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Why You Should Visit Canterbury in 2024

Sinead Hanna
1st January 2024

Make sure Canterbury is on your travel list for 2024 for a magically medieval English break. 

Less than an hour from London by high-speed rail, our city is the perfect year-round destination with incredible events and beautiful sights to behold, easy access to the coast and countryside, surrounded by award-winning vineyards and ancient woodland - not to mention those cobbled streets and historic buildings that will make your heart sing. 

Take a look at what's happening in the city in 2024. If you're visiting, don't forget to tag @visitcanterbury in your snaps on Instagram.

Winter & Spring

Start the year off by blowing away the cobwebs with a trip to our stunning coast. Enjoy bracing walks along the shores of Herne Bay and Whitstable, or delve into the breath-taking countryside surrounding our ancient city. 

Valentine’s Day Ideas

Looking for a romantic short break for Valentine's Day? Canterbury is packed with cosy corners and picturesque streets that scream romance, plus there are plenty of jaw-dropping backdrops for the perfect proposal. Why not book a romantic punt for two along the River Stour with Canterbury Punting Co?

Want a special meal to set the mood? Enjoy views across the city at Socialite, splash out on a Michelin-starred meal at The Fordwich Arms, The Bridge Arms in Bridge or The Sportsman in Seasalter. But book soon, reservations go fast!

Easter Extravaganza

Easter egg hunts, seasonal trails, family activities indoors and outdoors, and plenty of time enjoying the spring weather in Kent – Easter is always eggs-citing in Canterbury (we’ll stop the egg puns soon…)

Visitors can expect fun-filled trails, special services and a special Sunday Lunch at Canterbury Cathedral, seasonal exhibitions for the whole family at The Beaney, top notch shows at The Marlowe Theatre, Gulbenkian Arts Centre and The Malthouse Theatre, and glorious animal antics at nearby wildlife parks Howletts Wild Animal Park, Wildwood Trust, and Wingham Wildlife Park.

Confirmed events will be added to Visit Canterbury website so keep checking in.

Happy Birthday Bagpuss!

Did you know that everyone's favourite stuffed toy was created and filmed in Canterbury? What's more, Bagpuss celebrates his 50th birthday in 2024, since first airing in February 1974. The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is home to the Smalfilms Gallery with wonderful exhibits from the beloved stop motion TV programme, and they will be hosting special events honouring the big puss throughout spring.

Spring Produce

Spring means one thing – fresh flowers and fresh produce. The city’s much-loved parks and public gardens come alive with colour, particularly the famous Westgate Gardens with lush spring bulbs, 200 year old Plane tree and room for riverside lounging. You can even hop on one of the city’s boat or punting experiences.

To enjoy the spoils of The Garden of England head to The Goods Shed. This farmers’ market is open 6 days a week with incredible seasonal produce and outstanding butchers and fishmongers. The restaurant offers the best dishes from local suppliers, and several mini-stalls will keep you sustained with coffee, cocktails, sweet treats, cheese, beer and wine, all under one roof in this former railway goods shed.

The first of Westgate Hall’s popular seasonal markets also take place regularly, and this community venue hosts live music, makers events and more throughout the year and is always worth a look when in the area.

Summer Splendour

As the weather gets brighter from May onwards, there are several events to have firmly on your radar, should you want to book your summer break soon!

  • Summer fun at Whitefriars - the open air shopping centre will be hosting multiple events throughout the year, including Wimbledon screenings, a summer fun takeover with activities and crafts, as well as regular music events to brighten up your shopping trips. 

  • Canterbury Wine Festival 17th & 18th May – this celebration of some of the finest wines in England will return to Westgate Hall for two days in May. Ticket holders will be able to sip and sample award-winning wines from Simpsons, Heppington, Balfour Hush Heath, Chartham and more. Get your tickets early!

  • Pride Canterbury 8th & 9th June - one of the biggest Pride events in the south east will, for the first time, be a two day event spread across the city. Details and line-ups are being confirmed, but expect more events, more venues and more sequins than ever before. Book your stay soon! 

  • Canterbury Medieval Pageant 6th July - Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Canterbury’s Medieval Pageant and Trail returns to the city for plenty of medieval mayhem. Organised by Canterbury BID, this colourful parade and family day out is a magnet for history lovers and promises to be busier than ever this year. Full details coming soon.

  • Canterbury Shakespeare Festival 10th Anniversary, August 2024 - enjoy a range of free and tickets performances of Shakespeare’s best loved plays across the city

  • bOing! Family Festival 24th & 25th August - Circle this weekend in your diaries for a fun-filled weekend of incredible family entertainment for all family members. Many events are free!

Many more events are in the works for the city, keep an eye on our Events Calendar for updates!

AUTUMN

Wine & Beer Harvest

September marks the start of the harvest for Canterbury’s wine producers and beer makers, meaning some delicious seasonal beverages will be on offer! It’s the perfect time to visit local vineyards as the grapes are brought in and tasting events are rolled out in the wineries, such as Chartham Vineyard and Simpsons Wine Estate.

Green Hop Week from 28th Sept to 12th Oct celebrates the very limited-edition beers that Kent’s brewers, such as the city's brewery The Foundry, produce using fresh hops at this crucial time of year with a public beer festival and special tourist trails around the city. Take a look at Canterbury's Beer Trail.

We are also expecting the return of the Canterbury's Cooking food and drink festival in September.

Canterbury Festival 21st October to 4th November 2024 – the international arts festival returns for a two-week extravaganza of music, performance, talks, family events, science and more. Full programme to be released soon.

Halloween Takeover 

Having street names like Butchery Lane and a somewhat famous murder associated with our cathedral, is it any wonder Canterbury goes all out for Halloween? Expect trick or treat trails for the family, spooky installations, horror screenings and scary stories galore. Full details will be announced nearer the time.

CHRISTMAS IS CANTERBURY

It’s never too early to think about Christmas. And Canterbury should be on everyone’s list in 2024. Why?

  • A huge traditional Christmas market across 3 areas
  • City-wide festive lights against a backdrop of medieval streets and ancient buildings
  • Vast mix of independent shops and high street brands to cover you shopping needs
  • Dickensian charm meets gothic splendour
  • Free open air carol singing and atmospheric cathedral services
  • Festive window competition means business go all out on their displays
  • Still a hidden gem!

Our 2024 Christmas celebrations are expected to begin early November - check back here and on our events page for exact dates nearer the time. At just under one hour’s train journey from London, Canterbury is easier to reach than other well-known markets in the UK and near Europe with more than enough historic charm and shopping heft to hold its own.