Canterbury is the most popular and fascinating historic city, located in the county of Kent England. It holds UNESCO World Heritage tag and the reason is its wonderful Cathedrals which lure sightseers across the globe. It is one of Kent’s top tourist attractions, with iconic sites, exciting cultural background and provides great shopping and dining options.
In Middle ages, Canterbury is considered as a pilgrimage spot of the United Kingdom. Its ancient walls were originally built by the Romans. Its medieval Roman Era architecture with cobbled streets, untouched ancient woodland, timber-framed houses are totally a sight to behold for travellers.
From a city steeped in history, heritage and culture, picturesque coastal towns and postcard-worthy villages and outstanding natural beauty make Canterbury an offbeat vacations site.
For small vacations in England, you can consider Canterbury!! Let’s discuss its key attractions.
The most impressive of all Canterbury’s treasures is Canterbury Cathedral. Established in 597 AD, Canterbury Cathedral is elevated at a height of 236 feet over the city showcasing stunning architecture from Norman to Romanesque and Gothic. From middle age till the modern era, it has maintained its charm and attracted millions of sightseers every year. It holds its name in World Heritage Site and remained pilgrimage site for centuries.
It has said that Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury feature pilgrims on their way here in the 14th century. It was once the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion and depicts Romanesque elements in its stone carvings and stained-glass windows. Travellers can stroll around in the cathedral lobby and enjoy the panorama from heights.
St. Augustine’s Abbey
Located just outside the city walls, St. Augustine’s Abbey is another spectacular cathedral which houses the remains of the abbey founded by St. Augustine in 597 A.D. Originally built as a burial place for the Anglo-Saxon King of Kent, now it is part of the Canterbury World Heritage Site, along with the Cathedral and St. Martin’s Church. Here travellers will also observe the foundations of the old abbey church and graves of King Ethelbert, and his wife Queen Bertha.
This living Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery and museum offers informative displays for travellers, exhibitions of artefacts and listen to audios linked to its rich history. Explore the beautiful ruins and uncover the rise of Christianity in Kent after the departure of the Romans. The Abbey is also the best place to spend a family picnic.
Westgate Towers Museum
Westgate tower museum is harboured in the country’s largest outliving medieval gatehouse. Established in 1380 at the old London road, the Westgate was one of seven such designs created to defend the key access points into the city. It houses an intriguing museum which depicts the history of the city, which included everything from a place to hang the bodies of the convict and a spectacular museum displaying the ancient history of the Canterbury.
Don’t miss the major highlight, an original cell of Felon which dates back to the 19th century. Standing more than 60 feet high, the battlements of the Westgate offer spectacular panoramic views across the historic city and its old medieval centre, as well as the surrounding parks and gardens adjacent to the River Stour.
Chilham Village & Chilham Castle
The delightful village of Chilham and its Castle is one of the most picturesque village greens in England. Known as The Square, it’s surrounded by numerous ancient timber-framed houses and is the site of the village’s annual May Day celebrations, where you can experience traditional activities such as Morris Dancing. St. Mary’s, the parish church, contains some magnificent tombs.
The grounds of 17th-century Chilham Castle-landscaped by Capability Brown is worth visiting. Major key attractions are extensive terraces, the Elephant House, the bowling green, and its beautiful gardens. Along the way, learn the castle’s fascinating history via guides as well as witness the attractive decorated main hall and staircase, study, library, and dining room.
Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
Art and culture lovers should definitely visit the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge. The Beaney fascinates travellers by its inhouse museum, library, and art gallery which boasts an excellent collection of artwork including paintings, engravings, and prints, along with European ceramics, Asian porcelain, and Anglo-Saxon jewellery.
Its has become the city’s cultural hub and also houses the Marlowe Theatre in its vicinity, which is another travel attraction for sightseers. It is designed in an attractive Tudor-revival style and constructed in the late 19th century. You will find many prestigious artefacts and impressive exhibits which include artworks by European Old Masters along with important sculptures of ceramics.
The Old City
The Old City of Canterbury has comprised several ancient timber-framed buildings. When you reach there you will observe an unbroken row of fine houses with timber rooftops and overhanging upper floors. it can be from the narrow Mercery Lane and many of them dating back from the era of Queen Elizabeth I.
Tudor Queen Elizabeth’s Guest Chamber is the most prominent one of this Old City as it plasterwork and design attract many photo freaks. Also visit the 12th-century East bridge Hospital & The The Chequer of the Hope, a pilgrim hostel situated on the edge of Mercery Lane, it is also named under the Canterbury Tales.
Dane John Gardens
After visiting all the cathedrals and museums, head towards the Dane John Gardens which was once the part of a former Roman cemetery. There are round maze-like structures made of the cemetery and a raised mound that is the main highlight of the garden. It is believed that the mound is the remaining burial which belongs from the 1st or 2nd century.
At another end of the park, you can see the riverside meadows and sitting area for enjoying with family members. This park is a great place for peace seekers and for those who want to spend some quality time with their loved ones.
Shopping & Savouring Delicacies at Canterbury
Yes, visiting Canterbury will indeed give you a medieval age and historic experience. We won’t deny that it is a place for history buffs. But if you still love new places than this city also offers a modern shopping experience too. You can visit Whitefriars which is an open-air shopping mall housing numerous classic stores but a flagship Fenwicks store is the highlight of the town.
Canterbury also boasts numerous dining options. Food lovers can visit many restaurant and independent eatery stalls. Some to try include Cafe St Pierre, Tiny Tim’s Tearoom, The Ambrette and Cafe des Amis and for cocktails, pay a visit to the Pound Bar & Kitchen.
Also Read: 11 Most Breathtaking Castles in the World