What you need to know before moving to Canterbury
Nestled into the county of Kent, along the River Stour, is the historic and famous cathedral city of Canterbury. Made famous by Chaucer, the UNESCO World Heritage Site city offers you a unique and culture packed new home.
Due to its close proximity to London, Canterbury is fast becoming a sought-after location for commuters and those looking to get out of the London rat race alike. The city has a busy cultural diary, great amenities, as well as excellent education and higher education opportunities. All set in beautiful historic streets, just a 10-minute drive from the sea.
The city itself is relatively small, but therein lies its charm. Here, the great facilities, cultural attractions, and historical sites are all within walking distance of each other. Canterbury city centre is also close to the popular tourist seaside resorts of Whitstable and Herne Bay.
Canterbury: a history of the famous city
The city now known as Canterbury has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It was later developed by the Romans, who added a road system, roman baths, a temple and a theatre as well as a large city wall.
Whilst it fell out of favour as a Roman settlement, the city was later inhabited by Anglo Saxon settlers. After the conversion to Christianity around 600AD, the Abbey and Cathedral were built, and Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury. From this point in history, Canterbury’s religious importance led to the city’s cultural and physical development.
In 1170 the Archbishop Thomas Beckett was murdered in the Cathedral. The notoriety of the crime made Canterbury one of the most infamous towns in Europe, and a pilgrimage destination for Christians.
Canterbury also became a household name thanks to the salacious Chaucer’s Tales of the 14th century. Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales really thrust the ancient city into the spotlight. His literature continues to be as popular today as ever, with flocks of literary tourists visiting the city every week.
In more recent history, the city was hard hit during World War II, having taken over 10,00 bombs during 135 raids. Having recovered from the damage, the architecture of the city reflects the loss and rebuild phase of its history. Since the 1950’s, Canterbury has undergone a period of redevelopment and investment and is now an in-demand destination for UK moves.
Exploring the culture and highlights of Canterbury
Within the city walls, Canterbury offers up idyllic and historical streets lined with a fantastic selection of independent shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. There are also the well-known high-street chains and amenities UK movers expect from any city.
There is a great community feel, making Canterbury a friendly place to move to. This could be because you can walk everywhere, since the city centre is small, giving it a real village/suburban feel.
With the wealth of green space and close proximity to the sea, Canterbury makes a great home for nature lovers. For long walks, you are close to both Blean Woods National Nature Reserve and the Kent Downs.
Canterbury also boasts an impressive arts culture. With literary and religious culture steeped through the city, it’s not surprising that there are numerous tours and exhibitions based on Chaucer and the history of the Abbey and Archbishops. But there are also incredible arts exhibitions, theatres and cinemas to be discovered. The Marlowe Theatre and Gulbenkian Arts Centre both host a number of events accross all genres.
The tourist culture in Canterbury is well documented: the Cathedral, the UNESCO World Heritage Site status, the works of Chaucer, and the religious importance of the city all draw swathes of visitors every month. Canterbury is actually one of the most visited cities in the UK.
Things to do in Canterbury
The city may be compact, but it is full of things to keep you busy and entertained. With so much to see and do, we’ve put together our must-do list for all new movers to Canterbury.
Here’s the Santa Fe guide to the top things to do in Canterbury:
• Visit the Cathedral – the infamous cathedral is impressive and packed with history. Take the time to really find out about the Cathedral’s historical importance, and marvel at the thousand-year-old stained-glass windows.
• Stroll round Westgate Gardens – a walk around one of England’s oldest parks is the best end to a long day. The park is home to beautiful gardens, a Victorian tower House and has uninterrupted views of the River Stour. This is the perfect picnic spot for summer days.
• St John Boys House – this is no ordinary book shop. Inside this wonky building you will discover a treasure trove of literary finds, and all the proceed go to charity. This is a must for book fans.
• Enjoy a great coffee – the coffee scene in Canterbury is booming, with plenty of lovely independent barista led coffee shops to enjoy. Two of our favourites are the Water Lane Coffeehouse and the Micro Roastery.
• The Goods Shed – this is the very best farmers market in Canterbury. Found inside a very old building, marvel at the display of local produce, speciality foods, organic fruit and veggies and much more. There’s even a cocktail bar, the Wild Goose, so you can enjoy a tipple while you browse.
• For music lovers – the Lady Luck Bar is Canterbury’s unofficial home of all things musical. This rock and roll bar offers up craft ale, arcade games, and lively music nights. During the day it transforms into a cosy pub with a good food menu and lovely beer garden.
• Go nature spotting – Blean Woods Nature Reserve is one of the oldest woodlands in England. Located just outside of the city, there’s 120 miles of walking and cycling trails ready to be explored.
Canterbury’s best locations
There is a diverse property market in Canterbury: with everything from beautiful Georgian town houses and modernised apartments within the city walls, to Victorian terraced houses and family homes in the suburbs.
The average detached city home sells for around £535,000 (accurate as of March 2019), and rental costs are equally competitive with a one bed’s starting at £700 per month. The property prices here are much lower than London and other surrounding commuter towns, but still offer good amenities.
Our favourite spots in Canterbury:
• City centre – within the city walls, house prices are the highest. But you benefit from impressive Regency homes with views over Dane Johns Gardens.
• St Dunstans – with a vibrant feel and an artsy culture, this is the top location for artists and writers. It’s also close to Canterbury West Station.
• Sturry – this village, just three miles from the city centre has great amenities and is popular with families. It also has its own train station with services running directly into London Charing Cross and St Pancras.
If you are unsure where in Canterbury fits your lifestyle and requirements best, let Santa Fe Relocation help. Our dedicated local specialists provide tailored Area Orientation services to help you decided. And our Home Search service takes away all the stress of finding that dream property. At Santa Fe Relocation, we make moving home easy for you.
Family life and education in Canterbury
Canterbury is a great location for families. With a strong selection of both state and independent schools across the city for both primary and secondary age education, you will find the right school for your family.
High ranking primary schools:
• St Stephens Primary School
• Parkside Primary School
• St Peters Methodist
• Blean School
• St Thomas’s Catholic Primary School
• Sturry Church of England Primary School
High ranking secondary schools:
• Barton Court Grammar
• Simon Langton’s Boys’ Grammar
• Simon Langton’s Girls’ Grammar
• The Archbishop’s School
For those looking to pursue higher education, Canterbury is home to three universities: Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury College, and the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus.
If you want to take the stress out of finding the right school for your family, let us help. At Santa Fe Relocation, our education experts match excellent schools in your new home location to your needs, and provide support during application. It’s all part of our School Search service, designed to make your move easy.
Canterbury is a popular commuter town. With excellent rail and road links, you can easily get to a number of nearby cities, towns and the capital.
The city has two train stations: Canterbury West and Canterbury East. As a resident, you can get the fast train to London, getting you straight into the Capital.
From Canterbury West you can get to London St Pancras via the High Speed 1 direct train, which takes just 53 minutes. From this station you can also reach London Charing Cross and London Victoria, Ramsgate and Margate. From Canterbury East rail station you can reach London Victoria as well as a number of other locations. This station is slightly closer to the city centre.
By road, it is just a 30 minute drive to Folkestone or Ashford, and 90 minutes into London. For international travel, the nearest airports are London Gatwick, London City Airport and London Heathrow.
How can Santa Fe Relocation help with your move to Canterbury?
We are the removals experts, with over 120 years of international and domestic removals and house move experience. We utilise our experience to predict your needs, minimising stress at every turn.
At Santa Fe Relocation, you get one dedicated point of contact for all your moving needs who manages every aspect of your move to Canterbury. At Santa Fe Relocation, we make moving home easy for you.