For the students of CCCU, Easter is finally upon us! Time for relaxation, spending time with family and friends (and revising for those dreaded exams in May – but let’s not mention that). Whether you’re from Canterbury or not, there are always plenty of things to do in the city during the Easter holidays – and we’ve compiled a list just for you. Check out our to-do list below!
- BEKESBOURNE’S CHALKPIT FARM: Do you like shopping- but want to buy local? If so, Bekesbourne’s Chalkpit Farm is the perfect place to visit for a relaxed afternoon. Located in a square of renovated stables, Chalkpit Farm boasts a tearoom, an art gallery, baking and farm shop, a baby clothing store and florist. Easy to access from Canterbury, try a piece of homemade Victoria Sponge after browsing paintings and buying a baking book to help you learn to cook! Bekesbourne can be accessed via the 89B bus leaving from Canterbury Bus Station to Adisham. A two minute walk west on Adisham Road will take you to the farm. It’s that simple!
- CHILHAM: Nothing describes picturesque England like Chilham. Chilham, located just a couple of miles down the Ashford Road out of Canterbury, is the stereotypical English village. Tudor houses sprawled around a delightful village square- the shooting set for TV shows such as Top Gear and Emma and films such as The Canterbury Tale- with a gorgeous church, tearoom and gift shop, Chilham is a perfect place to visit on a sunny Spring afternoon. The Shelley’s Tearoom, a family-run café, serves both hot and cold food and hot and cold drinks. So whether you’re a latte fan, milkshake fan, sandwich fan or baked potato fan, there is always something there to try. Take the time to stroll around the village and admire the gorgeous beamed homes. Chilham is easily accessible to anybody– Simply catch the train heading towards Ashford International from Canterbury West, and vacate at Chilham Station, two stops along the line.
- RIVERBOAT TOURS: To me, summer time in Canterbury High Street is not complete without at least one Canterbury Boat Tours promoter along the High Street. The Canterbury Historic River Tours is located on the bridge towards the bottom of the High Street, near to Wildwood and the Old Weavers restaurant. They offer city river tours, telling participants a fascinating history of Canterbury – with a little (or a lot of) cheek, humour and wit. Find out more about them on their website here. There is another River Tour company located on the river down in West Gate, who offer both city and country tours on the Thames.
Part of the River Thames, up by The Miller’s pub.
- WESTGATE GARDENS: A picnic in Westgate Gardens. It’s been a long time coming but finally the warm weather we’ve been desperate for is returning! Now the sun has finally arrived, make the most of it and have a picnic in Westgate Gardens. Sit on a bench along the river on a grassy bank near the river or on a secluded picnic bench a little way along the Canterbury to Chartham footpath on the Hambrook Marshes. Young children and relatives will love Toddler’s Cove, a children’s play area a little way along the path.
MAKE A DAY OF IT- THE ARTICHOKE PUB: Take the challenge to walk the whole way along the river. The path takes 90 minutes to walk at an average speed. Treat yourself with a delicious meal at the Artichoke pub in Chartham. The Artichoke serves traditional pub food, including Sunday Roast, Salmon and Scampi and Chips. There is a beamed interior, an beautiful stone fireplace and a pub garden for those with fidgety children!
- HOWLETTS WILDLIFE PARK: Howletts Wildlife Park, situated just outside Bekesbourne, is a 90-acre safari park. There are over 50 species to meet, including gorillas, rhinos, elephants and monkeys. Listen to interesting talks, watch the keepers look after the animals, and take advantage of the many catering outlets on site. The perfect place to bring friends and relatives of all ages. Booking online costs £15.95 for adults 16+ years. Loved Howletts so much you want to visit again? Buy an annual membership. Costing just £44, visit your favourite animals as many times as you wish. Bargain!
- CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL: A must-see for those from both local and from afar, the 1,000 year old Cathedral is entwined in much of Great Britain’s history. The Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Anglican Christian Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. A Holy place and World Heritage site, it’s worth a visit for those Christian or not. Stunning architecture, ornate and grand, a sense of welcoming and holiness greats you as soon as you step in the door. Light a candle for your loved one or spend a few moments sitting in serenity.
The Canterbury Cathedral in all of it’s glory.
- CANTERBURY GHOST TOUR: A fan of the supernatural and paranormal? You’ll love the ‘Canterbury Ghost Tour’. Spend the evening with Canterbury’s locally infamous ghost whisperer (you may see him around- he’s called John and wears a top hat and a cloak), discovering the ghostly history of some of Canterbury’s most well-known buildings, including Café Chambers, HMV, Cathedral and Tiny Tim’s Tea Rooms. You’ll never look at it the same way again. Don’t worry- you’re safe with him. Or are you? £10.00 for an adult ticket, £9.50 for concessions and £8.50 for children on the 75 minute tour. Meet at 8pm on Friday and Saturday evening at Alberrys Wine Bar in St Margaret’s Street.
- MACKNADE: Perfect for those with an appetite for food, Macknade in Faversham is the South East’s leading food hall. The establishment, run by a people with a love of food, drink and sharing these with those closest to them, is built on 170 years of farming, food and retail. While there, pay a visit to Macknade’s deli counter showcasing a wide range of locally produced cheese and meats, and taste delicious homemade food and baked goods in the Macknade Café (they do an epic hot chocolate and chocolate cake!) This delightful food hall is located a short walk from Faversham station. Take the train from Canterbury East to Faversham station. A perfect day out if you want to experience somewhere different.
- LENHAM: Lenham is the oldest Medieval village in Kent, located between Ashford and Maidestone. The ancient village accommodates medieval manor houses, a tithe barn and a pretty 14th century church (situated in the beautiful village square). Many of the buildings date back to the 14th century. The village boasts two pubs- the Harrow Hill Hotel & Inn and the Red Lion and a variety of interesting shops including an Antiques shop, a clothing and gift boutique, a tea house and a bakery. The Barn regularly hosts a variety of events including art shows and craft fairs.
- THE MARLOWE THEATRE: The Marlowe is Canterbury’s local theatre. Recently refurbished, it seats 1,000 people and is host to a wide variety of genres of theatre including musical, comedy, children’s and dance. The programme for the next couple of months includes the Philharmonia Orchestra, comedians Alun Cochrane, Sean Lock and Julian Clary, Folk singer Kate Rusby, children’s television presenter Mister Maker, Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hairspray, Annie, Singin’ In the Rain and The Woman in Black. Possessing a Marlowe Theatre Discovery Ticket (eligible for those age 16-26) means you can enjoy discounted tickets for many of the Marlowe’s shows- frequently for as little as £8!
The New Marlowe Theatre in the daylight.