If you are planning a visit to Canterbury, perhaps for the reunion, and you haven’t visited for a while, here is some useful information to help make your visit enjoyable (as if visiting Canterbury isn’t enjoyable enough!)
Over the last ten to fifteen years, Canterbury has evolved into a sophisticated and diverse cultural epicentre for east Kent. Gone are (most) of the old dingy pubs and many of the old grotty post-war buildings in the centre have been replaced with modern, elegant architecture.
However, it pays to be aware of some of Canterbury’s perennial annoyances, so here is a little local knowledge ahead of your visit.
Where to stay
There is now a range of good hotels catering to all budgets. New to Canterbury are some perfectly acceptable budget hotels which are ideal if you’re travelling on a budget. For a few pounds more per night there are some historic timber-framed buildings which have stood in Canterbury for hundreds of years.
Where to eat
Canterbury always had a reasonable selection of restaurants, but the choice has improved a great deal over the last few years. There is something for every taste.
Sadly there are also some restaurants that still disappoint. If you have any recommendations (or warnings!) about places you’ve eaten in Canterbury, please share them with the editorial team, and we will update these pages.
Where to drink
By far the most important question on the lips of the editorial team when visiting a new place is “where is the best place to get a beer?” We know from experience that old choristers are a thirsty lot, so you’ll be glad to know Canterbury also has some great places to get a drink.
If you plan to stay out a bit later in the evening, it also helps to know which pubs stay open past 11:30pm. Especially if you don’t want to end up on a dancefloor listening to music you’ve never heard of before (and might not be entirely convinced qualifies as music in the first place).
Traffic and parking
In a rather myopic oversight, Canterbury’s 12th century town planners failed to take into account the need for a robust-one way system and a ringroad. Regrettably this means Canterbury has a tendency to become snarled up with traffic at certain parts of the day.
If you are driving into or out of Canterbury during the week avoid the morning work and school run which lasts from 8-10am. Between 3-6pm avoid the section of the ring road that runs around the south east side of the city (the roundabout next to Canterbury East station past the Quenin Gate car park and round to the Sturry Road). If you are arriving in Canterbury at this time and driving from the direction of London, aiming for Pound Lane car park or St Radigunds will help you avoid the worst of the traffic.
If you are staying in Canterbury some of the hotels have arrangements with the car parks to provide overnight parking at a reduced rate. If you are staying in the Cathedral Lodge, you may be able to park in the Precincts (handy for the reunion!)
For information on where to park, visit the Canterbury City Council website