Medieval Canterbury and its picturesque surroundings have long been a place of pilgrimage. Now the site of several campuses, students are flocking here too.

Canterbury is well connected, with good links to the rest of Kent and London, and a good network of local bus services. It is also a bus/train ride away from coastal towns such as Whitstable, Margate, Broadstairs or Herne Bay. It is heavily populated with students, due to there being two other large universities, and Canterbury College, meaning there is the potential to socialise with people from outside of your university. Canterbury is also a very historical city, with the cathedral visible from most areas. The high street has a good mix of chain and independent shops. (Third year student, Canterbury Christ Church University)

What Canterbury's famous for...

Canterbury Cathedral

Part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage site, Canterbury Cathedral is England’s central Christian structure, and an important place of religious pilgrimage for centuries. 

Canterbury nightlife, according to students

There are three main clubs in Canterbury. The most popular is Club Chemistry, which has three floors, all with different music (dance, R&B and hip hop). The other main club is Tokyo Tea Rooms, which holds mostly themed nights [like] Glitterbomb, an LGBT+ night with drag and dancers, and FaceDown, a rock/emo night once a month. There are lots of pubs in Canterbury too. The two best ones are The Cherry Tree, with its own signature drink, and The Lady Luck which is known nationwide as one of the best pubs for alternative music.(Third year student, Canterbury Christ Church University)

The Canterbury Tales

Many will know Canterbury from Chaucer's classic collection of short stories. It’s also one of many Kent locations that Charles Dickens frequented and wrote about. 

Canterbury nightlife, according to students

Because 40,000 out of Canterbury's 43,000 population are students, you never have to search that far for a good deal on a night out! As it's such an old city, there are quirky pubs literally everywhere. The Cherry Tree is one of my favourites – they have a secret recipe cocktail that is amazing, a jukebox with some absolute bangers, and they always have good deals. Some of my other favourites are Lady Luck (Canterbury's rock and roll bar!), The Privy (with its magical drinks), and Seven Stars (good live music). (University of Kent student)

Whitstable

Down the road is Whitstable, a lovely little seaside town famous for its oysters and arts scene. There’s lots of independent craft shops too – ideal if your room is looking a little drab.

Student life in Canterbury

Local gems, tips, and things to do, as recommended by students.
Low on cash
The cathedral is free for students, as well as The Beaney Museum. Penny Theatre is great for cheap food and drinks, as well as karaoke nights and pub quizzes. (Second year student, Canterbury Christ Church University)
Treat yourself
Head to The Pound, an old police station converted into an upscale bar. It does amazing cocktails. (Second year student, University of Kent)
Friday night out
For a quiet one, the Thomas Tallis Alehouse is wonderful – lots of board games, great selection of drinks, and a no-phones policy, making you more sociable. (Third year student, University of Kent)
Sunday chilling
Seaside towns such as Whitstable, Herne Bay, and Broadstairs are a train or bus trip away, and perfect for a day off from working. (Third year student, Canterbury Christ Church University)
When family visit
My parents stayed at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge Hotel within the grounds of the Cathedral, which they loved. They loved the beautiful, old medieval cobbled streets in the old section of Canterbury. (Third year student, University of Kent)
Feeling cultural
The Cowane Centre often has local plays or comedians. The Macrobert Arts Centre at the university hosts plays – some done by the university drama society, which are great – and also [has] a cinema for more artsy films. (Third year student, University of Stirling)
Catch up with mates
The Burgh Coffeehouse and Unorthodox Roasters are great independent coffee shops, in Stirling. (Second year student, University of Stirling)
Grab a bite
My favourite place is Cafe Aina, a Greek place where the food is all homemade, and with an honest price. The owners always make the experience comfortable. (Second year student, University of Stirling)

Canterbury in pictures

Canterbury from above

Shows how uniquely beautiful Canterbury as a city is. (Jeremy Got, second year student at University of Kent)

Living in Canterbury, according to students

I chose St Dunstan’s because it is close to town, but also really easy to get to the university as the bus stop is a two-minute walk away. It’s a five-minute walk to town. There’s a Sainsbury’s Local which is a three-minute walk away, and a corner shop just on the end of the road. It’s fairly residential with many families living in the area, but there are also a fair amount of students. It is a bit more expensive than other areas of town, but I would definitely recommend this area. (Second year student, University of Kent)

Canterbury Cathedral

The iconic view down a street to Canterbury Cathedral. (Alannah Penfold, third year student at University of Kent)

 

Westgate Gardens

Punting on the river by Westgate Gardens. (Olivia, third year student at University of Kent)

 

Living in Canterbury, according to students

I do like Hales Place, as the road offers free parking, and there is the One Stop close by. However the buses are terrible in the area. Although the houses are cheaper, this is often due to them being decorated [cheaply]. The area is known by students as [being] more dangerous, although I have had no issues and feel very safe here – I have always been unsure as to why it holds this reputation. Additionally, it is a very popular student area, so is often busy with students which makes me feel safer. The hill up to campus is difficult at first, but you get used to it. Sometimes walking is the only option, as the buses are very temperamental in the area. (Second year student, University of Kent)

Pub stops of Canterbury

Some of the many Canterbury pubs. (Olivia, third year student at University of Kent)

Living in Canterbury

Housing, travel, and budgeting tips.

Where you'll find students
  • St Dunstans
  • Hales Place
  • Wincheap
Local transport
  • Weekly ticket: £8.14 approx.
  • Based on a University of Kent terms 2-3 Unirider (10 weeks approx.) = £195.00
  • Bus

Student money tips

Canterbury is a small place, so public transport is really not necessary. All car parks have the same rates and can be very, very pricey. A parking permit for the year for a zone only costs about £60, and can be obtained through the council, or the Park and Ride system is only £2.50 for 24 hours. (Canterbury Christ Church University student)

The cost of living as a student soon adds up, us our budget calculator to find out roughly how much you'll need each month.

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