You’ve probably already visited Canterbury, or known someone who has. After all, it’s one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations and for good reason – the city has a lot to offer visitors. But have you ever considered living and studying there? You should.

Canterbury is one of England’s oldest and most exciting cities, and it’s an attractive place for any young person. Or at least, the estimated 31,000 students who live there think so. It’s got one of the highest student/resident ratios in the country (22% of the population are students!) and it’s easy to see why. Just an hour from London and full of history, culture, and amazing nightlife, it’s the perfect place to be a student.


Of course, a student’s main concern when choosing a university (apart from where their mates are going and whether they’ll be able to make pasta without setting themselves on fire) is where they’re going to live. No one wants to end up in a pokey dorm or a mouldy basement flat. Luckily, in Canterbury, the accommodation is of a bit higher standard than that!

Both the University of Kent (UKC) and Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) offer student accommodation. This ranges from housing on campus to buildings set aside for student residents around the city. Living in halls of residence is a good way to settle in if it’s your first time away from home and helps you make friends with your fellow students – not least because you can all unite in moaning about the state of the kitchen! And some of Canterbury’s students may soon be living in halls with a bit of a difference - CCCU bought the city’s old prison in 2014 with the intention of making it into student accommodation.

If living in a jail cell doesn’t appeal to you, or you’ve spent your first year in halls and want to move out with your mates into private accommodation, there are options for students all over the city. Canterbury isn’t too expensive as student cities go – a decent flatshare will cost around £80/90 per person per week, which is relatively cheap compared to cities like Glasgow and Manchester. Looking for student lets in Canterbury? – get started here.

The students of each university tend to congregate in separate areas around the city. UKC students gravitate towards Hale’s Place (affectionately nicknames Hell’s Place), which is a friendly if rowdy area of the city. There’s an Asda close by and great bus links throughout the city. Those UKC students who value a good night’s sleep over a banging house party are more likely to opt for the quieter St Dunstan’s area.

CCCU students are more spread out around Canterbury, although the largest population are enticed to Wincheap by the promise of low rents near the town centre. Old Dover Road and New Dover Road are also popular areas, although not quite as inexpensive as Wincheap.

As a city, Canterbury is relatively small, which is great because it means that you don’t have to fork out a tenner on taxi fare every evening. It also means that all the urban student accommodation is relatively close, so if you choose not to live in one of the more rural surrounding areas then you’re sure to be close to the action.


The two main universities in the city – Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) and The University of Kent at Canterbury (UKC) – each have their own merits to recommend them.

Canterbury Christ Church University - 101 in the national university rankings in 2016.

CCCU has only recently been awarded full university status, in 2005 – however, it’s risen in the ranks since then and has famous alumni such as children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean and BAFTA award winning film director Joel Hopkins. CCCU’s campus is in the city centre so you won’t have an excuse for being late to class after a big night out! The university is best known for their public service courses, with many of their graduates specialising in teacher training, emergency services, social care and law enforcement.

Kent University Student Ranking – 16 in national university rankings in 2016

UKC’s main campus is a short bus ride away from the city centre, but because of how compact Canterbury is, you’re never too far away from a bus stop. (So no excuse for students from either university to miss a class!) The student population is very diverse, with 22% coming from outside the UK and 128 nationalities currently represented. It’s easy to see why students come from far and wide to study there - in 2016, The Guardian gave UKC a spot in the top twenty universities of the UK, coming in at number 16. It’s also scored highly on the world rankings, consistently being included in the top 50 over the last few years. UKC also regularly scores over 90% in the National Student Survey, which students fill out to show how happy they are with their academics, support, and student community.

Nightlife In Canterbury

Canterbury, like many places in the UK, is more of a pub-city than a club-city. However, there are numerous gems in each category if you know where to look.

One of the best options for a night out in any city is the student union club. UKC has their own student nightclub called the Venue, which holds typical student evenings, such as a Cops’n’Robbers theme, silent discos, and occasionally even has special guests.

 If you fancy getting away from campus to let your hair down, then there’s always the nightclubs scattered around the town. Chill is a popular student haunt, with low entrance fees and thumping dubstep and hiphop tunes inside.

Club Chemistry, which has three floors (which is known by a different name to almost every student who visits it) holds a student night on a Monday and it would be a crime to go anywhere else.

The universities also have individual student union bars – Mungo’s at UKC is a good place to crash with a beer and play a selection of the X-Box games on offer, and the Lounge at CCCU is the perfect place to unwind with a pint after a difficult lecture.

There are also numerous pubs in Canterbury itself. Town folklore is that there are 366 pubs throughout the city, enough to visit a different one every day for a year (even on a Leap Year!) but this remains to be proven. Out of them all, The Penny Theatre is a favourite of students, particularly because of their drinks special on Thursdays – although they’re not outrageously expensive any other day of the week either! If you don’t fancy The Penny, The Cherry Tree also runs a drinks special on the same day, and has the added bonus of outside seating in case of the rare event of British sunshine. Lady Luck is the place for cocktail lovers – and of course, there’s always Wetherspoons on the high street.

Other things to do in Canterbury

And there’s plenty of things other than nightlife to do in Canterbury. The famous playwright Christopher Marlowe was from the city and there’s still a lively theatre culture there today. The most popular venue, the Marlowe Theatre, has student deals on tickets so that seeing a play won’t break your budget. If you fancy seeing (or performing!) a bit of comedy, Mungo’s at UKC have an amateur standup night called Moonshine.

For more professional fare, head to The Gulbenkian at UKC for film or cinema showings, especially foreign or indie films that might not be available in mainstream cinemas.

Canterbury is a great place for history buffs – the cobbled streets and old-fashioned buildings will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, and the city is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its important historical ruins such as St Augustine’s Abbey and Canterbury Castle. This makes Canterbury the perfect place to assure visiting parents that you’re getting some culture in between the lectures and parties!


Sport (especially cricket) is popular in Canterbury, with student teams playing regularly if you want to catch a match. And if you want to supplement your student loan, the tourism trade is huge in Canterbury which means you’ll never want for a couple of quid as there are always jobs on offer in the pubs and restaurants.

Shopping in Canterbury

Shopping is also a pastime you can indulge to your heart’s content in Canterbury. The High Street is filled with the typical shops found in any British city – Topshop, Zara, Waterstones, and many others. There are various cheap cafes and restaurants to grab a bite and rest your feet in between purchases, including chains such as Subway and Costa. There’s also a shopping centre, Whitefriars, which offers cheap fashion fixes like Primark and homewares from Tiger.

Despite being a small city, Canterbury is an amazing place to go to study and live. Looking to move to Canterbury? Campuslet offers great value accommodation and will guide you when moving into your new Canterbury home. Get your student accommodation in Canterbury here.