10 Best Things To Do in Canterbury For Students

Canterbury is a stunning cathedral city with a rich history and tons of cultural sites to visit.

Whilst living in student accommodation, there are many fun things you can do to explore the city and find out more about your new home!

If you’re fed up with the same old same old activities to keep you busy when you’re not in uni, you need to take a read of our guide.

Don’t get us wrong, we all love nights out but sometimes you’re after alternative things to do with your friends.

So, play tourist for the weekend and find out the best 10 places to visit with something for all in the city of Canterbury!

things to do Canterbury

1. Visit Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral is located in the heart of the city and is a must-see for any student living here.

If you’re wanting to learn more about the history and culture of Canterbury, the cathedral offers just that, having been a part of the city for 1,400 years.

It’s one of the oldest Christian structures in England and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Whilst there may not be tons of activities taking place here, it’s worth taking a trip to admire the Romanesque and Gothic architecture and stunning stained glass windows which make for some stunning photos for your Insta!

Luckily, students can visit the cathedral for free with a valid ID so you don’t need to spend a penny.


2. Take A Trip To Westgate Gardens

Canterbury is full of historical sites and landmarks, with Westgate Gardens being one of the most notable places to visit.

If you’re searching for free things to do, these gardens are absolutely stunning and are located alongside the banks of the River Stour, with a 200 year-old plane tree and a Victorian Tower House inside the site.

Situated in the city centre, this place is a popular spot for students and locals to relax and enjoy the outdoors during the summertime.

The park is spread across 11 acres and features an array of plants and flowers, as well as pathways for taking a stroll or cycling.

It’s also a popular location for events and activities, and is often home to concerts and festivals throughout the year – keep your eyes peeled!

The views here are absolutely stunning so, if you’re stuck with things to do, don’t shy away from this place.



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3. Watch A Show At The Marlowe Theatre

The Marlowe Theatre is located in the city centre and hosts a variety of productions throughout the year, including plays, musicals, dance, comedy, and opera.

If you love a theatre show as much as we do, why not check out their events programme and schedule one in with your friends?

It’s an alternative to a night out and is a great way to experience a cultural fix whilst studying here!

There’s also The Green Room inside the venue which is the perfect spot for a pre-show tipple and a bite to eat.

Some of the shows planned for the New Year include Bugsy Malone, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, An Inspector Calls and Life Of Pi.



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4. Head To The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge

Next up on our list of things to do in Canterbury is The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, a museum and library situated on the High Street.

This is a top attraction in the city and is a great place for university students to visit, with a wide range of art, history, and cultural exhibits for you to explore.

In addition to its permanent exhibits and collections, it also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions and events, like lectures, workshops, and educational programs.

The best part? Admission is free to the museum except for certain exhibitions and events.

If you’re struggling with things to do on a rainy day, head on down and see what it’s all about, if it’s free you can’t go wrong!


5. Explore Canterbury’s Mediaeval Streets

Canterbury is a beautiful city with so much history, its mediaeval streets are a great way to learn more about the city’s past.

If you’re looking for things to do, take a walk through the cobbled lanes and alleys.

Be sure to check out the city’s many independent shops, cafes, bars and restaurants which give it a unique charm.

One of the most popular historic streets in Canterbury is Burgate, which runs through the heart of the city and is lined with historic buildings and cobbled streets.

Other mediaeval streets in Canterbury worth exploring include St. Margaret’s Street, which has an array of independent shops and restaurants.

Sun Street is also worth visiting, which is home to the city’s oldest pub, The Sun Inn – a pint here has gotta be done.

If you want to explore Canterbury’s mediaeval streets, why not book a walking tour?

There are tons available that will take you around the city and provide you with information about the history and culture of the area!



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6. Hop On A Boat Trip Along The River Stour

If you’re wanting to see Canterbury from a different perspective then book a boat trip along the River Stour with your pals.

The award-winning guided river tours last for an hour or so and provide you with the opportunity to see more of the city and enjoy a relaxing atmosphere.

You’ll learn lots of interesting facts about the city and all the different buildings that you go past, whilst also making the most of the beautiful views.

The boat tours allow up to 12 people per boat so you and your uni mates can experience it together!

Tickets are just £12 for students with a valid ID card so make sure to bring yours along with you.


7. Shop Till You Drop In Canterbury City Centre

If you love treating yourself to a shopping trip, let’s be real, who doesn’t?

You’ll be glad to know there are a variety of shopping options in Canterbury, including high street stores, independent shops, and markets.

The Whitefriars Shopping Centre located in the heart of the city centre is home to over 70 stores including high street retailers, clothing stores, beauty shops, and homeware stores.

Another great shopping experience is Canterbury High Street which has tons of independent and big brand stores, including clothing shops, gift shops, galleries and restaurants.

Whether you’re searching for something to wear for a party or looking for things to jazz up your student flat, there’s plenty of opportunities for shopping in this city.

Make a day out of it with your mates and go shopping and get some food after it!


8. Break Free At Canterbury’s Biggest Escape Room

If you’re looking for something challenging to do with your friends then we suggest trying out Escape Kent, Canterbury’s biggest escape room.

For those who are after an adrenaline rush, be sure to head to this place on Simmons Road just outside the busy city centre.

Book one of the themed games and work together in a group to try and solve the puzzles and find the clues to escape the room within 60 minutes.

You can book in teams of 2-8 people and choose between the 8 different room styles.

It’s no wonder it’s been rated as the city’s number 1 fun activity, have a go for yourself to see if you can break free!



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9. Be Blown Away At Houdini’s Magic Bar

Houdini’s Magic Bar is a must-visit whilst living in Canterbury.

This award-winning bar and entertainment venue is located on St Peters Street and features magic performances by resident magicians and bar tenders, you’ll be blown away by the tricks performed!

Named after the famous magician Harry Houdini, this quirky bar also serves up creative drinks.

Our absolute favourite bevvie is their Vanishing Act cocktail – mmm it’s delicious.

If you’re after a unique drinking experience, don’t shy away from this place as it’s like nothing you’ll have seen before!


10. Eat Out At Cafe Des Amis

It wouldn’t be a guide to things to do in Canterbury without featuring one of the many restaurants would it?

After all, once you’ve done all that exploring you need somewhere to re-fuel and enjoy some tasty food!

We’d have to recommend trying out Cafe Des Amis, a quirky Mexican restaurant situated on Dunstans Street, right near to Westgate Gardens.

Serving up authentic Mexican and Mediterranean dishes you can expect to find burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, calamari, paella and pork belly on the menu at this eatery.

For a main we’d suggest trying their Seafood Burrito with deep fried prawns, smoked haddock, squid coriander aioli, refried beans, feta, tomato salsa, guacamole, salad and rice.

If you’ve got room for dessert the mango and shortbread cheesecake is absolutely mouth-watering.

The vibes at this place are super welcoming and they even do a great student discount so what’re you waiting for?

Plan a meal with your friends and ditch the cooking for a night.



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As you’ve discovered, Canterbury is a great place for students to live and study, offering a mix of things to do with its history, beautiful architecture, and cultural attractions you’ll never be bored in this city. 

Go out and explore all the amazing things to do in Canterbury whilst you’re studying here, there’s more than just a buzzing nightlife! 

If we’ve missed any recommendations on our list of what to do let us know @universalstudentliving.

Check out next: Top 10 Cafes In Canterbury To Study & Unwind.

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