Most famous for its Norman Cathedral, the ancient town of Canterbury offers visitors much to see and do. Guided tours and trails around the city explore the history of some of the city's oldest buildings. There are beautiful gardens, riverside walks, art galleries, museums and shops.
The Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey and St Martins Church form a World Heritage Site. The Abbey, founded in AD597, marks the rebirth of Christianity in South East England. St Martin's Church is the oldest parish Church in Britain.
Adjacent to the hotel is the Westgate Towers, the old gateway into the City. Take a leisurely stroll beside the River Stour through the beautifully landscaped Westgate Gardens or visit the newly restored Dane John Gardens.
Meander through the City on a scenic boat tour along the River Stour. Canterbury River Tours offer trips seven days a week between March and October from the bridge in St Peter's Street, just a short walk from the hotel.
The underground Roman Museum at Butchery Lane features genuine archaeological artifacts, authentic reconstructions and computer technology. Discover the story of the City at the Museum of Canterbury, also the site of the Rupert Bear Museum.
The award-winning Canterbury Tales is not to be missed … step back into medieval times and join Geoffrey Chaucer and his colourful characters on their pilgrimage to the shrine of St Thomas Becket at the Cathedral.
The Marlowe Theatre is currently being rebuilt (due to reopen in 2011) but you can still see top class performances at a range of venues across the City.
The 2009 Canterbury Festival is held from 17th to 31st October and features classical music, world music, comedy, theatre and dance, talks, walks, exhibitions and family-oriented events. Take the opportunity to see the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and the Canterbury Choral Society as well as household names such as Alistair McGowan, Julian Clary, Charley Booorman, Leslie Caron and Joan Bakewell.
If retail therapy is your thing, the new open air Whitefriars shopping centre houses many high street names including Fenwicks, Monsoon, H&M, Marks & Spencers, BHS, Next, Zara to name but a few. A wander down the side streets in the pedestrianized area will reveal an eclectic collection of small independent shops.
There are over 200 restaurants in Canterbury offering cuisine to suit all tastes. The Eurofair with the Kent Food & Drink festival takes place in September. "The Goods Shed" is home to Canterbury's Farmers' Market and onsite restaurant and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays.
Just three miles away at Bekesbourne is Howletts, John Aspinall's Wild Animal Park - 90 acres of ancient parkland and home to gorillas, monkeys, tigers, clouded leopards, tapirs, Iberian wolves, macaques, rhinos and many other rare and endangered species from around the world.
Slightly further afield is the fishing and harbour town of Whitstable, famous for its fish, oysters and antiques. Herne Bay, Broadstairs, Margate and medieval Sandwich, venue for the 2011 British Open, are all within easy driving distance. The magnificent Leeds Castle can be found 30 miles south west of Canterbury on an island on the River Len.