Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a district of Kent in South East England. It lies on the River Stour.
Originally a Brythonic settlement, it was renamed Durovernum Cantiacorum by the Roman conquerors in the 1st century AD. After it became the chief Jutish settlement, it gained its English name Canterbury, itself derived from the Old English Cantwareburh ("Kent people's stronghold"). After the Kingdom of Kent's conversion to Christianity in 597, St Augustine founded an episcopal see in the city and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, a position that now heads the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion (though the modern-day Province of Canterbury covers the entire south of England).
Many historical structures remain in the city, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and perhaps the oldest school in England, The King's School.
Canterbury's array of shop windows beckon with a kaleidoscope of colours, inviting you to sample what's on offer. Many of the high street names are here as well as a delightful range of independent retailers. The King's Mile has an atmosphere all of its own while the city's St Dunstan's, West Gate Towers and Northgate areas have a range of specialist and individual outlets. There are a number of markets that take place throughout the Canterbury district from weekly general markets to farmers' markets.
Canterbury offers a vast range of fantastic eateries. There is something to satisfy all taste buds; whether you want a Michelin star gourmet meal, a romantic meal for two or a meal with a party atmosphere, there is a venue to suit all desires. Or maybe you just want to sit down, relax and watch the world go by in one of our numerous cafés or tea shops serving home baked food and a cup of English tea.
Whitstable's traditional charms, strong arts culture and rich maritime history sit easily with its renaissance. Along the coast at Tankerton, grassy slopes dip to meet the sea. Many roads in Whitstable will lead you to the sea. Whether you take the main route through the town or enjoy haphazard progress through quiet lanes and alleyways with eccentric names such as Squeeze Gut Alley, you'll end up at the harbour.
- Canterbury Cathedral. St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, arrived in 597AD as a missionary and became the first Archbishop, establishing his seat (or 'Cathedra') in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as told most famously in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The Cathedral houses a Romanesque Crypt, dating back to the 11th century, a 12th century early Gothic Quire and a 14th Century Perpendicular Nave. Beautiful medieval stained glass windows illustrate miracles and stories associated with St Thomas. Visitor facilities range from guided tours and audio tours to private evening tours and 'behind the scenes' tours to the Stained Glass Studio, Archives and/or Library.
- Canterbury Castle was one of the three original Royal castles of Kent (the other two being Rochester Castle and Dover Castle). They were all built soon after the Battle of Hastings, on the main Roman road from Dover to London. This was the route taken by William the Conqueror in October 1066, and they were built originally as motte-and-bailey castles to guard this important route. A wooden motte and bailey castle was erected in 1066 - its motte may be the mound which is still visible in the Dane John gardens near the stone castle (which may in turn be a Roman burial mound), with Dane John deriving from donjon. The great stone keep was largely constructed in the reign of Henry I. This massive structure, which has dimensions of about 98 by 85 feet externally at the base, was originally probably at least 80 feet high. It is mainly made of flint and sandstone rubble. By the 13th century the castle had become the county gaol. It was given up to the invading French in the First Barons' War. In 1380 a new gate was built. By 1770, the castle had fallen into disrepair, and many parts of it were demolished during the late 18th century and early 19th century. In 1787 all the gates in the city wall, except for Westgate– the city jail – were demolished as a result of a commission that found them impeding to new coach travel.
- The Roman Museum. Houses a Roman pavement which is a scheduled monument, in the remains of a Roman courtyard house which itself is a grade I listed building. The pavement was discovered after World War II bombing, and has been open to the public since 1946. It houses many excavated artifacts from Roman Canterbury together with reconstructions of the Roman town. The museum aims to show what the Roman city was like, and to reveal the secret city beneath the feet of the visitor, thereby educating the public to appreciate local history. Each step by which one descends to the Roman pavement represents 100 years-worth of archaeological layers down to the 300 AD layer of the pavement.
- St Augustine's Abbey. In 597 Saint Augustine arrived in England, having been sent by Pope Gregory I, on what might nowadays be called a revival mission. The King of Kent at this time was Æthelberht, who happened to be married to a Christian, Bertha. Whether or not his spouse influenced him, he allowed Augustine to found a monastery just outside the walls of Canterbury to the east of the city. King Æthelberht ordered the church to be erected of "becoming splendour, dedicated to the blessed apostles Peter and Paul, and endowed it with a variety of gifts" William Thorne, the late fourteenth-century chronicler of the Abbey, records 598 as the year of the foundation. One of the main purposes of the abbey right from the outset was as a burial place for the Kings of Kent and the Archbishops of Canterbury. In 978 a new larger building was dedicated by Archbishop Dunstan, to the Saints Peter, Paul, and Augustine. Now a World Heritage Site, the ruins of this important monastic foundation built by Saint Augustine are in the care of English Heritage. Today the ruin precincts cover a substantial area east of the cathedral, and in fact, in its heyday the abbey's church rivalled nearby Canterbury Cathedral in size.
The Canterbury Tales Exhibition Centre