19th August 2023

Canterbury is not only a great place to visit, it's also a sensational place for study. 

Being a small historic city that's close to London and with a vibrant cultural scene, Canterbury is an appealing option for anyone considering where to base themselves during their university studies. Every year we welcome thousands of students to the city's three universities, and also play host to their visiting friends and family.

But what is living in the city like for students themselves? In this guest blog by Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU), we hear from student Ali on his experiences of coming to Canterbury for the first time and his advice on what students should prepare for when making the move to the Garden of England.

Ali is a Biomedical Science student who lives in Gillingham and commutes to CCCU for his studies. We asked him what he thinks about the student city...

“Initially, I was shocked at how busy Canterbury was. Gillingham is much smaller and quieter than Canterbury, which is what I’m used to, so coming to Canterbury was slightly overwhelming.  

"If you come from a small town or village, Canterbury seems huge. But after settling in, I saw how lively and welcoming the city was.  

"Canterbury has a lot more greenery than most other places I’ve been to in the UK. The city clearly prides itself on this too.  

"There are also lots of shops, and one of the biggest town centres I’ve seen from a non-capital city. There’s no shortage of places to eat and relax at.  

"There are also remnants of old English architecture. This all really does make the city feel culturally rich.” 

While Canterbury may seem much smaller to people who have moved from London, it’s clear that people from all places appreciate the history and culture that Canterbury offers. Even though it takes just 10 minutes to walk from one end of the high street to the other, Canterbury fosters pockets of quietude and culture, from gated gardens to religious ruins.  

“I would recommend anyone to take a visit to one of the many gardens around the city. Westgate Gardens is certainly worth a visit. Since I like to draw and illustrate as a hobby, it’s nice to sit there and feed my imagination and just admire the colours.  

"I would wholeheartedly recommend areas like these to anyone, especially students. The daily struggles many students go through can really weigh us down, but places with lush colours and the beauty of nature are really therapeutic.  

"Another place I would recommend is the city library at The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge. Both Canterbury Christ Church and University of Kent students have access to this. With a huge variety of literature for any bookworm, several digital facilities such as dual monitor computer setups all over, quiet rooms to drown out any distractions and have a nice silent area to sit in, it is a great place to just sit back and relax while getting some work done.” 

With Canterbury being home to multiple educational institutions, the student life maintains a vibrant atmosphere within the wider community. For anyone about to move to Canterbury for their studies, Ali shares advice for newcomers:

“If, like me, you’re moving from a quiet area, it might take you a little getting used to. But once you meet other people and get to know the city, you’ll feel right at home.  

"My advice is to speak to the university staff or our student ambassadors so you can find where everything is. Everyone is happy to help. It’s important to know where all of the shops and facilities are, so don’t be afraid to explore.” 

Thanks to Ali for sharing his thoughts on our beautiful city. And we look forward to welcoming our new students to Canterbury in the new term! 

Find out more about studying in Canterbury with CCCU.