Secret Britain: Canterbury

Secret Britain: Canterbury

Enjoy the rich history of Canterbury

Start your day…

…with a visit to the amazing cathedral. Built in the gothic style it is an architectural masterpiece with a variety of distinctive stone sculptures to welcome you through its arched entrance.

Inside, visitors can stand on the exact spot where the Archbishop Thomas Becket was cruelly murdered, drawing pilgrims to the place of his martyrdom ever since.

Religious touches

Being the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury there are many religious connections throughout the city. The remains of Saint Augustine’s Abbey, where you can wander the extensive grounds, and the fascinating Eastbridge Hospital on the high street are among my favourites.

The best part of the hospital, which was founded in the 12th Century, is the undercroft where there’s a series of irregular archways once used as sleeping quarters for weary pilgrims.

•          St Augustine’s Abbey 01227 767345; Eastbridge Hospital 01227 471688

Walk through history

It’s a great place to explore on foot. Walk the remaining ancient city walls – which once enclosed the whole city - between the ruins of the Norman castle along to St George’s Gate close to Whitefriars Shopping Centre.

Spot of shopping

Wander the narrow, winding high street and explore the unique little shops, tearooms, all dominated by the cathedral towering above them.

My favourite shop is Nasons Of Canterbury, a department store that retains its old-fashioned charm – the likes of which is rare today. Afterwards, hire a punt along the River Stour to get a new perspective.

A bite to eat

Canterbury is crammed with cafes and restaurants catering for all tastes. The Café St Pierre close to St Peter’s Church is a delight. The service is friendly and there’s a choice of delicious cakes, plus the frontage opens onto a small courtyard at the back.

•          01227 456791

Take the grandchildren

To Westgate Park, alongside the Westgate Tower, where there’s a large play park with wooden towers to climb, as well as lots of other equipment to keep them amused. When they’re tired, take a picnic by the river and feed the resident ducks. 

Don’t miss…

The Canterbury Tales visitor attraction, where you can step back in time to Chaucer’s day with a host of costumed characters and interactive displays.


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