Our Canterbury Tales, England

In Canterbury, Cities, Counties, Days Out, Kent, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by Janis2 Comments

Kings, Saints & Scholars

Canterbury in the heart of the “Garden of England” encases so much rich history, that even the local King’s School, can boast to be the oldest in the world.

A view of Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Just under an hour on a train from London and you’ll be immersing yourselves in all that is quintessentially English in the picturesque county of Kent.

Tempted to go?

You can catch a train from London St Pancras to Canterbury West Station which takes around 1 hour.

Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Some of us may be familiar with Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The stories of pilgrim’s journeys to Thomas Becket's shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.

The Canterbury Tales monument, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

The collection is made up of 24 tales, each from an individual's perspective of their pilgrimage.

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Approaching the Cathedral

Our pilgrims would have arrived at the Cathedral via the 'Bull Stake', not to go into too much detail here but bulls and baiting were involved. Thankfully it had a name change around 200-years ago to 'The Buttermarket.'

The Butter Market, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

This delightful square opens out to reveal the stunning Christchurch Gate entrance to Canterbury Cathedral.

The Christchurch Gate, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK
The War Memorial, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Today Buttermarket's centrepiece is a Canterbury’s war memorial.

There’s been a murder

So this takes us to the Cathedral, culturally the centrepiece of the city and probably the most famous Christian building in England.

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Founded in 597, although rebuilt in 1077, the Cathedral is renowned for the shrine of Thomas Becket.

He was murdered in the Cathedral by four of King Henry II’s Knights in 1170.

A sculpture marks the spot where the Archbishop was killed.

The spot where Thomas Becket was put to death in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK
Inside the Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK
The Tomb of the Black Prince, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Within the beautiful Cathedral is a peaceful cloister, the tomb of King Henry IV & the Black Prince and some eye-catching stained glass windows.

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Did you know?

Did you know? That the Canterbury Cathedral been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1988

The King's School

The King’s School, was founded in the same year as the Cathedral and is known to be the oldest continuously operated school in the world.

Within the school grounds are some wonderful old buildings including the schoolhouse dating from 1860 and the Norman staircase dating from the 12th century.

In the King's school grounds, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK
Historic Canterbury, Kent, England

The King’s School in Canterbury was followed, seven years later by the King’s School in Rochester, Kent.

An interesting read

If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".

You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.

The King's Mile

Out the school gate and you are now in the heart of The King’s Mile. A collection of intriguing streets and lanes within eyeshot of the ancient cathedral.

There are some fantastic shops and eateries around here, but what may catch your eye is the quaint 17th-century half-timbered, bookshop (on the corner of King St & Palace St) it has a bit of a lean to it (check out the front door).

Crowther's in the King's Mile, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK
Sir John Boy's House, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Another notable building in the King's mile is the Sun Hotel, formerly The Little Inn, which was built in 1503 and made famous by Charles Dickens as Micawber's Little Inn.

The Sun Hotel, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Have You?

Visited Canterbury? Did you fall in love with it's charm? Did one of it's many taverns tempt you? We'd love to hear your stories

Then came the French

Just off the King's Mile is the High Street. Along here are many notable buildings including Beaney House which opened in 1899 and is home to a free museum, art gallery and library (definitely worth a visit).

Beaney House, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

You'll also notice the Old Weavers' House by the bridge over the Great Stour river.

During the 17th century, the French-speaking Protestant Huguenots arrived in the UK fleeing persecution. They introduced silk weaving to the City and soon made up 2,000 of Canterbury’s 5,000 population.

The Old Weavers House, Canterbury, Kent, England

There is still a service, in French, held at the Huguenots chapel in the Cathedral every Sunday at 3:00pm.
 If you look further down the High Street you will see the Westgate.

To the Tower

The medieval Westgate, the largest surviving city gate in England, and the last one of Canterbury's seven city gates remaining.

The West Gate, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

It was the Romans that originally walled the city around 300 AD.

The view of the City Walls, Canterbury, Kent, England, UK

Although the remains in place today date from much later.

Next to the tower is Westgate Gardens, with the Guildhall, the Tower House and a 200-year old Plane tree within it.

The Great Stour, Canterbury, Kent, England

This is a really pleasant garden, and if you are there at the right time of year, you may even be able to enjoy some punting on the river.

Castle Ruins

To the south of the old town is the ancient Canterbury Castle, built originally of wood by William the Conqueror in motte-and-bailey style.

Canterbury Castle, Kent, England, UK

Then later rebuilt in the early 12th-century of stone, Canterbury Castle was one of three Royal Castles built in Kent in the reign of Henry I (the other two are Rochester and Dover).

Henry I's Royal Castles

Why not also include a trip to the historic town of Rochester, where you can visit one of the other Royal Castles?

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Inspired to visit Canterbury?

Tempted to stroll the streets of Canterbury and take in its rich history? would you like to see the famous Cathedral?

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?


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About the Author


Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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  1. Inspirational and informative post. I expect that a lot more Britons will be exploring British cities over the coming months, due to concerns about travelling abroad in the wake of the coronavirus. Your site has beautiful photos.

    1. Author

      Thanks Stuart, there’s some fascinating history in Canterbury and the countryside all around it is beautiful. I think you’re right about home tourism, it’s certainly where will be venturing to in the short term.
      The credit goes to Gary for the lovely photos.

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