Canterbury City, renowned for its cathedrals, is home to 3 universities and just 151,000 people, making it a notional student city.


Canterbury, England (South East)

Population: 151,000

University students: 27,832 (18.4%)


Kent, Canterbury Christ Church, University for the Creative Arts

Canterbury Cathedral

A student city for the tourists

Students are drawn to Canterbury City for the study opportunities rather than the ancient ruins, as interesting as they may be.Roman church ruins in CanterburyAlthough Canterbury is the home base for three universities, there is surprisingly little student life in the city itself. Students often socialise on campus rather than meeting up in the cathedral city.

Canterbury is famous for its buildings and ruins. The city skyline is dominated by a stunning cathedral, the oldest in England. Other heritage listings are the ancient ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church. The city's landmarks and other attractions draw more than a million tourists every year.

The city of 151,000 people has three universities with a combined enrolment of close to 50,000 students. However, university campuses spread across the Kent region and beyond. Cambridge's close proximity to other cities also allows students to commute daily. So fewer than 30,000 students actually reside at Cambridge or nearby campuses.

1. Geography and climate

Canterbury is in east Kent, about 55 miles east of London. The city is on the River Stour, which divides south east of the city, one branch flowing though the city and the other around the former city walls. The coastal towns of Herne Bay and Whitstable are within 6 miles.

Kent is one of the warmest parts of Britain. Temperatures range from an average minimum of 6.6°C (43.9°F) to an average maximum of 14.1°C (57.4°F).

2. Accommodation

The universities provide accommodation mainly for first-year students. The Canterbury campus of Kent University houses around 4,700 students in college halls, flats and houses. Most university accommodation costs upwards of £4,000 per year.

Students not taking up university accommodation either commute or find private accommodation in Canterbury - usually share houses.

3. Transport

The Canterbury campuses of the universities are generally close to the city centre, allowing students to walk between the city and classes or take a short bus ride. Cycling is also an option, though there are few dedicated bike paths.

Canterbury is well-served by buses, which terminate at the main bus station at the end of the high street. Buses travel to most destinations in East Kent. Park and ride facilities allow motorists to park outside the city and take a bus into town.

Canterbury has two train stations close to the city centre. Travelling from Canterbury to London normally takes up to two hours but there is also a high-speed service under one hour. The nearest major international airports to Canterbury are London Gatwick (66 miles) and London Heathrow (91 miles).

4. Attractions

Tourists rather than students occupy most of the many bars in Canterbury City.Streets of Canterbury CityCanterbury's famous landmarks and its museums and galleries draw large numbers of tourists every year. The city's appeal is boosted by the surrounding countryside, which is scenic, contains coastal stretches and has ancient villages and other points of interest.

The city is able to support numerous restaurants, cafés, bars and shops. For students, there are some student-friendly pubs among a large selection inside the city walls.

Many of highlight events for students happen on university campuses, including music acts and themed nights with discount prices. The University of Kent's campus offers student accommodation, a library, sports centre, theatre, music performance centre, nightclub, cinema, places to eat, bars, shops, a bookshop, medical centre, day nursery, public access computer rooms, a chapel and launderettes.

5. Recreation and sport

University students of Canterbury City can do sport and an assortment of other activities on campus.Varsity rugby, Canterbury Christ Church UniversityWalking and cycling are popular ways of experiencing the East Kent countryside and there are many trails along the coastline. Students can participate in wide-ranging sports activities using university-provided facilities.

St Lawrence Ground is the home ground of Kent County Cricket Club and has hosted several one day internationals. It is also notable as one of only two first-class cricket grounds with a tree inside the boundary. Canterbury Hockey Club is one of the largest clubs in the country and the men's and women's teams both compete in the England Hockey League.

6. Universities

The University of Kent has its main campus close to the centre of Cambridge, allowing students to walk to and from the city.University of Kent Canterbury - Templeman LibraryThe University of Kent has five campus sites around Cambridge and a further four elsewhere in Kent. It has just over 20,000 students. The university has an overall course satisfaction rating of 4.3 / 5.0. For undergraduate international students, the standard tuition fee is £11,625 for the study year.

Canterbury Christ Church University was founded as a teacher training college and offers 19,000 students (across all campuses) degrees in Arts and Humanities, Education, Health and Social Care, Social and Applied Sciences. It also has a course satisfaction rating of 1.9 / 5.0. Tuition fees for international students are around £9,710.

University College for the Creative Arts is the oldest higher-education institution in the city, having been founded in 1882 as the School of Art. It is a specialist university with 8,000 students studying art, design, architecture, media and communication. Course satisfaction is statistically low among students compared to other UK universities, with a score of 0.1 / 5.0.