City of Canterbury
Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury shown within Kent
Canterbury shown within Kent
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionSouth East England
Non-metropolitan countyKent
StatusNon-metropolitan district, Borough, City
Admin HQCanterbury
Incorporated1 April 1974
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district council
 • BodyCanterbury City Council
 • LeadershipCommittee system, Ben Fitter-Harding (Conservative)
 • MPsRosie Duffield
Roger Gale
 • Total119.24 sq mi (308.84 km2)
 • Rank131st (of 309)
 (mid-2019 est.)
 • Total165,394
 • Rank118th (of 309)
 • Density1,400/sq mi (540/km2)
 • Ethnicity
93.4% White
2.2% S.Asian
1.6% Chinese and other
1.4% Mixed Race
Time zoneUTC0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code29UC (ONS)
E07000106 (GSS)
OS grid referenceTR145575
Click the map for an interactive fullscreen view

The City of Canterbury (/ˈkæntərbəri/)[1] is a local government district with city status in Kent, England. As well as Canterbury itself, the district extends north to the coastal towns of Whistable and Herne Bay.


The district was formed on 1 April 1974 by the merger of the existing city of Canterbury with the Whitstable and Herne Bay Urban Districts, and Bridge-Blean Rural District. The latter district entirely surrounded the city; the urban districts occupied the coastal area to the north.


Canterbury City Council
Canterbury City Council.svg
Founded1 April 1974
Anne Dekker,
since 18 May 2022
Ben Fitter-Harding,
since 10 September 2020[2]
United Kingdom Canterbury City Council 2019.svg
Political groups
  Conservative (22)
  Labour (9)
  Liberal Democrats (6)
  Green (1)
Last election
2 May 2019
Next election
Meeting place
Canterbury, Guildhall (geograph 2640859).jpg
Canterbury Guildhall (formerly the Church of the Holy Cross)

See also: Canterbury local elections

Elections for to all seats on the city council are held every four years. After being under no overall control for a number of years, the Conservative party gained a majority in 2005 following a by election and defection from the Liberal Democrats.

Following the 2019 United Kingdom local elections the political composition of Canterbury council is as follows (2017 results follows by-elections):[3]

Year Conservative Labour Party Liberal Democrat UKIP
2019 23 10 6 0
2017 30 4 3 2

Meeting place

After the Church of the Holy Cross, which was commissioned by Archbishop Simon Sudbury and completed before his death in 1381,[4][5] was declared redundant and de-consecrated in 1972, it was acquired by the city council and converted for municipal use: it was officially re-opened by the Prince of Wales as the new Canterbury Guildhall and meeting place of the city council on 9 November 1978.[6]


Within the district are the towns of Herne Bay and Whitstable, which, with the rural parishes and the cathedral city itself, make up the district of the City of Canterbury. There are 26 parishes within the district, as follows:[7]

Swalecliffe is an unparished area within the district.

The district is largely rural, with a coastal strip taken up by the almost unbroken spread of seaside towns and beaches from Seasalter, west of Whitstable, to Herne Bay. Between them and the city the hills rise into the wooded area of Blean, south of which the Great Stour flows from its source beyond Ashford.

Twin towns

The district participates in the Sister Cities programme, with links[8] to Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, and Vladimir, Russia.

The Three Towns Association was founded in 1985 on the initiative of three local clergymen to promote person-to-person contact between ordinary people in the UK, the U.S. and Russia. The name was subsequently changed to the Three Cities Association. The Association chose Vladimir as the twin city in Russia because it is the seat of Christianity in that country as Canterbury is the seat of Christianity in England. Vladimir was already twinned with Bloomington-Normal. Among other activities, the Association arranged home-stay exchanges between the two Simon Langton Schools in Canterbury and School No. 23 in Vladimir, where the teaching was conducted in English.

Several towns and villages within the City of Canterbury have their own twinning arrangements:[8] see the articles on Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay.


  1. ^ "Canterbury". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Ben Fitter-Harding". Canterbury City Council. Retrieved 27 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Declaration of result of poll - Canterbury - Election of a City Councillor for Reculver on 5 May 2016" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 August 2016.
  4. ^ Bax, Stephen (2000). "Canterbury buildings". Westgate Tower. Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Church of the Holy Cross, Canterbury (1241661)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 November 2020.
  6. ^ "Remember Prince is Freeman of City". Kentish Gazette. 14 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Parish Councils". Canterbury City Council. 2008. Archived from the original on 15 August 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Twinning contacts". Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2012.

Coordinates: 51°17′N 1°05′E / 51.28°N 1.08°E / 51.28; 1.08