If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get away on a weekender that’s not too far from home, this could be the perfect road trip to get you ticking that goal off your list! From the bustling business metropolis of Slough, leave your busy work-week way behind as you make the 93-mile mini-pilgrimage to destination Canterbury – ready to create a few “Tales” all of your own! Complete with its heritage and culture, cobbled Medieval lanes, inspiring architecture, restaurants a’ plenty and heaps of family activities, there’ll be something on this trip to suit you and everyone in your crowd who’s invited along for the ride.
How do I get there?
Taking the M25 from Slough is the fastest route – and when the traffic is flowing with no unexpected hold-ups — the trip should take about 1h 45mins. Easy, effortless and perfect for whirlwind of a weekender!
The all-important question of vehicle and tyres
When it comes to tyres, Vitora has things sorted for most types of wheels! If there are just two of you and your vehicle’s a Mini or Fiat, team it up with Vitora’s CityLife tyres for a breeze of a run – and of course, it’ll be perfect for parking in those compact spots while you’re away. If it’s a family wagon or SUV that’s more your driving style – Vitora HighLifes are an excellent match, providing you a safe and comfortable ride – with loads of room for legs and luggage!
What to do when you get there:
When in Canterbury… Canterbury Cathedral
It goes without saying that the one thing you can’t miss is the iconic, world-famous Canterbury Cathedral which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. As a destination for pilgrims through the ages dating back to Medieval times, and with the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170 central to its history and intrigue, spend some time here delving into the cathedral’s historical and colourful past. There are a range of options available to make your exploring easy, including guided tours and mini talks.
Join in on the pilgrimage of The Canterbury Tales
You don’t have to be a Chaucer scholar to enjoy a bit of the fun and storytelling at the Canterbury Tales Visitor Attraction in the heart of the town. Immerse yourself in the times of the pilgrims and Medieval England through reconstructed scenes, with the help of costumed guides, narrators and actors, bringing them to life.
Walk Canterbury’s City Walls
Originally built by the Romans, the impressive walls include 24 medieval towers. Enjoy a relaxed walk around the city for great views and an abundance more history comes with the territory.
Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
An art gallery, library and museum all in one situated on High Street, this is a cultural hub for exhibitions, talks and family activities – and nothing beats creating your very own coat of arms!
St Martin’s Church and St Augustine’s Abbey
Renowned for being England’s oldest church that has continuously been in use, this historical church is also part of the town’s World Heritage site (along with the Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine’s Abbey) and offers lovely views from its position on the side of a hill. The famous ruins of St Augustine’s (which has a visitors’ centre) are also a must for your itinerary – with an audio guide available to help you make the most of the experience.
If the weather is mild and bit of sun is peeping through, Canterbury has some lovely gardens to explore. Westgate Gardens alongside the River Stour is home to beautiful old trees and leads to Westgate Towers, England’s largest surviving Medieval gateway. Or discover the Greyfriars Chapel and Franciscan Gardens – tranquil at any time of year but particularly spectacular when its wildflower meadow is in bloom.
Boating on the River Stour
The Stour is central feature of Canterbury’s character and history, so taking the in the town’s architecture and sights from a rowboat on the Stour makes perfect sense! Canterbury Historic River Tours offer 40-minute trips where you get to sit back and appreciate Canterbury’s main sites and buildings from the river’s perspective, while the knowledgeable guides fill you on everything you see along the way.
Don’t forget the Chaucer Bookshop
If you’re an avid reader or appreciate old books, it’s well worth seeking out the Chaucer bookshop. Offering a treasure-trove of vintage and second-hand books, it can be found in a quirky, 18 Century building set over two floors.
A show at the Marlowe
From Shakespeare to ballet, orchestra, concerts and even Peppa Pig – there’s always something on at the Marlowe Theatre – so book in for show while you’re there.
Take the family for a close-up encounter at Howletts Wild Animal Park
For something off the historical and pilgrimage track, Howletts is an activity for the whole family. A quick 15 to 20-minute drive from Canterbury will get you discovering some of the most rare and endangered animal species with the opportunity for close-up encounters with elephants, rhinos and more.
Shop ‘til you drop
If some retail therapy is on the cards during your stay – there’s the Whitefriars Shopping Centre with a number of retail stores to choose from, or explore Canterbury’s array of giftshops and food wares (don’t miss out on The Fudge Kitchen!) and speciality stores in other areas of the town and along The King’s Mile.
Where to stay
Whether you’re wanting something a little comfortable or slightly more luxurious – Canterbury’s accommodation options work to bring its heritage and character to the fore in hotels for every budget. Plus, if you like idea of staying right on site at Canterbury Cathedral itself, why not book in to stay in the Cathedral Lodge.
Now it’s over to you
Canterbury’s the perfect weekender combination of plenty to do along with the option to just sit back and enjoy a relaxing Saturday afternoon with an ale on the King’s Mile — the choice is yours! So, if you’re ready to get the wheels turning and this new year’s resolution off your list, pump up those tyres – and safe travels!