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Five things not to miss in Canterbury

14 September 2015

Step back in time in historic Canterbury which is now only an hour away from London by train. Take in the trials of a past that’s as turbulent as it is fascinating and head back into a present of unique shops and enticing places to feast like a king.

Canterbury's river Stour is perfect for relaxing on a boat trip
Canterbury's river Stour is perfect for relaxing on a boat trip

1.) Canterbury Cathedral

Famed as a place of pilgrimage after the murder of archbishop Thomas Becket,  Canterbury Cathedral is still a holy place today but you don’t need to be religious to appreciate the oldest part of Cathedral – the spooky crypt. Look out for the strange carvings of faces and animals on the columns.

2.) Stour river trip

Float around watery Canterbury on a 40 minute boat tour which takes in a small island home to a 13th century chapel, the 12th century Eastbridge hospital and the medieval ducking stool where punishment was meted out to the unfortunate.

3.) Canterbury Heritage Museum

It would take a hard heart not to be moved by the sight of film props of Bagpuss, the Clangers and Noggin the Nog. Canterbury resident Oliver Postgate’s creations are lovingly displayed here and while the new Clangers is all shiny and whizzy nothing can beat the hand-knitted originals. If that wasn’t enough, another Canterbury local Mary Tourtel’s original illustrations of her beloved Rupert the Bear are also on display.

4.) Canterbury Ghost Tour

See Canterbury in whole new ghostly light as a top-hatted figure takes you on a tour of some of Canterbury’s more spooky elements. Find out what security guards report seeing at Canterbury Cathedral and other mysteries from a local historian. At your own peril! 

5.) The King's Mile

All the usual shopping suspects are found in the Whitefriars but for discerning consumers the streets nestling beneath the spires of Canterbury’s ancient Cathedral and alongside the King’s School, holds a jumble of independent and artisan shops. Choose from original clothing, antiques and jewellery. 

Three places to eat 

1.) Café Mauresque

Snuggle into this dimly lit cavern just minutes from the Cathedral for a real taste of Moroccan spice and flavour. It’s fun to sideswipe the mains and just pick from the extensive tapas menu. Aubergines sitting nicely in red wine and squid and chorizo skewer are just good to share though. Don’t be surprised if you eat them all by yourself. 

2.) The Ambrette

For a special treat here is the place to go for some designer Indian food. Not a curry in sight just a delightful mish-mash of locally foraged and caught ingredients and stylish spicy updates on them. Attentive staff bring tasters in-between plates and the rose crème brulee is an exotic finish and worthy of a visit alone. 

3.) Café Boho

Although slightly cramped this café/restaurant complete with a display of vintage clocks is a kooky and affordable pit-stop.  Homemade burgers and generous sides of chips are on offer with a good selection of drinks. There is also a covered area outside.  

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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