In 2018 Canterbury was voted the best place to live in Kent, England; therefore moving to Cantenbury is not a bad idea. Made famous by Geoffrey Chaucer’s novels, Canterbury is a historic English city located 68 miles from London. It is very popular in the modern day as it was during the middle ages. The town receives countless visitors every year who come to explore the fine cathedral and other ancient buildings.
Is Canterbury a good place to live? Canterbury is home to beautiful medieval buildings, fantastic schools and many good-value properties. It is no wonder that very many London families relocate here each year. The town also offers high-speed transport links back to London.
Whether you are moving to Cantenbury due to a job offer or are just considering a new place to live in the United Kingdom, you have come to this page because you want to know what Canterbury is like.
- What are the best or worst neighbourhoods?
- Are the property prices affordable?
- Does the area have good schools?
Learn more with this guide.
Is Canterbury a good place to Live?
Canterbury is generally a safe university city, but like most cities it does have some not so safe areas. In the year ending 2018, the safest neighbourhoods in Canterbury were Blean Forest, Gorrell, Little Stour, Sturry North and Greenhill and Eddington. The worst crime hit area was Westgate.
London buyers or expats moving to the United Kingdom who are keen on a good education for their children are rest assured that Canterbury has a strong choice of schools. St. Thomas’ Catholic Primary School, Blean Primary School and Sturry Church of England Primary School are among the “outstanding” primary schools here according to Ofsted.
There is also a good selection of secondary schools. The Archbishop’s School and Simon Langton Girl’s Grammar School have gotten “good” Ofsted ratings. Barton Court Grammar School and Simon Langton’s Grammar School for Boys are considered “outstanding”.
Canterbury is also home to the University of Kent, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury Christ Church University. As a result, this city has a large student population.
For an expats or UK citizens looking for a good commuter town, the ancient city of Canterbury is a good choice. There are two railways stations in this city: Canterbury West station and Canterbury East station. Despite the names, both railways stations are located west of the town centre.
Canterbury west offers High Speed 1 train commutes to London St. Pancras, less speedy stopping train services to London Charing Cross and Victoria, and train commutes to Margate and Ramsgate. Trains coming from London Victoria stop on the other railway station (Canterbury East) and continue on to Dover.
In addition to rail, residents also travel by road. The A2 London to Dover motorway by-passes Canterbury. There is also the A28 road which runs from Ashford to Ramsgate.
Canterbury has a fairly lively social scene. The city offers many modern amenities with plenty of independent stores, cafes and restaurants. Open spaces are stunning, and there are excellent theatres, cinemas and bars. Family friendly parks are also many where children can play and have fun.
Is Canterbury a good place to Work?
For those moving to the United Kingdom and wondering where to settle, Canterbury is worth considering. This city has the strongest economy in East Kent area. The main pillars of Canterbury’s economy are tourism, retail and higher education. New economic sectors like design and creative arts are also becoming more popular.
Major employers in this city are the University of Kent, Canterbury College, The National Health Service, Kent County Canterbury Christ Church University, Kings School, Pfizer Ltd, Furley Page, Ametec Inc. and Medway NHS Trust.
The unemployment rate in Canterbury is 4.7% (end of 2018), which is higher than the national average of 4%. This means that it might be harder to secure a job in this city.
While Canterbury is majorly fuelled by the tourism sector, the Canterbury City Council is dedicated to supporting the growth of the district’s economy. As a result, the authority helps to promote this district to potential developers, agents and investors, especially where this enables increased economic activity and employment creation.
The average salary of a person working in Canterbury is £22,116 (as of April 2019). People with a degree in Bachelor of Engineering have an average salary of £33,500; Bachelor of Science degree holders have an average salary of £28,060; and those with a degree in Bachelor of Arts earn an average salary of £21,053. The average salary of PhD holders is £39,305.
Is Canterbury a good place to buy a House?
This world famous medieval city is a major tourist site due to the historic buildings and the fine cathedral. But what keeps Canterbury’s market value alive is the high-speed commuter connection to UK’s capital.
As a result, the average price for property in the area tips the scale at a whooping £347,244 (as of April 2019), so buyers might need to go deeper in their pockets to get a house here.
Canterbury offers plenty of modern homes for all kinds of budgets and tastes. Huge 1920s-30s semi-detached homes with bay windows and mock Tudor designs can be found along Mount Road, Ashford Road and Ingoldsby Road.
Detached homes are available on Wells Avenue. This area has 5-bedroomed houses with integrated garages and beautiful gardens. Here, it is also possible to find homes that have stunning weather-boarded fronts.
Pilgrims Way is also a nice area to buy a home. This road offers some amazing detached bungalows accompanied by garages and generous gardens.
The city centre is full of character homes and new apartments. The most popular are situated within the walls of the city because this eliminates the need to deal with heavy traffic.
Victorian red-bricked terrace homes can be found on Tudor Road and other streets. These period homes have arched doorways, fireplaces and stunning gardens. Homes with more character can be found on Wincheap, Blackfriars and other tucked down roads. Here, there are 2-bedroomed terrace homes with high ceilings and classic fireplaces.
Modest cottages can be found at Ivy Lane just beyond the city walls. Oaten Hill offers grander 4-storey town homes. These Georgian houses feature convenient stairs and boast views to the city’s cathedral. The high corniced ceilings and generous gardens add to their appeal.
A 1-bed home in Canterbury has an average selling price of £124,000, a 3-bed goes for an average price of £348,832 and larger 5-bed homes have an average selling price of £521,300. There are also flats for sale in the area with a 1-bed flat going for £146,389 and a 3-bedroomed flat going for £276,428.
For those who prefer to rent, a single bedroomed house in Canterbury has an average rent of £487pcm, a 3-bedroomed home has an average rent of £1,191pcm and a 5-bedroom house has an average rent of £1,844pcm. A single bedroom flat for rent requires on average £580pcm and a 3-bedrrom flat for rent goes on average for £1,341pcm.
Is Canterbury a Good Place to Invest in Property?
The city of Canterbury offers houses in a World Heritage Site for less than the London prices. Canterbury is an attractive prospect and this is why it is has such as booming tourist economy. About £459 million annually is spent on local attractions, restaurants, hotels and bars. The close proximity of France via the enhanced Eurostar connections has increased the footfall.
Canterbury also has a high student population. With 3 universities here, there’s a huge demand for rental apartments. With the university students making up the lower end of the property market, there is a clear need to provide midrange homes to professional workers.
Is Canterbury a Good Place to Raise a Family?
In the past years Canterbury’s cultural life and economy has been booming. With three universities, a rich history, amazing streetscapes and 10 minutes proximity from the sea, this city has always shown a potential to outwit the capital city. However, it is still a relatively small city in spite of the flooding tourists.
Canterbury is generally a nice place to raise a family. There are many good value homes, good schools, and plenty of leisure places for children to visit. The high speed train to London is also a major upside. However, it is important to note that the higher population of university students to local residents creates tension. There’s always the probability of running into misbehaving students.
Most of the homes are fitted with gas/electricity systems, and in case of any issues, there are plenty of gas/electricity companies in the area.
There are also a good selection of companies that offer first time buyer mortgage, residential mortgage and commercial mortgages. It is a good idea to buy home insurance and other forms of insurance to be on the safe side. This city also has credit firms such as the Kent Savers Credit Union where residents save money or borrow loans.
Is Canterbury a Good Place to Retire?
The Kent area has been noted as one of the best retirement hotspots in Britain and has been often named the garden of England. Kent town is not only desired due to the amazing city of Canterbury, it is also among the friendliest towns to stay in, particularly for those seeking a retirement home.
Canterbury offers the perfect mix of city, village, country and coastal living. Healthcare, which is often a concern for senior citizens, is very reliable. Retirees can stay busy and have fun exploring the rich history and culture of the city.
Retirement homes and sheltered housing in the city of Canterbury are available at Abbeyfield House, Abbots Lodge, Barton Mill Court, Brymore Road, Canon Appleton Court, Chancel Court, Chantry Court, Dean Mill Court, and Ellen Court.
The prices of retirement properties vary from one location to another. A single bedroom retirement property in Abbots Lodge goes for around £180,000. On Ashford Road it is possible to find a 3-bed detached bungalow for £231,500. Larger retirement properties are rare. A 1-bedroomed retirement property for rent in Homespire House goes for £925per calendar month.
Is Canterbury a Good Place to Visit?
Canterbury is among the most beautiful medieval cities in the UK. The ancient buildings here are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and they attract lovers of history from different parts of the world. A relaxed walk through the city reveals different types of historic buildings. Westgate Towers, for instance, is among the main gates to this ancient walled city, and at approximately 640 years of age, it is the biggest gateway in England.
In the city centre there is the Eastbridge Hospital, which used to be a pilgrims’ hostel. It has incredible architecture from 1190. The ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey are even older dating back to 613AD. These ruins are currently managed by the English Heritage.
The most impressive treasure in Canterbury is the Cathedral. Some parts of this stunning cathedral date back to the 11th century. This cathedral has for long stood watch over Canterbury and has received millions of visitors, from ancient pilgrims to present day tourists. The highest point reaches a height of 236ft. Featuring Norman, Romanesque and Gothic architecture, this awe-inspiring place remains Canterbury’s no.1 attraction.
A visit to this city might feel like a journey to the past, but for those who love shopping, Canterbury also offers a very contemporary shopping experience. Whitefrairs is a popular open-air shopping venue with Zara Next to Primark, M&S and other modern brands. There are also plenty of independent stores and businesses in the city, with the majority being located in King’s Mile area.
Canterbury is also home to all kinds of restaurant chains and independent eateries. Some good examples are Café St Pierre, The Ambrette, Tiny Tim’s Tearoom and Café des Amis. Cocktails are offered at The Pound Bar & Kitchen.
Being a very cultural city, arts are among Canterbury’s attractions. Marlowe Theatre was restored in 2011 and it boasts a fantastic modern design in the heart of the city. This theatre was named after Christopher Marlowe, a famous playwright and hosts exciting plays, concerts and other shows. There’s also another theatre in the University of Kent. Therefore, if you are an art lover, moving to Cantenbury will be a great idea.
One of Canterbury’s best loved attractions is The Canterbury Tales. This interactive exhibition features waxwork models along with live and recorded storytelling. Here, visitors are entertained with tales from Chaucer’s renowned collection of stories. The Canterbury Tales brings to life ancient pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral.
With a rich history, it is not wonder that the city boasts some stunning museums. A sample is the Canterbury Roman Museum which explores the Romans’ influence over Canterbury and is situated around the remnants of a Roman townhouse.
The Canterbury Heritage Museum is situated in a former ancient Poor Priests’ Hospital and it showcases objects including props used in the local makers of some children’s television shows and objects belonging to writer Joseph Conrad. Lastly, the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge has top-notch galleries, a rich library and great learning facilities.
Like most popular tourist cities, Canterbury offers several tourist tours. A popular example is the Canterbury Historic River Tours, which are run during the warmer months and provide boat trips on the River Stour. The Canterbury Ghost Tour is also interesting.
Peaceful green spaces are also in plenty. Dane John Gardens used to a part of a Roman Cemetery. To the other end visitors can find Westgate Parks, which feature Westgate Gardens, Toddlers Cover playground, Tannery field and Bingley Island. These parks are a great place to let kids explore and have fun.
Howletts Wild Animal Park is a wonderful breeding sanctuary for rare and endangered wild animals. Wingham Wildlife Park is located near Howletts Wild Animal Park and it specialises in exotic birds and small wild animals.
The Druidstone Park located in Blean is a magical 12-acre site that has woodland walks, play areas, and friendly farm animals that are bound to delight children. This hidden gem offers a relaxing day out with family.
For those planning to stay for a couple of days in Canterbury, there are plenty of accommodation areas suitable for all budget types. Some of the best hotels and places to stay here include: Holiday Inn Express Canterbury, Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, Cathedral Gate Hotel, Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel, Broome Park Hotel, Canterbury Hotel, Ebury Hotel and Serviced Apartments, Castle House Hotel, The Millers Arms, the House of Agnes, City of Canterbury B&B, Kipps, The Victoria Hotel, Pilgrims Hotel and Oakside Lodge.
With plenty of attraction sites, green spaces, hotels, restaurants, shops, and much more, Canterbury, Kent is a good place to visit.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.