Canterbury Vacations, Tours, Travel Packages & Experiences
Canterbury is one of the most attractive historic cities in England. A highlight is Canterbury Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Anglican Church in the UK. It is 236 feet tall at the highest point and has stunning architecture ranging from Norman to Romanesque and Gothic. Certain parts date from the 11th Century. The Cathedral Archives holds a wealth of manuscripts, photos, maps and other records which date back as far as the 8th Century AD. It is also the site of English history’s most famous murder: Archbishop Thomas Becket was assassinated here in 1170. It is marked by a flickering candle and a striking modern altar. The cathedral is full of monuments commemorating the nation’s battles including the grave and heraldic tunic of one of England’s most famous warriors, Edward the Black Prince (1330–76). The doorway to the crypt is beside the altar. This is the cathedral’s only survivor from the cathedral’s last devastating fire in 1174, which destroyed the rest of the building.
The city has an attractive medieval centre and Canterbury Castle is the ruins of a Norman castle built in the 11th Century. Westgate Towers is one of the main gates to the ancient walled city and, at nearly 640 years old, is England’s largest medieval gateway. In the heart of the city is Eastbridge Hospital, a former pilgrims’ hostel with incredible architecture dating from 1190 AD. Going back even further still, the ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey date back to 613 AD. When the abbey was founded, it marked the rebirth of Christianity in southern England.
“Canterbury Tales” is an exhibit in St. Margaret’s Church which is a reconstruction of 14th Century Canterbury. It takes you on a tour conducted by a guide in traditional costume through some of Chaucer’s Tales and introduces you to some of the writers’ characters. This is done with an interactive exhibition featuring waxwork models and a combination of live and recorded storytelling including medieval pilgrims on their journey to Canterbury Cathedral and the scene of Thomas Becket’s martyrdom.
The Roman Museum contains exhibits from the Roman period of occupation of Britain and the influence the Romans had over the city. It is built around the remains of a Roman townhouse. This fascinating subterranean archaeological site gives an insight into Canterbury’s everyday life almost two thousand years ago. Visitors can stroll through a reconstructed Roman marketplace and rooms, including a kitchen, as well as view Roman mosaic floors. A standout exhibit is an almost completely intact Roman soldier's helmet dating from Caesar's invasion.
The Canterbury Royal Museum and Art Gallery have exhibits of both traditional and contemporary works. The Canterbury Heritage Museum is set in a former medieval Poor Priests’ Hospital and exhibits items including props from the local creators of children’s TV shows as well as items belonging to another former Canterbury resident, writer Joseph Conrad.
Canterbury , England
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