The King’s Mile

The King’s Mile is a beautiful area of Canterbury, nestled beneath the spires of the cathedral and steeped in history and character.  Set back from the main High Street, you will find a plethora of independent shops and eateries which really celebrate some of the best businesses in the city.  A visit to Canterbury would not be complete without a stroll down the King’s Mile and a perusal of the shops which line these cobbled streets.

History behind the King’s Mile

This creative quarter is named after King Henry II’s infamous walk of penance on 12th July 1174 following the murder of the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. Seeking forgiveness, he walked in a sackcloth and ashes to Canterbury Cathedral and made for Becket’s tomb where he ordered the monks to whip him.

There are many historical buildings which line the King’s Mile, including Conquest House, a beautiful timber framed building which was reputed to have been the place where four knights, Reginald Fitzurse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy and Richard Le Breton met to plan the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170.

At the end of Palace Street is the Crooked House which inspired a passage in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield: “A very old house bulging over the road…leaning forward, trying to see who was passing on the narrow pavement below…” The skewed building almost defies gravity and it looks like it is about to tumble over but rest assured that it is now held in place by a steel framework!  This incredible building is now home to a wonderful second-hand bookshop Called Catching Lives, which raises money for the homeless and vulnerably housed.

If you wish to learn more, why not book a walking tour with Canterbury Guided Tours – an excellent way to discover all that Canterbury has to offer whilst soaking up the history along the way.  Don’t forget that all our guests receive 15% off a walking tour as part of our collaboration with them!


The King’s Mile is full of wonderful shops which are well worth a perusal during your stay in the city.  There are a number of jewellers which specialise in handcrafted and bespoke pieces, as well as a good selection of glass, ceramics and interior design shops.  Lilford Gallery can be found half-way down Palace Street, displaying works from famous artists such as Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

Other shops of interest include a fantastic Fairtrade shop, a traditional toyshop and a number of barbers and beauty salons.

Food and Drink

Interspersed between this varied range of shops, there are lots of different eateries to choose from. Whether you fancy a traditional pub, a small café, an established restaurant or a cocktail bar, there is something for everyone.  Ranging from sushi restaurants and gluten free specialists to chocolate cafes and Bangladeshi fare, you will find a wide choice of cuisines to suit all tastes on the King’s Mile.

Property by Polygon provides self-catering holiday lets in Canterbury City Centre.

Book now with Property by Polygon and make sure you visit the King’s Mile for a unique culinary and retail experience.