Maya Eva
25th June 2024

Updated for 2024

With the summer turning up the heat, it's time to find some great spots outdoors to eat and make memories. Kent is known as the ‘Garden of England’ for a reason, with a plethora of amazing eateries supplying fresh produce and delicious cuisine. And so many come with great views for that lovely summer vibe.

Here's is our guide to a few of the great places to dine outdoors in Canterbury, from restaurants with terraces to great pub gardens for good eating! If you have other places to recommend, make sure you share your pics and tag us on Instagram.

Outdoors in the City

For a complete view of the city, hop in an elevator to Socialite, Canterbury’s exclusive rooftop bar and restaurant. Enjoy incredible views of the Cathedral and medieval rooftops while sipping on a delightful cocktail and tucking into delightful dishes. This photo hotspot is sure to leave a lasting impression, and hosts various events throughout the week. 

Looking for riverside views? Just on the River Stour next to Westgate Towers, you will find Cafe Du Soleil which provides wood-fired cuisine such as marinated Kentish lamb and seafood risotto. Dine outside on the terrace with the restaurant’s 18th century mill building as a backdrop.

The Old Weavers House in its historic riverside setting is the place to be for a view of the punting boats on the historic river. Take a look at the replica ‘Dunking Chair’ up close and watch the world go by with Weaver’s classic English dishes such as Chicken and Leak Pie.

The Goods Shed is one of the top foodie destinations in the city, as a 6 day a week farmers market and leading restaurant. In the summer, it's rustic garden opens up so you can enjoy the finest fresh produce with a glass of something pink in the sunshine. 

A hidden gem in the heart of the city is the 'Terrace', a large outdoor area that is host to several great venues within a stone's throw of the cathedral. Look for the steps on Butchery Lane or Longmarket and head up to a luscious retreat at one of three gorgeous venues:

  • Those looking to start their night - or for a slice of Mediterrean cafe culture - head to Citi Terrace and its huge outdoor space. Grab a variety of small plates, pizza or even a shisha, and don't leave without trying their cocktails
  • For a slice of European cafe culture, find a shady spot at the pretty tables at Cafe Lazix and order coffees, drinks and hearty lunches in your cool corner of the terrace
  • Get a taste of Latin American with sizzling dishes and drinks to swoon over at Las Iguanas, which has tables on the terrace and also close to the high street - perfect for people watching!

Fancy looking out onto the high street? Cote provides modern French-style classics with a view of the bustling city centre! Go on the right night and you might even hear the echoes of a local busker playing nearby.

Be amazed by A La Turka’s incredible Turkish escape in St Dunstan's. The hidden back terrace has a retractable roof that opens up the restaurant to the night’s sky for a starry summer night (and closes should the British weather take a turn). Pop round at lunchtime for delectable set menu options Monday through Friday.

A must for people watchers - and those who appreciate really good brisket - is the recently refurbished The Drapers Arms. Not only does this stylish yet relaxed restaurant occupy a corner spot on one of the prettiest shopping areas in the King's Mile, but it also has a hidden roof terrace adorned with plants and twinkling lights for outdoor dining.

Another hidden gem is No 35, a bright and airy cafe with tables both on the picturesque St Margaret's Street and in it's beautiful herb-scented garden at the back. Great for lunch, and for their programme of events! Also in Canterbury's Castle Quarter is the new Chatterbox Community Cafe, serving up great lunches and great drinks with an adorable sun-soaked garden area.

Craving an Italian feast? Family run Posilipo on the King's Mile books up every weekend, with lovely tables overlooking the old city walls and independent shops. Perfect for a wood-fired pizza and a glass of vino on a sultry summer night. 

The city also has several popular chain restaurants with pretty outdoor spaces, including Zizzis, Wildwood, ASK and Pizza Express.

Pub Gardens

When it comes to beer gardens, The Dolphin Canterbury is one of the most popular in the city! This large decked area has plenty of shade and hosts many events on throughout the year, and serves up a variety of pub classics. This is a great option for those who are looking to bring their furry friends along as the pub is pet-friendly.

The Parrot is a Shepherd Neame pub situated in a stunning historic 14th-century hostelry with original oak beams and walls - and roaring fires in the winter. But its decked garden is something of a hidden gem, you can enjoy a lovely lunch surrounded by lush nature, emerald green trees and a huge magnolia tree. 

If you're out with friends make a beeline for the huge pub garden at The White Hart, and order up something delicious from their very popular menu. 

In Canterbury's West End, The Unicorn Inn is the place to go for real ales and proper pub grub with a large garden that's perfect for groups or a peaceful beverage in the sunshine. Across from the historic St Dunstran's church you'll find one of the city's best kept secrets, The Monument! Its enormous pub garden is dotted with apple trees, fig trees, lilies & lavender, and the gastropub-style menu is a magnet for foodies. 

Sports fans who want a bite with their beer should head to The Penny Theatre on the King's Mile or The Bishops Finger in St Dunstan's, both of which have great garden and outdoor screens so you don't need to miss a moment of the match. 

A skip out of the city centre and down the path by Beverlie Meadow, you’ll find Ye Olde Beverlie, a quintessential English pub serving both classics and Mexican grilled dishes - and with a large garden space for families to stretch their legs.

Picnic Spots

If you want to make your own outdoor feast, there are plenty of great spots where you can soak up the sun with your picnic meal.

We of course have to mention Westgate Gardens, an idilyic picnic spot full of floral arrangements and a view of the River Stour. Watch the punts drift by while looking up at the iconic Westgate Towers.

Whitstable Castle is a picturesque location for a summer picnic and plays host to numerous events throughout the year. The Orangery Cafe is simply breathtaking with views over the lush gardens and the sea is only a short stroll away!

Or you can delve into nature at the Grove Ferry Picnic Site. Take a look at all the boats parked on the river’s edge and even venture into the water yourself with Canoe Wild, who supply a variety of canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards.

Do you have any summer spots that you love visiting to enjoy the warm weather? Let us know!