Canterbury is establishing itself as a leading Christmas market destination and launches its first outdoor ice-skating rink this year with its traditional Christmas market which has doubled in size.
Thousands of shoppers flock to the city at Christmas and visitors can immerse themselves into the festive season against the picture-postcard backdrop of historic buildings and cobbled streets. A new downloadable guide called Canterbury made for Christmas has also launched this year making trips even easier with top tips of where to go and what to do.
The traditional Christmas market has doubled in size and will host nearly 70 wooden cabins lining St George’s Street and Whitefriars shopping centre. The Christmas market opens from November 22nd – December 24th and includes its biggest presence of local makers to date. Shoppers can enjoy browsing hand-made unique gifts, local food and drink, stocking fillers, jewellery and items from around the world. The market is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm and Sunday 10am to 5pm.
Canterbury’s first ice skating rink Canterbury on Ice will be opening from November 29th – January 1st in the pretty backdrop of Dane John Gardens, close to Canterbury East train station. Expect music, festive food and twinkling lights to complement the Christmas ambience.
The city’s retail offers a great mix of unique independent shops with luxury high street brands. Shoppers can find that perfect gift in a side street boutique or keep their wardrobe fresh with top high street brands.
For shoppers looking for a boutique experience, the city centre boasts 48% independent retailers. The King’s Mile and the Cathedral Quarter are steeped in history and just a step away from the busy high street where visitors can browse at a slower pace along some of Canterbury’s oldest cobbled streets. Wander through the King’s Mile and the Cathedral Quarter for stunning architecture of the King’s School and the cathedral.
Here you will find an eclectic mix of independent shops and traditional traders offering handcrafted jewellery, arts and crafts, games and gifts as well as places to eat and drink. Don’t miss out on seeing the 17th Century crooked house, also known as Sir John Boys House, one of the most photographed historical buildings in Canterbury, and mentioned in the novel David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
For those who would rather soak up the history than shopping, walking tours can be booked where visitors can learn intriguing facts about the fascinating city; from the murder of Thomas Becket at the cathedral to its Roman trading routes. For thrill-seekers a ghost tour is a great option to experience the city by night with haunting tales.
Celebrate the coming of Advent at Canterbury Cathedral, one of the three sites that gives Canterbury its UNESCO World Heritage status. A visit to Canterbury is an opportunity to join one of the cathedral’s atmospheric celebrations of Christ.
From Dec 1st – 24th, visitors are welcomed to join the cathedral services, which includes lighting the first Advent candle, a family service with St Nicholas and the ever-popular carol services up until Christmas eve.
Canterbury is easily accessible for a day trip from the continent. The High Speed 1 train arrives in Canterbury West in just under an hour from London St Pancras and the city is less than 20 minutes by train and a 30-minute drive from the port of Dover and the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal in Folkestone.
Visit Canterbury’s Tourism Engagement Officer, Kathryn Hearnden says:
“We are really proud of our city and what it has to offer our continental visitors across the festive season. We look forward to welcoming you to experience a Christmas experience Canterbury-style!”
Stay a little longer…
For weekenders, there’s plenty of accommodation offerings in and around the city. Here are some top picks:
Stay at Kent’s Best Pub 2019, The Dog at Wingham. If offers outstanding food, drink and rooms for overnight stays. Canterbury Road, Wingham, Canterbury CT3 1BB
Dating back to the 15th Century, The Falstaff Hotel & Cocktail Bar is a short walk past Westgate Towers in the city and offers stunning rooms for B&B Accommodation. 8-12 St Dunstan’s Street, CT2 8AF
The West House in St Dunstan’s, is a short walk from the city centre and offers free parking. These 1 and 2-bedroom apartments styled with Danish BoConcept furnishings offering a contemporary stay. 36a Whitstable Road, CT2 8DQ
The Gate Hotel holds prime position in the heart of the city. Dating back to 1438, the historic Cathedral Gate Hotel is next to the cathedral entrance and overlooks the pretty Butter market and cobbled streets. CT1 2EH
Stay in the beautiful grounds of Canterbury cathedral at the Cathedral Lodge – a unique and contemporary hotel with one of the best city views! CT1 2EH.