Situated in Kent, the county known as the ‘Garden of England’, Canterbury is a picturesque cathedral city with magnificent architecture and crumbling ruins that display an extraordinarily rich history. From its intriguing heritage to its bounty of cultural landmarks and museums, discover why you should visit Canterbury on your next trip to England.
Considered the most important cathedral in the Anglican faith worldwide, Canterbury Cathedral is the city’s biggest draw. And with the central ‘Bell Harry Tower’ dating back to 1498, and a crypt that dates back to the 11th century, it has built up a fascinating history. Tours here tell stories of the structure, including the tale of the 1170 murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett.
Believed to be one of the oldest castle ruins in Britain, the Norman Canterbury Castle originates from around 1070, when William the Conqueror established three castles in Canterbury, Rochester and Dover. Today, visitors to the ruins can climb part way up one of the towers while exploring the ancient ruins.
Canterbury Heritage Museum
By stepping inside this 14th century site, which lies alongside the River Stour, visitors can gain insight into the history of Canterbury through the museum’s interactive exhibits, which span a diverse range of topics from the Anglo Saxons to the Tudors, and even Rupert Bear.
Canterbury Roman Museum
After the 1868 discovery of a Roman floor mosaic, came the further discovery of the remains of a Roman Town House many years later. Now, this museum aims to preserve these extraordinary finds. With this preserved monument and many more artefacts to see, the museum truly provides a window into Roman Britain.
St Augustine’s Abbey
Dating as far back as AD 597, this World Heritage abbey was originally built as a burial site for Kent’s Anglo Saxon kings. Having been established by St Augustine, it is said to have marked the rebirth of Christianity in southern England. A museum containing artefacts originating from across the centuries tells the story of this historic site.
Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
Located within a Grade II listed building, Beaney House of Art and Knowledge is regarded as a must-see site when you visit Canterbury, encompassing an art gallery, library, museum and visitors’ centre. The Explorer and Collectors gallery brings together artefacts collected from across the globe by great explorers, while the People and Places exhibition focuses on artworks of notable people and places around Canterbury.
Westgate Towers Museum & Viewpoint
Having been built in 1380, and as England’s largest surviving Medieval Gateway, Westgate Towers proves significant in Canterbury’s long and rich history and is considered one of the city’s great landmarks. Standing at 18 metres, a climb to the top also rewards visitors with views across the city.
After strolling along this ancient city’s streets, visitors can see Canterbury from a boat on the River Stour. Punting is popular on these waters, and the tours on offer are one of the most rewarding ways to explore the area. Canterbury Punting offers 45-minute trips through the historic city centre.
Visit Canterbury with Evan Evans by joining the Leeds Castle, Canterbury Cathedral & Dover day trip from London, making a trip to England even more memorable.
Image credits: Cover photo of Canterbury Cathedral © iStock / Gosiek-B. Inside Canterbury Cathedral © iStock / Hiob. Christ Church Gate in Canterbury © iStock / Sophie Dauwe. The ruins of St Augustine Abbey © iStock / Alex Kozlov. Canterbury’s waterway © iStock / Boycey.