If you’re running out of ideas during lockdown and fancy seeing something new (well old mostly) there are many free walking trails and parks you can enjoy whilst socially distancing and being outdoors. Better yet you will emerse yourself in the history of Canterbury and learn about its past as well as experience and practice great mindfulness in the process.

Here are a few examples of trails and parks you can enjoy with the current lockdown restrictions:

Walking the Marlowe Trail.

  • The Marlowe trail is 1.6 miles long as is consisted of several building and hotspots around the city centre that were in some way connected to Christopher Marlowe. The map itself can be found here and highlights include his former school and house. You will literally walk his daily route and through streets he would’ve been very familiar with. The useful map also includes insights for each hotspot with a little piece of history. Due to Lockdown however you will need to skip stop 3 (the Cathedral archives) but this is accounted for in the map. The total distance is 1.6 miles.

Canterbury Sculpture Trail

  • This free outdoor trail combines art and historic open spaces in Canterbury. It includes public art, parks and gardens and also the riverside on the walk so is a great all in one if you want to explore the city. It starts at Lady Wootten’s Greem and finishes at Greyfriars Garden and highlights include sculptures by Stephen Melton and Richard Jones. It is a total of 3.2 miles long which should take about an hour and thirty minutes. The map can be found here

Queen Bertha’s Walk

  • This walk links the three places in Canterbury’s World Heritage Site – the Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martin’s Church and was established to commemorate the 1400th anniversary of the arrival of St Augustine in 597. In 597, St Augustine arrived in England to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity and many modern description of his mission mentions Queen Bertha of Kent. She is known as an enigma in history and you can discover more about her on this link
  • There is no set route for this trial and some parts may be closed due to covid restrictions however the basic information guide is available here

Dane John gardens

  • Dane John Gardens is a historic park within Canterbury city’s walls which dates back to 1551. It features a mound dating back to 1 AD which boasts a monument commemorating Alderman James Simmons’ gift of the gardens to the people of Canterbury as well as a great view of the city and wall. The garden is home to an avenue of lime tress, a bandstand, safe play area and a fountain. In 1999, the City Council completed a million pound renovation of the park supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and local sponsorship.
  • The gardens are located by the bus station.

Hambrook Marshes

  • Hambrook Marshes an open space in Canterbury which hosts a wide range of wildlife including rare birds, plants and insects and sometimes even cattle grazing. Hambrook Marshes is owned and maintained by Love Hambrook Marshes Trust and is open all the time.
  • The fields that border the river were once a 40 foot deep quarry filled with gravel and sand. These materials were excavated and used to build the road that now by-passes Canterbury.  Throughout the quarry there a signs detailing the history of the Marshes on its footpaths, cycle paths and board walks as well as the disused railway.