RESULTS: The definitive top 10 pub gardens in Canterbury

The Old City garden

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend and the sun’s out. The British pub garden just came into its own.

But where is the definitive best place to head to in Canterbury? There are some great pub gardens to be found so we asked you to vote for your favourite. More than 200 people took part. Here are the results:

10) The Bishop’s Finger

Located in St Dunstan’s, this 16th century pub isn’t just cosy in the winter, it’s also fabulous in the summer. It has a great patio area complete with outdoor TV for sport in the covered section and heaters for when the temperature drops.

Smokers love this pub as there probably isn’t a better outdoor smoking area when it’s chilly. There’s no grassed area though.

9) The Unicorn

Coming in slightly lower than expected, the Unicorn is one of Canterbury’s hidden treasures. Also in St Dunstan’s, the garden is well presented with some interesting decorative features and three covered areas surrounding the lawn.

Another 16th century building, The Unicorn has reputedly been operating as a pub since around 1650. Or to put it another way, since the English Civil War. You could be downing an ale in the same place as a Cavalier or a Roundhead did all those years ago. As if you need an excuse for another one…

Pub gardens are the best of British

8) The White Hart

Once a winner of pub garden of the year, The White Hart garden has seen slightly better days, but is still a smashing place to enjoy the sun.

There’s a large decked area and a sizeable lawn, plenty of tables and you may find it easier to get a seat than some of the more central locations.

7) The Lady Luck

This is a pub with a cult following. A self-proclaimed rock and roll pub, it has a quaint courtyard and a jukebox with some of the best rock ‘n’ roll, punk and metal songs out there.

Despite looking a little scary, the atmosphere is actually really friendly. It’s also open a bit later than some other nearby establishments – although the garden may close earlier.

6) The Penny Theatre

A favourite student haunt and a top venue for live music, the Penny has a decent sized patio garden with a good number of tables.

It isn’t the prettiest, and it’s not going to win any awards for its floristry or botany, but people voted for it because they like going there. And that tells you something.

The legendary bat and trap

5) Ye Olde Beverlie

From the modern to the ancient. One of the most traditional pub gardens in the city, the Bev is located near St Stephen’s church across from Beverley Meadow.

Although it’s only a five-minute walk from Canterbury West, it’s often perceived as being a bit on the outskirts so it can be a quieter choice if everywhere else is heaving.

Best of all, it’s home to the most Kentish of games, Bat and Trap. If you’ve never played you’ve missed out. Google it.

4) Tyler’s Kiln

Arguably not quite in Canterbury, the Tyler’s Kiln sits a few minutes’ walk away from the University of Kent campus in Tyler Hill.

The pub recently underwent a huge refurb. The garden is full of gadgets which will keep anyone entertained who enjoys pressing buttons (let’s be honest, that’s most blokes). It has electronic retractable covers for each individual table, plus each table has its own overhead heater and an under-table heater for keeping your legs warm. How cool is that?

3) The Parrot

Possibly the oldest pub in Canterbury, the Parrot is the epitome of a Canterbury courtyard pub garden.

The garden is surrounded on all sides by historic architecture and has been beautifully designed with tables at different levels, nestled into crooks in the walls. This is a pub garden not to be missed.

2) The Old City Bar

There are so many reasons to visit the Old City that we can’t list them all. But we’ll have go. Large garden, plenty of tables, well-kept lawn, table football, great food, ever-popular with locals, and probably the best garden to be in if there’s a sporting event on.

The Old City can be found in the area behind the old Odeon cinema. It’s outside the centre of town so not everyone knows it’s there. It’s also a firm favourite for after a day at the cricket. Go there.

1) The Dolphin

The people of Canterbury have spoken and Canterbury’s favourite pub garden is the Dolphin, claiming over 40% of the vote.

By far the largest of the city centre pub gardens, the Dolphin garden is immaculately presented, with a huge amount of seating.

It gets the sun right into the evening, so it really is the place to make the most of the good weather.

But be warned. This pub gets busy. Get there early to avoid disappointment.


  1. The Parrot does indeed have a lovely courtyard garden but since it’s only been a pub for c.30 years, when Simple Simon’s replaced Radigund’s Restaurant in the late 1980s, it can hardly be described as “possibly the oldest pub in Canterbury.” A very old building though, which was variously a school, a social club and part of Canterbury College in the 50 or so years before Mike Patten opened Simple Simon’s.
    I wonder which is the oldest pub (surely best defined as continuously open/trading as licensed premises) in Canterbury? I don’t know for sure but the Olde Beverlie, Unicorn, or Maiden’s Head must be up there somewhere.


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