1. It’s an excuse to hole up in cafés for hours, or potentially days, at a time. ‘Tis the season of sitting in the Chocolate Café wrapped up in blankets, drinking gallon upon gallon of hot chocolate and eating syrupy waffles. Choco-bliss. Come along on the 5th of December to enter the monthly poetry slam – this month’s theme is Science Fiction.
2. The Christmas lights. Sprinkled over the city, they turn the high street into a gorgeously festive fairy light kingdom. On Thursday the 16 November, there will be live music and entertainment as the lights get switched on for the first time this year. This also means that the onset of Christmas music is inevitable (whether you like it or not).
3. The Marlowe Theatre will be putting on their fun-filled pantomime, Peter Pan. Produced by the same creative team behind last year’s award-winning show, Dick Whittington (which was seen by over 95,000 people)!
4. It’s the time to wade through crispy coral and apricot leaves in Blean woods, Chaucer Fields, or along the Crab and Winkle Way.
5. HELLO, JUMPER COLLECTION. Cosy, cottony, and great for covering up the fact that you’ve been drinking gallon upon gallon of hot chocolate. Winter also provides the annual opportunity to wear your tastefully ironic Christmas jumper that looks as if it’s time-traveled from the 80s.
6. In Whitefriars there will be Christmas markets with over 40 stalls, a chance to meet the real-life-actual Father Christmas and Christmas carols. There’ll also be an artisan Christmas fair at the Canterbury Tales, including yarning, knitting, wooden crafts, scrumptious food, and lively costume characters.
7. It gets dark at 5pm and then the evening can truly begin. Going to the pub 5pm in the summer? A bit early; you’ve got half the day left yet. 5pm in the winter? Totally not too early.
8. Walking through the narrow cobbled streets in the evening twilight can make you feel as if you’re a protagonist in a medieval fairytale.
9. Now that it’s no longer peak tourist season, you no longer have to navigate your way through coachloads of curious tourists.
10. Carol services at Canterbury Cathedral. Is there anything quite as magical? There’s even a festive family concert from Bach to Baby, allowing babies, toddlers and their carers to enjoy the carol concerts in a relaxed environment.
11. Which reminds us – in Winter, everywhere smells of woodsmoke. Mmmmmm.
12. Christmas shopping isn’t the least bit stressful because all of the shops are within a 10 or 15-minute radius. The job’s done in an hour, and Canterbury has everything you need: independent shops, Fenwick’s, alternative clothing and plenty of options for gifts and presents; from made-to-order handpainted China to a first edition book from the nineteenth century.
13. Winter is the season of theatre and cinema; it’s all about snuggling up and getting cosy. Lounging on the sofa seats at Curzon or screenings at the Gulbenkian seems all the more inviting now. Also, as much as we miss the beach weather, it’s much, much less effort than going to a BBQ.
14. Christmas for kids is made extra special with a medieval time travelling experience at The Canterbury Tales.
15. You can pay a visit to meet a Reindeer at Wildwood. For children and especially Christmassy adults, you can also make reindeer crafts to take home with you.
16. Seeing people give their time to help one another, whether it’s in the form packing food parcels for the food bank in the run-up to Christmas or helping to set up or donate towards the Canterbury Christmas Dinner.