Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Canterbury
14th December 2017
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Visitors to Canterbury can experience the city’s famous architecture, history and heritage during a relaxing weekend break.
The cathedral city was one of medieval Europe’s great places of pilgrimages and today people come from all over the world to see the head of the Church of England, as well as the resting place of Saint Thomas Beckett.
Canterbury is very accessible and to find out about all the accessible attractions, tours and activities visitors can do in the city, just read our guide below.
Best accessible attractions to visit
There are so many attractions to visit in Canterbury, but some are more accessible than others. Here are some accessible attractions visitors just can’t miss during a weekend break.
Canterbury Cathedral is not just a holy place, but is part of a World Heritage Site and its stunning architecture attracts visitors from across the globe.
It is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury and during a visit to this iconic site people can learn about its rich history, which dates back to 597AD when Augustine, a monk sent by Pope Gregory the Great, arrived as a missionary.
Despite its age the cathedral is very accessible to visitors with mobility problems and people who even need brand-new stairlifts at home or visitors in wheelchairs can still access the cathedral.
Canterbury Cathedral offers a number of guided tours for all visitors with disabilities and there are a number of facilities making it accessible for everyone. There is a touch and hearing centre for people with a visual impairment, ramps, accessible toilets, disabled parking and even a lift that makes The Quire accessible.
Canterbury Roman Museum
The Canterbury Roman Museum lets visitors stroll through a Roman marketplace, inside recreated Roman rooms and search through lots of hidden treasure.
Visitors can descend 100’s of years with each step or by lift and see rare tools, collections of jewellery, mosaics, pottery and Roman glass.
Some of the museums highlights are the mosaic floors, a digital reconstruction of a Roman town house and findings from Canterbury’s roman baths.
The Roman Museum is easily accessible for visitors with mobility problems as there is a lift that takes people up to the entrance. There are lots of accessible tours in the museum available and multi-sensory object investigation sessions for blind and partially sighted people too.
Howletts Wild Animal Park
This is Kent’s original wildlife park and now in conjunction with The Aspinall Foundation, the park helps animals get back into the wild.
The 100-acre Howletts Wild Animal Park is home to more than 400 animals and this includes the world’s largest collection of critically endangered western lowland gorillas and the largest herd of African elephants in the UK. There are also Northern Chinese leopards, Amur tigers, lions, wolves and monkeys living in the park.
Older visitors who would like to take their grandchildren out for the day can also see baby rhinos and lots of other rare and endangered animals.
The wild animal park is very accessible with paths generally flat and tarmacked and staff able to help those with mobility problems. There is also disabled parking, disabled toilets and wheelchairs on offer to visitors.
Best restaurants in Canterbury
There are lots of great restaurants for visitors to dine at in this ancient city and here we list some great places to grab a bite to eat.
The Foundry Canterbury
Located just off the high street in White Horse Lane, The Foundry Canterbury is one is unique craft brewery, distillery, restaurant and bar visitors should head to.
What was once a Victorian Foundry now allows visitors to watch the production of fine cask ales and spirits in its own microbrewery and distillery.
The Foundry Canterbury is also a great place to eat and there are a range of starters and light bites, sandwiches, platters, pies, puddings and chargrill and main meals to choose from.
The restaurant is located in a two-storey building, but it is very accessible as diners can enjoy food and drink on the ground floor.
Canterbury Corner House Restaurant
The Canterbury Corner House Restaurant, which only opened in 2016, serves British produce that is locally sourced.
The acclaimed restaurant is located in a 16th Century former Coach House that overlooks the city walls and offers diners convenience for visiting Canterbury’s major attractions like the cathedral.
As the Corner House Restaurant likes to offer the best seasonal produce to their customers, the menus change regularly. Popular dishes that are on offer include 28-day matured sirloin steak, confit pork belly and chicken, ham and mushroom suet pudding.
The restaurant is accessible to wheelchair users and diners with mobility problems and there are disabled toilets available.
Deeson's British Restaurant
As the name suggests Deeson's British Restaurant specialises in traditional and modern dishes from the UK by using locally sourced produce, most of which is grown by the restaurant itself!
The food that is served is varied and this includes free range chicken breast with Old Winchester gnocchi, Crown Prince Pumpkin and truffle velouté and crispy pork belly with braised pig’s cheek, mashed potato, cabbage and pineapple.
The restaurant is accessible for the disabled and other visitors with walking difficulties and depending on what time of the year people visit the city, diners can eat outside and take in the sights of Canterbury.
Best accessible tours to go on
There are so many attractions to see in the city and visitors who want to see and learn about them can go on lots of accessible tours.
Canterbury Guided Tours
The heart of Canterbury can be explored only on foot and Canterbury Guided Tours provide the only tours offering a fascinating guided walk through its historic streets, including a walk around the outside of the Cathedral.
Their tours are fully accessible and as Canterbury is a fairly compact city, those with mobility problems do not have to cover a large distance of ground.
The entertaining and knowledgeable guides will answer all visitors’ enquiries and with tours lasting just 90-minutes visitors can combine essential sight-seeing with other activities.
Visitors can buy tickets for the tours at the Canterbury Visitor Centre, the Roman Museum or via their website. Tours depart daily from the Buttermarket at 11am, while there are additional tours at 2pm from April to October.
Canterbury Historic River Tours
Boating and punting has been a favourite pastime on the River Stour for many years now and just because visitors may have mobility problems it shouldn’t stop them from going on a tour with Canterbury Historic River Tours.
Staff are on hand to assist visitors down some small steps to the boat and there are also loading blocks to assist those with mobility problems.
The tour itself will see the boatmen and women row the boat and give commentary about all the attractions that are visible from the river. There is also grip tape laid out on the jetty itself to stop people slipping whilst boarding the boat.
Tours of Westgate Parks
Westgate Gardens is regarded as one of the city’s showpiece gardens with its ever-present ducks and summertime punts making it extra special.
Located alongside the 600-year-old gatehouse the gardens have been open since the middle ages and it is therefore one of the oldest parks in England.
Westgate Parks offer lots of talks and guided walks of their gardens, including in Westgate Gardens. During these walks visitors will be told about the changes that have been made over the years, the different wildlife that can be seen and a general overview of the parks.
Visitors looking for some retail therapy will be glad to hear that Canterbury will be able to offer a great retail experience.
Whitefriar’s in Canterbury is full of fashion and lifestyle brands and the city’s King’s Mile, Westgate and St Dunstan’s streets are extremely popular for shopping.
Visit Canterbury also said that the city runs the Shopmobility scheme, a programme that lends manual and powered wheelchairs and powered scooters to members of the public.
Visit Canterbury, adds, “The Canterbury branch of Shopmobility is located in Whitefriar’s car park at the junction of Watling Street and Rose Lane. Shopmobility customers may now park free of charge for up to three hours.”
Visit the theatre
The Marlowe Theatre is highly accessible as it has a range of facilities to cater for a variety of disabilities.
The theatre is home to 12 permanent wheelchair positions on three levels and six wheelchair spaces in the studio.
There are fully accessible toilets on all levels and for those who struggle to get upstairs and need stairlifts there is lift access to all floors. Blue badge holders can also park on site and visitors who are hard of hearing can benefit from an infrared hearing support system.
There are lots of incredible performances to enjoy year-round with plays, comedians and musicians all performing at Marlowe Theatre.