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Resting up in Cantebury

After our flight from Spokane, WA ("Near nature, near perfect"), to London, September 2018, rather than stay in the city we would like to go directly to a restful place befor launching an ambitious European adventure. We learned the benefit of this approach on our last trip to Italy. We flew into Milano and headed for Verana on Lake Como. No agenda, just lazy strolls along the lake enjoying the charm of the village, the people and Italian cuisine. Initially I landed on Cantebury as our restful spot beyond London. But, I just checked in Steves's Great Britain and found that it is not even listed. Is this a good thing (not crowded with tourists) or a sign that it is not a worthy place to be. Can't imagine that, considering its significance. Thank you for your perspective and perhaps alternate suggestions.

Posted by
4734 posts

We were in Canterbury recently on the RS Villages of South England tour. The town is covered in the England guidebook; you might look for that at your local library.

We enjoyed Canterbury very much. It was crowded with tourists during the day, but quieted down a lot during the evening. There are plenty of things to do and see, including a great Roman museum, walks along the river, super pubs, and of course the Cathedral. And it's close to Dover, if you wanted to take a side trip.

I can't imagine why it's not in the GB book; space limitations, perhaps.

Posted by
4896 posts

Canterbury would be a good place to start your trip, with its historic cathedral, old medieval center, and other attractions. Nearby Dover Castle is also a good side trip, as are the south coast towns. Bodiam Castle is worth seeing. The countryside is beautiful, though I wouldn't think of the city of Canterbury as especially "restful."

Other possible candidates might include Hastings, Brighton, Winchester, Salisbury, and Oxford. The latter three are closer to Heathrow and don't require going through or around London to reach.

Posted by
247 posts

Thank you for these very helpful insights! You've already enriched our anticipation and planning.

Posted by
5037 posts

Canterbury is recommended in any England guidebook that I have ever seen, so it is a major omission from the RS book IMO. Canterbury would be suitable for your needs, as would Windsor, Rye, Lewes, Brighton or Hastings.

Posted by
31 posts

Canterbury with an "r" as in Cathedral and Tales? It is in our Rick Steves' England. Its covered under eating, general information, maps, planning, sightseeing, sleeping, tourist information, tours, transportation, cathedral and tales. Next month is our first trip to the UK and there may be a cante and a canter, but.... The kindle version has it between pages 271-284. It is a "must do" for our family because we're Episcopalians and our presiding bishop was just there.

Posted by
2950 posts

I think it is a matter of misspelling Canterbury. There is no city without the first "r".

Posted by
161 posts

We are going to Canterbury for the first time this trip. But an easier first night or two start might be Windsor. It's a short cab ride or bus from heathrow and we have enjoyed it a lot.

Posted by
247 posts

Thanks to all who have contributed insight regarding our inquiry. Out of respect for RS guidebooks, I will revisit the index in the one I initially employed. My probable initial misspelling of Canterbury is rather comical considering my degree is in English and I taught English for 22 years! In my excitment I scanned and then responded too quickly to the apparent missing links. Each of your contributions have informed, enriched and broadened our awareness of options. As a result, we are considering renting a car for our exploration of the charming enchantment Great Britain and Ireland have to offer, rather than depending on train and bus modes. I also purchased both RS Great Britain+Ireland as well as Europe Through the Back Door. Digging into the dream.

Posted by
715 posts

I think Canterbury is included in the RS England book but not included in the RS Great Britain guidebook.

Canterbury is a busy place during the day but pretty quiet at night. As Emma mentioned, it is not a convenient location to reach from Heathrow. Heathrow is west of London. Canterbury is east. It could be a slog by car, depending on traffic. You've got to get from one side of London to the other...I would not want to do this jet lagged. I would not want to do this with a lot of rest! I think Canterbury is a great place to visit, and I think it's a nice place to spend the night and use as a base to see Dover Castle, but I don't like it for a first night.

My first choice for a restful first stop would be Winchester. It is an easy drive from Heathrow (about 70 miles, I recall, all motorway). Winchester Cathedral is lovely and the tourist office offers a tour of the town. Many options for day trips. RS guidebooks do not include Winchester, but don't let that deter you!

Posted by
247 posts

So surprised. Found round trip flight to Manchester almost half the price of flight to London! Sampled dates matching our proposed trip 2 years from now.

Posted by
3584 posts

How many stops to Manchester? Is it in a part of England or the UK that you want to see?

Have you considered flying into one place and flying home from another? Use the "multi-city" option on Google Flights to explore that. It might seem to be a bit more expensive, but it may not be if you factor in backtracking. Also it might be cheaper to fly into Heathrow and fly home from somewhere else.

I visited Canterbury, Hastings and Winchester on my recent trip to the UK. I had reasons to go to all three. I was able to relax in all three. But my choice upon arrival at Heathrow was to take the bus to Bath and ease out there for four nights, including a massage and the pools at Thermae.

Posted by
247 posts

What a smart set of considerations. We will most certainly investigate the Bath suggestion. Sounds healing. We will be 68 and and long flights can tske their toll. Thank you