Canterbury is renowned for its stunning cathedral, charming medieval streets, and rich cultural heritage. During the festive season, the city comes alive with the Christmas market, where locals and tourists alike can revel in a traditional holiday experience.
In this guide, I’ll share everything you’ll need to know about the Canterbury Christmas Market, including confirmed 2023 dates, opening times, locations and local specialties.
Christmas in Canterbury is a time when the city’s historic charm is accentuated by festive decorations and seasonal events.
The renowned Canterbury Cathedral hosts special services and concerts, creating a spiritual and celebratory atmosphere.
Canterbury Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market in Canterbury provides an enchanting experience with more than 70 traditional wooden chalets selling festive gifts, crafts, and seasonal treats.
Among the highlights is Santa’s Grotto, a magical place for children to meet Santa Claus and receive a Christmas gift.
A highlight for adults is the locally produced Kentish ales and gins, which draw appreciative crowds.
Dates and Location
Canterbury Christmas Market dates: 10th November to 27th December 2023.
Location: Whitefriars Canterbury, Gravel Walk.
Opening times: Monday to Friday: 10am to 6pm Saturday: 9am to 6pm. Sunday: 10am to 5pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 10th November 2023.
Santa: Yes. Santa’s Grotto bookings open 16th September. Book online.
Ice skating: Yes, at Dane John Gardens.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten-free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Artisan crafts, local Kentish ales and gins, amidst historic cathedral backdrop; distinct Canterbury allure.
Recommended tour: Guided walking tour of Canterbury.
Specialities: Kentish ales, local gins, artisan cheeses, handcrafted chocolates, traditional Christmas puddings, fruit mince pies.
Where to stay: Number 8 is a highly-rated hotel, 3-minutes from the Christmas markets.
Hotels near Canterbury Christmas Market
Anywhere near the King’s Mile and Canterbury Cathedral would be the ideal place for accommodation in Canterbury. This vibrant area provides immediate access to the festivities while also being close to major city attractions and museums.
I strongly recommend Number 8, a popular, eco-friendly hotel conveniently situated near the heart of the Christmas market action.
Read my list of the best UK Christmas markets, where you can discover other places to visit this winter.
Location of Canterbury Christmas Market
Christmas in Canterbury
Food at the Christmas Market
Kentish Ales and Gins: Brewed locally, Kent is known for its ales and gins, which make for a warming festive treat. You’ll find a variety of flavours and strengths to suit all tastes at the Christmas market.
Roasted Chestnuts: A Christmas market staple, roasted chestnuts are cooked over an open fire, and their sweet, nutty aroma wafts through the air. A bag of these warm, peeled chestnuts is a perfect hand-held snack while you explore the market.
Hot Chocolate: There’s nothing quite like a cup of rich, warm hot chocolate to combat the winter chill. Many stalls serve this beloved drink, often with whipped cream and marshmallows on top.
Gingerbread: You’ll find stalls with beautifully decorated gingerbread at the Christmas markets in Canterbury. These spicy, sweet biscuits are often crafted into festive shapes and can be enjoyed as a treat or used as a quirky decoration.
Hog Roast Rolls: A traditional British street food, hog roast rolls are filled with tender, slow-roasted pork, crispy crackling, stuffing, and apple sauce. It’s a hearty snack that’s ideal for a cold winter day.
German Bratwurst: An international Christmas market favourite, German bratwurst sausages are often served in a bun with mustard or ketchup. They provide a savoury and satisfying bite while you meander through the market stalls.
Toffee Apples: These are apples coated in a hard shell of glossy toffee, often sold on a stick for easy eating. This classic sweet treat is a delightful mix of tart, fresh apple and sweet, crunchy caramel.
What to Buy
Local Crafts: Canterbury Christmas Market houses numerous stalls selling handmade crafts from local artisans. These unique gifts can range from wooden toys and decorations to hand-knit scarves and hats; all imbued with a touch of Canterbury.
Kentish Ales and Gins: Bottles of locally brewed ales and gins make perfect presents for the alcohol connoisseur in your life. They represent a taste of Canterbury and the wider Kent region.
Canterbury Cathedral Gifts: The market is full of items related to the iconic Canterbury Cathedral. There are art prints, postcards, and other souvenirs that pay homage to this historic landmark.
Local Art: Art stalls showcase work by talented artists from the Canterbury area. Paintings, prints, and photographs depicting local scenes offer a lasting memory of your visit.
Traditional Christmas Decorations: Various stalls carry an array of Christmas decorations. Handcrafted ornaments, unique baubles, and festive wreaths provide a festive touch to any home decor.
Gourmet Food Products: You’ll find stalls selling local cheeses, artisan chocolates, and jars of homemade chutneys, jams, and honey. These gourmet items make for delightful gifts, especially for food enthusiasts.
Jewellery: There are stalls selling unique and handcrafted jewellery. From silver earrings to beaded bracelets and necklaces, these pieces of jewellery are one-of-a-kind gifts.
Handmade Candles: A variety of handmade candles are available at the Canterbury Christmas Market. These often come in festive scents like cinnamon, spruce, and vanilla, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere at home.
For more travel information, I highly recommend exploring Visit Canterbury; it’s a resourceful online portal with a wealth of information for visitors navigating Canterbury. Here is their page on the latest Christmas events in Canterbury.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Canterbury at Christmas.
Renewable Energy: I urge you to stay at accommodations that use renewable energy sources. In Canterbury, numerous hotels and guesthouses utilise solar power, providing an eco-friendly stay without compromising on comfort.
Reduce Food Waste: At the Canterbury Christmas Market, try to only buy as much food as you can reasonably eat. Many food stalls source their ingredients locally, and by not wasting food, you support these sustainable practices.
Ethical Consumption: Consider shopping from artisans at the market who use recycled or sustainably sourced materials. By doing so, you help to support a local economy based on ethical and sustainable principles.
Sustainable Diets: Opt for vegetarian or vegan options at the market stalls whenever possible. The Canterbury Christmas Market features an array of plant-based food stalls, reducing the environmental impact of your festive feasting.
Sustainable Transport: Use Canterbury’s excellent public transport system, hire a bike, or explore on foot instead of using a car. With its compact city centre, Canterbury is perfect for walking or cycling, reducing your carbon footprint while you enjoy the historic sights.
The Canterbury Christmas Market dates start on the 10th of November to 27th of December 2023.
The Canterbury Christmas Market is held in the city centre, particularly around Whitefriars Shopping Centre and the surrounding streets.
The Canterbury Christmas Market generally opens around 10am to 6pm each day.
If you want to leave a Canterbury Xmas Market review, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Canterbury, United Kingdom. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.