Canterbury Uncovered

15 Unusual Things to Do in Canterbury

As a popular tourist destination and UNESCO world heritage site, there’s plenty of traditional things to do and to see in Canterbury. There’s Canterbury castle, the gardens, St. Martin’s church, and of course, the cathedral. But linger a little longer, and you might be surprised with what else you can find underneath the surface.

Here are some suggestions for some alternative or unusual things to do in Canterbury:

1. Visit the Catching Lives Bookshop with the infamous wonky door and rummage for some second hand novels. They have a wonderful range of fiction, poetry, classics and more, with all proceeds going to local charity Catching Lives.

Photo: KingsMile.org.uk

2. Go Latin dancing in a Burrito bar. Dance to  Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba tunes while enjoying some rounds of tequila shots.

3. If you’re feeling brave, why not escape from a real medieval prison cell in a unique live action experience in a former gaol built in 1380. Situated in the largest surviving city gate in England, this experience includes free entry to the Westgate Towers museum and viewpoint.

4. Tired of the same old club nights? Looking for some alternative music? Go to a DJ set in The Cherry Tree, ‘the oldest pub in Canterbury’, (established in 1372), or a punk gig at The Lady Luck.

Photo: The Lady Luck

5. If you have little ones to entertain, Badger Hill farm and cidery is the perfect place for an afternoon out in the sunshine. Located just a short drive from Canterbury, here you can pet some llamas and some minature ponies, take a stroll around the gardens, and round it all off with a cup of tea and a toastie in the cafe.

Photo: Christopher Stibbards

6. On the 6th May, the Kent Vegan Festival will be in full swing. There will be a wide variety of stalls, a cafe run by Potato Tomato, fantastic speakers, cookery demos, workshops, a children’s area, live music and lots of friendly vegans.

Photo: Kent Vegan Festival

7. Have a gong bath at Wise Words festival, running from 28th April – 7th May.

Photo: Cass Xuxin Cunningham

8. Visit a Mystical Market and attend a drumming workshop or experience a range of readings, healings or treatments.

9. Visit the Courtyard Bazaar vintage market on St. Peter’s Street for vintage clothes, bags, and accessories.

Photo: Courtyard Bazaar Vintage Market

10. Visit one of Canterbury’s many other vintage shops, including Revivals, Funky Monks, or Frocks ‘n’ Stock.

11. If you’re a fan of vinyls, visit the next record fair at Westgate Hall, or keep an eye on Vinylstore Jr. for their next upcoming gig in-store.

Photo: Vinylstore Jr.

12. See if you can find the grave of Joseph Conrad, the author of Heart of Darkness. The grave is located in Canterbury Cemetery in Westgate Court Avenue. The epitaph reads:

“Sleepe after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life does greatly please.”
Spenser, ‘The Fairie Queene’ (1590)

13. Visit the old Chaucer bookshop and browse a range of antique books in a beautiful 18th century building.

14. Try something new and book a show at The Marlowe Studio or join a Creative Class.

Photo: The Marlowe

15. Head to a Sunday night pub quiz at The Penny Theatre for a range of utterly bizarre bonus rounds including Love Actually, F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Shrek and the Simpsons. Dress up for bonus points and play ping pong in the pub garden, or Mario Kart in the corner.

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