Last Updated on May 10, 2023 by Louise
Canterbury is a lovely city to visit with teenagers. It’s very compact & walkable with so many fabulous activities and attractions to keep teenagers happy.
From active adventures like punting, bike riding or canoeing to learning about the history of the magnificent city at the cathedral or Westgate Towers – there’s something for every teen.
Shopping, escape rooms, exploring Roman ruins, historic boat rides, ghost tours and the theatre are just some of the activities on offer.
Read on for 18 amazing things to do with teenagers in the wonderful, historic and beautiful city of Cambridge.
Take A Punting Trip Along the River Stour
This is an experience not to be missed in Canterbury. Take a punting trip down the river with a knowledgable guide. The guides are expert historians who know lots of fascinating stories about the area.
Find out more at Canterbury Punting Company.
Climb the Canterbury Westgate Tower
Monument and landmarks aren’t the most exciting venues for teens. However, one monument that may appeal to teens in Canterbury is the old Westgate Tower. It has a rather gruesome history and teens can climb to the top to experience some remarkable views.
Westgate stands at the west end of the High Street, beside the River Stour. It stood as the town prison for many years. Above the portcullis slot is a ‘condemned cell’, where prisoners awaiting execution were held.
Although much of the space is now a restaurant, the upper floor of the gatehouse is home to a small museum. Find armour and weapons used by defenders of Canterbury from the medieval period to World War II. Teens can see the old prison cells within the gatehouse tower and enjoy the climb to the top of the tower. It’s amazing to think that several 19th-century prisoners managed to escape from the West Gate Tower by leaping from the roof!
Find out more about Westgate Towers
At the very top, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the city.
Book Tower Climb Tickets
Go on a Canterbury Ghost Walk – If You Dare
Teens can see a more gruesome side of Canterbury on a ghost walk. Led by a entertaining tour guide, you’ll take twists and turn through the cobbled streets of Canterbury while a tour guide brings the dark side of Canterbury to life. It’s a fun way to learn about the history of this amazing city
Find out more at the Canterbury Ghost Tour.
Cycle from Canterbury to Whitstable
Hire bikes and cycle the Crab and Winkle Way from Canterbury to Whitstable. You follow the route of the first regular steam passenger railway in the world. The route is 7 miles in each direction so ideal for teenage cyclists and other members of the family too. It takes about 80 to 90 minutes each way. It’s a great way for teenagers to explore the North Kent countryside.
Hire your bikes from Kent Cycles and find the route on their website.
Enjoy a Historic River Boat Tour
Enjoy an historic river cruise in Canterbury. It’s a great way for teens to see Canterbury from a unique perspective and be entertained at the same time.
Hop aboard a 45 minute boat journey with a guide who will impart lots of historical information along the way.
Find out more at Canterbury River Tours.
Take a Guided Walking Tour of Canterbury
There are plenty of fantastic guided walking tours to take around this wonderful city.
The company Canterbury Guided Tours do daily walking tours with a brilliant guide. It’s a great way to bring the history of this wonderful city to life. Hear fun stories and tales of murder, ghosts, artists, and royalty.
Book Your Guided Walking Tour
See a show at the Marlowe Theatre
Marlowe Theatre is Canterbury’s premier venue for seeing comedians, watching musicals, hearing talks from actors, seeing pantomine and lots more.
Check out Marlowe Theatre website to see what’s on.
Visit a Museum
Canterbury is steeped in history and it’s home to a couple of museums which may appeal to teenagers (depending on what they’re interested in).
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
The Beaney is a free and quirky museum with some fascinating exhibits and paintings. Teens may be interested in the colleciton of various objects which include cases of stuffed birds, insects and butterflies and an array of weapons from southern India. You can also look various items such as a wasp under a microscope. Also make sure you check out the mummified cat!
Find out more at the Beaney Museum
Canterbury Roman Museum
If you teen shows an interest in history, particularly the Romans in Britain then this is a good choice of museum.
The museum is small but fascinating. The site is home to a old Roman house where archaeologists had discovered an under-floor heating system, wall paintings, and a dazzling mosaic corridor.
Reviews suggest it’s an interesting museum although quite pricey.
Find out more at Canterbury Roman Museum
Take a Canoe Trip
If your teen likes an outdoor adventure, book a canoe trip with Canoe Wild.
You can hire a canoe and gently paddle along the River Stour. No previous experience is required. Kayaks and paddleboards are also available to hire.
Hires are available at Fordwich.
Canterbury Running Tours
A running tour is not for every teen. However, if your teenager likes running or keeping fit, a running tour could be right up their street.
This unique sightseeing running tour, takes you to Canterbury’s best sites and hidden gems. Plus you’ll hear some fascinating information along the way.
There are 5K and 10K tours available.
Find out more at Canterbury Running Tours
More Top Canterbury Attractions
Although not specifically aimed at teenagers, these are Canterbury’s top sites with tourists.
The Cathedral is Canterbury’s top rated attraction on TripAdvisor. It’s a stunning cathedral both outside and inside and is steeped with history. It’s not cheap to enter, so really only worth it if you think your teen will appreciate the experience.
It’s worth doing a tour with an audio guide as the history of the cathedral is extremely interesting.
Find out more at Canterbury Cathedral
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city at Westgate Gardens. These beautiful landscaped gardens are located on the edge of Canterbury old city next to one of the ancient gates and church. It’s a lovely setting for a walk or a picnic.
St. Augustine’s Abbey
Good for teens who have a passion for history. The ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey are kept by the English Heritage and are wonderful to explore. Augustine had brought Christianity to England and for hundreds of years the abbey was the place of pilgrimage. The ruins are mainly foundations. An audio tour is included in the admission price, which gives an amazing background to the history of the site.
Find out more at St Augustine’s Abbey
Howletts Wild Animal Park
See animals including tigers, elephants, gorillas, leopards and monkeys in 90 acres of ancient parkland.
Great for teen animal lovers.
Find out more at Howletts Wildlife Park
More Fun Things To Do:
There are plenty more fun things to do in Canterbury. Here are some ideas:
Escape Rooms: Like many cities, Canterbury has many Escape Rooms that are perfect for teenagers. One to try is Escape in the Towers which is based in Westgate Towers. You can also enjoy free entry to the Westgate Towers Museum and Viewpoint before and after your game.
Another option is Escape Kent.
Cinema : if you fancy seeing a movie while you’re in Canterbury try the Cuzon cinema at Westgate. Watch all the latest movies the state of the art screens.
Bowling: Go bowling at Canterbury Bowling – the only ten pin bowling alley in the city.
If your teenager likes shopping, Canterbury is a brilliant shopping destination too. There are lots of high street shops as well as independents.
Find popular teen brands Whitefriars Shopping Centre which include New Look, Zara, JD, Primark and River Island. The open air shopping centre is also home to Fenwicks department store.
The High Street and St Peter’s street are also good for high street brands as well as some independents.
Check out the Kings Mile for find independents traders who sell handcrafted jewelry, fresh produce, arts, crafts, games and gifts, clothing and more.
St. Dunstan’s area is also home to a variety of independent retailers, vintage shops, and trendy boutiques as well as Good sheds farmer’s market and restaurant.
Places to Eat With Teenagers
Canterbury has some amazing restaurants. Here are just a few ideas:
The Refectory – great for breakfast or brunch
Notorious BRG – independent burger joint with amazing burgers
Cafe des Amis – a Mexican at the Westgate where you can also pick up a boat trip down the river
A la Turka – amazing Turkish food.
The Cooks Tale – an interesting menu with a mix of English and Asian food.
The Goods Shed – next to Canterbury west station, you can buy lovely fresh produce or have a meal/snack
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