I am moving to Canterbury for a temporary job and would like to know any pros and cons about the place before I go. Any factual information will help a great deal, personal experience and personal opinions of the place would help also. Any feedback about the schools, the transportation, places to go, safety of the town, etc. would be much appreciated.
My personal impression from a few visits as a tourist would be:
Pros: all places I visited, people were friendly; seems to be a vibrant city with lots going on (but keep in mind I've only been there a total of about 10 days).
Cons: Traffic !!! I found traffic to be a problem; not as bad as say Paris, but still parking was always an issue.
It's one of the cities in the UK that I would definitely go back to visit again.
You can scroll through a bunch of pros and cons here right under the main photo
I was in Canterbury over Christmas and I'd be more than happy to move there (although, like all SE England, it's not particularly cheap). There's lots to see and do in the city and surrounding area (far more than in my local area). I took my car and traffic seemed no worse than most similarly-sized UK towns...again, better than many. I used the local buses a couple of times; they were fine and there seems to be a decent network both within the city and to outlying areas.
The town felt no less 'safe' to me than any similar UK town and I've not seen anything which argues against that feeling.
You can find the list of Canterbury schools here:
and the latest inspection reports (for State schools) on the Ofsted site:
But no Ofsted report can tell you much about the reality of any school. To find that out properly you'll need to make visits to those nearest to wherever you will be based.
You can find details of all the places to see in Canterbury and the county of Kent here on VT. Trains - well served with two stations and a London bound train every 15 minutes if you want to visit London which is about 60 minutes away. Safety - very safe - no where in England has any real safety issues - only problem areas in major cities which would be off the tourist trail anyway.
I think the only issue will be accommodation costs as anywhere in the south of England is expensive.
You will enjoy the city though and Kent is a beautiful county too.
I lived in Canterbury for two years and is a vibrant city with students from the university and art college with lots going on at the weekend . Many tourists from France and other parts during the summer months and quite a few historical sites there such as the cathedral. Within 20 miles you ca visit Dover, Sandwich (one of the cinque ports), Folkstone, Margate, Ramsgate, Herne Bay and Whitstable as well as smaller villages like Sturry, Wingham , Barham etc. Kent play their cricket games in the city and there are many hospitable bars around the cathedral area. The shopping area has all the usual shops that you would expect to find in other cities of the same size.
Canterbury is a great place, especially for a young person but it is a tourist destination obvisouly and therefore not so cheap. I funded the daughter of an ex-girlfriend to go to University there so I know what I am talking about. Places to rent are pretty expensive.
Against that, it is a brilliant place to live and there is a lot going on. As David says, if you do go to stay there, get out on the bus (the services are pretty good there) and go and see ther areas of East Kent, it is a wonderful place to explore. If you have nay more specific questions please come back and ask us.
Hope this assists,
Thank you all so much for that feedback. So far, based on my research and your feedback-It sounds like an amazing place. Can anyone tell me what the weather is usually like because I am coming from a very tropical and sunny area-which I am guessing Canterbury is not. I also have a young son in elementary school-does anyone know what the education is like for grade school there?
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I don't think Canterbury is 'amazing' but it seemed to me a super place to live...like many in the UK.
We can't tell you exactly what the weather will be like simply because UK weather is extremely unpredictable. Not only does it change from day to day it can change within each day and within quite short distances. The weather I have at my house may be entirely different from that 10 miles away. So you must be prepared for a very big change in that regard.
You can expect a temperate climate with no real extremes of temperature in winter orin summer. There is a lot of rain all year round, but it is not generally either torrential or long-lasting (not monsoon type weather, for example). You will miss the sunshine, I think, because we have many overcast days (also year round). Our cold is a 'damp' cold, which 'feels' colder than the dry cold you might experience in other countries.
You can get a *very* rough idea of Canterbury's climate from the averages here:
but remember that averages tell you absolutely nothing about the day-to-day weather, nor even what to expect in any one year.
We cope with the unpredictability by wearing clothes we can layer (removing and adding during the day, as required) and having waterproof outerwear. You'll cope too, after a period of adjustment. :-)
Schools: we have neither elementary schools nor grade schools (and no 'grades'...we have 'years'). Your son will attend and 'infant' school (Keystage 1) from 5-7 and a 'Junior' (Keystage 2) school from 7-11. Infant and junior schools are most often combined in one institution, although there are some separate Infant and Junior schools.
I have already given you the link for Canterbury schools' Ofsted (inspection) reports. I suggest you read through a few of them to get an idea of what the expectations are. As far as I am aware state education in Canterbury is much the same as it is throughout England: the vast majority of schools are doing a very good job indeed, some are less good and only a handful are schools in difficulty. But I should warn you that although, in theory, you have the right to a preference about which school your child attends this is not the right to a *choice*. State schools (i.e. non fee-paying) are often over-subscribed and factors other than parental choice must come into play.
Come the summer, the City Centre can get very crowded with day-trippers: Mrs Z and I live about 5 miles away so it's the early bus into town (thanks to our over 60s bus passes, hahaha) , and back home a.s.a.p You need to know where to park...... (Our favourite parking place is a secret, so there!!) Parts of the town appear to be exclusively occupied by university students, meaning that July and August there are quiet by comparison.
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