Located in the rolling, green countryside of southeastern England on the shores of the River Stour in Kent is the centuries old city of Canterbury. The home of Geoffrey Chaucer and the inspiration behind the iconic Canterbury Tales, this ancient city has a rich history and a unique character. It is a place of tradition and deeply rooted folk and religious history. Walking amongst the narrow streets whose cobblestones are worn smooth by the centuries of people that traversed the streets and you ultimately feel transported into 15th century England. This historical remains so of so many buildings still remain here dating as far back as the days of the Roman Empire’s occupation and as part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, it remains today one of the most popular cities to visit in all of England. Everywhere you seem to turn in this beautiful city you run into a ancient street with some kind of story behind it but here are some of the must-see sites while in Canterbury, England.
This stunning cathedral is the oldest and most famous in all of England dating back well over 1,000 years old and was once an important place of pilgrimage for early Christians. You will find the tomb of the Black Prince, the former beloved Prince of Wales, as well as the archbishop Thomas Becket who was once murdered here. You can walk down the 12th century choir; view many of the rooms that once were the center of religious life in Canterbury. It is an important glimpse into Canterbury’s history and certainly a must-see site and the most visited places in the city. Also the ruins of the ancient St. Augustine’s Abbey can be found here though because it is technically located outside the old city walls, many tourist miss it but it too is an important look at English heritage.
You cannot visit the city of Canterbury without feeling like you have stepped by into history, especially if you close your eyes and pretend like you don’t see the GAP located inside a building so old it makes your head spin. Located inside the historic St. Margaret’s Church you can journey back nearly 500 years as the famed poetic masterpiece by Geoffrey Chaucer is reenacted for visitors. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions and for good reason. The story of Chaucer’s colorful characters on their pilgrimage from London to the great Canterbury Cathedral is recreated as it recounts not just the story but the history of England in the 15th century and medieval life.
Canterbury Norman Castle
All that remains of this castle, the oldest in all of England, are some crumbling stone walls. Once a royal castle, then a prison, it has essentially been in ruins since the 18th century but is still a fascinating glimpse into medieval England. The roof has long since fallen and all that remains are a few of the crumbling walls. You can still climb one of the restored towers or take a tour of the ancient Roman wall that once protected the entire city from invaders. The remains of the castle are surrounded by a beautiful and peaceful garden and is still a popular stop on most tourist’s lists.
Canterbury Roman Museum
Canterbury’s ancient history was begun with the early Roman occupation. They built walls, fortifications and other buildings, many of which are in ruins. The Canterbury Roman Museum takes visitors through the city’s earliest history. This fascinating museum takes you through what Canterbury used to look like over a thousand years ago from the streets to the homes and relics from everyday life. You can find rare tools, an ancient Roman Gateway, tiles, mosaics, and much more. It is located on Butchery Lane, not far from the Canterbury Cathedral. Canterbury buildings
Historic River Tours
Hop on board a small boat and experience the city in a truly unique way. The 40 minute tour takes you from the small Franciscan Island known as Greyfriers then past centuries old buildings and King’s Bridge, built in 1134 A.D. You’ll wind past the Old Weaver’s House and many of the remaining 16th century timber houses. This guided tour runs throughout the day so you can hop and off when desired and listen to the stories and the history of the city.