Canterbury Bid

Canterbury in Bloom

Canterbury in Bloom - because we love our city

First impressions are important and ensuring everyone has a positive lasting impression of our city is high on our agenda. Research shows that places that are attractive, well maintained and which demonstrate a ‘spirit of community’ do better than those that don’t. Indeed, the ‘dwell time’ in Canterbury is already longer than for comparable places and the average spend slightly higher: Bloom makes this gap wider with people spending longer here and spending more. An improved environment brings more customers and revenues, and less graffiti and vandalism. 

Building on the foundations established since 2012, we continue to use Bloom to achieve a number of key objectives:

  • Community cohesion and development: by bringing businesses, residents and students together on a common platform
  • Commercial growth: the city is at the heart of a strong horticultural and agricultural community. We will use Bloom to both celebrate, develop and exploit this for the benefit of local businesses
  • Visitor attraction and retention: by presenting the city as a centre of Bloom excellence we will enhance the visitor experience, the value of overnight stays and the reputation of the city nationally and internationally
  • Sustainability: by developing initiatives that focus on ‘local’, ‘micro’ and ‘community’ under the Bloom banner, we will position the city as a leading edge ‘place’ that is working to find new ways to operate and live in the future.

Each year, thousands of people visit and enjoy the beauty of the River Stour, the second longest waterway in Kent and once a key Roman trade route connecting Britain to Europe. People picnic along its banks, rejoice in a relaxing river tour or walk along the footpaths that offer glimpses of the river.

The City of Canterbury has many great attractions, from St Augustine’s Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral to the award-winning Westgate Gardens. However, one of its greatest jewels meanders silently through the city centre while providing space for nature and people. It’s appreciated by many but celebrated and cared for by only a few. The jewel in question? The Great Stour River.

Thanks to Canterbury’s devoted local communities and their passion for promoting and protecting this asset, the inaugural Great Stour RiverFest took place on Monday 18 to Sunday 24 September 2023 . On the final day of the festival, we also celebrated World Rivers Day! It was a week of wonderful Stour-related events aimed at celebrating its historical, cultural and environmental interests.

Canterbury’s Wild Stour Guide and Trail! 

In celebration of the River Stour we have created a new guide to the Great River Stour, with contributions from the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership, the Canterbury Society and St Peter’s Methodist School. The Trail Guide allows you to discover the amazing green spaces along Canterbury’s riverside. Photos courtesy of Martyn Barr, Nicola Crockford, Beverley Paton & Simon Pettman and background mapping provided by Clarity Interpretation.

Hanging Baskets

Canterbury BID supplies 350-400 hanging baskets to businesses within the BID area from June to September, which are installed, maintained and watered by our contractor Windowflowers Ltd. This equates to 1 million flowers displayed across the city.

Award-Winning City in Bloom

Our goal has always been to develop relationships across the city between the wide variety of groups engaged in supporting their community in a number of ways associated with horticulture, biodiversity and the environment. While making improvements to the city we also forge partnerships that enable all of us to work together better on a wide range of other issues that help our businesses, our residents, our students and enable visitors to enjoy the city.

Canterbury has taken part in the South & South East in Bloom (S&SEiB) regional competition since 2012 and in 2015 we were awarded its first Gold in South & South East in Bloom (S&SEiB). Canterbury was subsequently nominated to take part in the Britain in Bloom UK Finals in 2016, which are organised by the RHS. The Finals involve the highest achieving communities across the UK and we were delighted to be awarded Gold for its outstanding commitment to environmental responsibility, community participation and gardening achievement.

South and South East in Bloom

  • 2022 – Awarded Gold
  • 2021 – Awarded Gold
  • 2020 – Awarded Gold
  • 2019 – Awarded Gold
  • 2017 – Awarded Gold
  • 2016 – Awarded Gold
  • 2015 – Awarded Gold
  • 2013 – Awarded Silver Gilt
  • 2012 – Awarded Silver

Britain In Bloom

  • 2022 – Awarded Silver Gilt
  • 2020 – Certificate of recognition
  • 2017 – Awarded Gold
  • 2016 – Awarded Gold

Canterbury in Bloom Portfolios

Canterbury in Bloom 2022 PortfolioCanterbury in Bloom 2017 Portfolio
Canterbury in Bloom 2021 PortfolioCanterbury in Bloom 2016 Portfolio
Canterbury in Bloom 2020 PortfolioCanterbury in Bloom 2015 Portfolio
Canterbury in Bloom 2019 Portfolio

Previous Projects

Business Engagement 2022

In June we hosted a netwalking litter pick. 35 business members managed to collect just shy of 10,000 items in less than an hour!

This was the first year that four business get involved in the competition with their own entries in the regional awards:

Heritage Park/GardenThe Franciscan GardensSilver Gilt
Walled GardenThe Franciscan GardensSilver Gilt
Restaurant GardenCafe St. PierreSilver
Restaurant GardenNo.35 CaféSilver Gilt
Restaurant GardenCafé du SoleilGold & Winner

Huge congratulations to St Martin’s Church, who were also awarded a Silver Gilt in the Churchyard category, and to The Oaten Hill & South Canterbury Association who were awarded Advancing status for their work at the Canterbury Fire Station, Thriving status for their work in St George’s Garden, and Outstanding status for their work at Milton Road in the RHS Its Your Neighbourhood competition.

Canterbury’s Nature – lost Words Project 2019

Canterbury’s Nature – The Lost Words’ was an environmental education project for children aged 4 to 11. It provided a series of 7 workshops to help children connect with the nature & wildlife in their local communities, using the ‘Lost Words’ book as a source of visual and poetic inspiration. Read more by clicking here.

Canterbury’s Green Heritage Conference 2018

On Saturday 6 October 2018 Canterbury Connected BID hosted the Green Heritage Conference.The aim was to raise the profile of green heritage as an integral part of local strategies and increase partnership working across the Business Improvement District (BID) which includes local businesses, the city and county councils, the universities, residents and community groups. Read more by clicking here.

Canterbury Safari Guide 2017

The theme for the 2017 Britain in Bloom competition was biodiversity and so we thought it would be fun to produce a leaflet telling everyone about the amazing flora and fauna we have right here in the city centre.

Download a copy of the leaflet here: A Canterbury Safari