Canterbury Houses (c) iStock/Thinkstock
Celebrated for its rich history and spectacular medieval architecture, Canterbury is deeply rooted in British tradition. But there’s more to this city than history: with fine eateries, scenic cruises along the Stour River, and a buzzing shopping scene, Canterbury offers a delightful ménage of ancient British custom and contemporary culture. The ideal destination for a London day trip with Zipcar, visit Canterbury and you’ll find pay-and-display parking dotted around town, as well as popular park-and-ride sites. 
Canterbury Abode (c) David Griffen
 
For fine dining in Canterbury city centre, MBE award-winner and two-Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines presents the elegant Michael Caines Restaurant, housed in stylish boutique hotel ABode (High Street, Canterbury CT1 2RX, 0122 776 6266, http://www.abodecanterbury.co.uk). With an emphasis on regional produce, Executive Chef Jean-Marc Zanetti blends modern European cuisine with seasonal British fare, creating tasty hits like slow-cooked organic salmon with honey and soy and a poached then roasted pheasant breast in red wine sauce. Try the weekly tasting menu, which combines sporadic seasonal concoctions with à la carte favourites in no less than seven courses, or visit between 6pm and 7pm for excellent ‘early dining’ two- or three-course set-menu deals (Sundays excluded). 
 
Canterbury Foundry Brew Pub (c) The Foundry Brew Pub
 
Those who fancy a more relaxed lunch should make a beeline for the nearby Foundry Brew Pub (Whitehorse Lane, Canterbury CT1 2RU, 0122 745 5899, http://www.thefoundrycanterbury.co.uk). Set over two floors in a Victorian industrial building that once hosted Canterbury iron company Drury & Biggleston, choose from a hearty menu of good old pub grub, including everything from traditional British pies and sharing platters, to chargrill options such as speciality Foundry ribs and burgers.
 
Canterbury Cathedral (c) iStock/Thinkstock
 
Once you’ve had your foodie fill, a short stroll will take you to the striking World Heritage Site, Canterbury Cathedral (Cathedral House, 11 The Precincts, Canterbury CT1 2EH, 0122 762 862, http://www.canterbury-cathedral.org), where impressive medieval stained-glass windows add a splash of colour to what is still considered an important pilgrimage site. The gothic Cathedral was established in 597 AD, and is packed full of historical markers. A burning candle marks the spot where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered on the altar steps in 1170, and expert guides are on hand for one-hour tours. 
 
Canterbury Heritage Museum (c) Visit Canterbury
 
On the drive out of town, be sure to stop by the 14-century Canterbury Heritage Museum (Stour Street, Canterbury CT1 2NR, 0122 747 5202, http://www.canterbury.co.uk) for a healthy dose of the area’s history, ranging from Anglo-Saxon artefacts to local celebrities. Built in 1373, the timber-lined structure initially offered refuge to needy medieval priests, before being eventually converted into an ambulance base during WWII. It’s also a great spot for kids: the original electric-pink cat from popular TV show ‘Bagpuss’ sits on display, and there’s a popular section devoted entirely to Canterbury creation Rupert Bear. 
 
Whether you’re exploring local history, taking in magnificent architectural designs, or hunting down regional delicacies, Canterbury offers a perfect day’s excursion. Just hop in your Zipcar and you’ll be there before you know it. 
 
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