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The 11 best things to do in Canterbury

Canterbury is a city synonymous with literature, history and fabulous architecture—and the best things to do in Canterbury echo just that. Nestled in the county of Kent, it’s less than an hour’s train journey from St Pancras but feels like an escape that is worlds away from the capital. Known for its religious—and, sometimes, bloody—history, it’s got one foot firmly in the modern day while still celebrating its ancient roots. Stroll around the streets mentioned by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales and discover no end of beautiful cafés and lovely green spaces. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

A perfect day in Canterbury

An hour from London by high-speed train, in a spot that’s within striking distance of the coast, Canterbury’s got daytrip written all over it. But the city was pulling in visitors way before history-hungry Londoners arrived. A place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages, its phenomenal cathedral is where the martyr Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered by Henry II’s knights. Then Geoffrey Chaucer shunted it further into the spotlight with ‘The Canterbury Tales’, whose characters were en route to Saint Thomas’s shrine. These days, an altogether less pious pilgrimage includes river punts, antiques shops and half-timbered pubs – but it always starts with that epic cathedral. RECOMMENDED: Visit nearby Whitstable, Margate and Sandwich