspiration
Day Trip Accessories & Gear
Outfit Inspiration: Warmer Months (May – September)
Outfit Inspiration: Colder Months (October – April)
Overnight in Canterbury: Where to Stay
Looking to turn your day trip into an overnight? There are plenty of options for accommodations in Canterbury ranging from AirBnBs to hotels. Of these options, I highly recommend staying at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge. This hotel is on the grounds of the Canterbury Cathedral, offering you access to the grounds outside of official visitor hours. It offers free breakfast, comfortable rooms, and a gorgeous outdoor courtyard with views of the Cathedral. I stayed here in August 2019, and I absolutely loved it! It is one of the most unique places I have stayed in my travels.
I hope that you find this guide helpful in planning your day trip to Canterbury from London! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out via my contact form. Happy travels! xx