10 good reasons to visit Canterbury
PUBLISHED: 12:05 22 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:17 26 February 2013
This much-loved city has got it all – amazing history, beautiful scenery and plenty of places to shop and eat out
10 good reasons to visit Canterbury
This much-loved city has got it all amazing history, beautiful scenery andplenty of places to shop and eat out
Working living church
Aside from being Kents most popular attraction, Christ Church Cathedral (01227 865222, CT1 2EH) is a working and living church and a venue for concerts. Notable features include the Romanesque crypt, early gothic quire, 14th-century perpendicular nave, wonderful cloisters and fantastic stained glass windows. You can actually stay in the Cathedrals grounds in the luxurious accommodation of Canterbury Cathedral Lodge (01227 865350).
Westgate Gardens (CT1 2BQ) is a lovely landscaped area of land bordering the River Stour near Westgate Towers. The ruins of St Augustines Abbey (CT1 1PF), dating from AD 598, were originally created as a burial place for the Kings of Kent. These ruins are splendidly scenic, within spacious restful gardens, plus theres a museum and interactive audio tour. Dane John Gardens (CT1 2RN) is wonderfully central and accessible and has monuments and memorials, a bandstand, fountain, a childrens maze and tearooms.
In pilgrims footsteps
Eastbridge hospital (01227 471688, CT1 2BD) is a medieval pilgrims hospital with an undercroft, two chapels and a refectory, founded following the martyrdom of St Thomas Becket. Just around the corner is Greyfriars Chapel (CT1 2NR), set in the peaceful, flower-filled Franciscan Gardens beside the river. Greyfriars is the only remaining building of the first English Franciscan Friary, begun in 1267. The chapel is functioning once more, and services are held weekly on Wednesdays at 12.30pm.
Born with a silver spoon
The underground Roman Museum (01227 785575, CT1 2JR) is built around the remains of a Roman town house and you can see the reconstruction of a Roman market town plus excavated artefacts, including Roman spades and trowels, flasks and bottles, jewellery and even a hoard of silver spoons. Canterbury Heritage Museum (01227 475202, CT1 2NR) has, among many other things, Anglo-Saxon treasure, hands-on activities and Stephensons original Invicta railway engine.
Englands oldest parish church is St Martins (01227 768072, CT1 1PW), which is still in constant use today. St Martins was originally the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent in the sixth century. Its construction incorporates many reused Roman bricks and Roman tiles, and in the churchyard are the graves of local artist Thomas Sidney Cooper, and Mary Tourel, creator of Rupert Bear. This building, plus the St Augustines Abbey ruins and the Cathedral comprise the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Canterbury Tales (01227 479227, CT1 2TG) is based in the atmospheric former St Margarets church and celebrates Chaucers pilgrims tales, with life-sized character models reconstructing Chaucers most famous literary creations. Join Chaucer and his pilgrims on their journey from London to the shrine of St Thomas Becket, with their stories brought to life along the way as well as the authentic sights, sounds and smells of medieval England. You can buy a memento of your visit from the gift shop.
The Kings Mile is an arty, Paris Left Bank-style part of town, packed with creative shops, including jewellers, gifts shops, boutique clothes, antiques, arts and crafts, and very appealing cafs. It runs along Guildhall Street, Palace Street and The Borough, ending at Northgate, comprising more than 100 shops and businesses. For more retail therapy the pedestrianised High Street and St Peters Street both an excellent choice of shops, plus theres the retail mecca of the Whitefriars Shopping Centre and a rather fabulous Fenwick.
Restored to glory
The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge (01227 378100, CT1 2RA) is an art museum and library that has just undergone a massive and fabulous restoration. There are collections relating to ancient Egypt, Anglo-Saxon Kent, Dutch-stained glass, ancient Greek art, plus galleries of Dutch and Old Master paintings. Signs for Sounds, an exhibition exploring letterform and calligraphy, runs from 15 March to 5 May.
A theatrical experience
The Marlowe Theatre (01227 787787, CT1 2AS) has a fresh, new loo these days and boasts spacious foyers with bars on all three floors, a riverside caf and terrace, plus increased seating capacity and improved acoustics. In the same building is the Marlowe Studio, staging performances, gigs, workshops and events. Shows this month include: Brendan Cole (2 March), Philharmonia Orchestra (26 March) and Lets Face the Music: the Irving Berlin Story (25 March), with Alvin Stardust.
Eat, drink and be merry
Restaurants include: Michael Caine at The Abode hotel (01227 826684, CT1 2RX), The Goods Shed (01227 459153, CT2 8AN), Deesons (01227 767854, CT1 2HX), Caf du Soleil (01227 479999, CT1 2BZ) and the Old Weaver Restaurant (01227 464660, CT1 2AR). Pubs include: The Old Buttermarket (01227 462170, CT1 2HW), The Millers Arms (01227 456057, CT1 2AW) and The Thomas Becket (01227 464384, CT1 2JB).
Canterbury is in eastern Kent, around 60 miles from London. Close to the M2, it is reached via the A2, and linked to the M20 by the A28: both of these motorways link with the M25. There are two stations with links to London and main Kent towns. Satnav postcode: CT1 2UD