A self-guided walk through the medieval lanes amongst history and intrigue
The Cathedral City of Canterbury in the heart of Kent is perfect for a day trip of culture. It’s straightforward to stroll around and enjoy all the city sights during your one-day visit. However, I’m sure you’ll struggle to pull yourselves away from the charming boutiques, quaint tea shops and the alluring old English pubs.
Canterbury has something for everyone
Our home county of Kent‘The Garden of England’
Centuries of history can be found within the smallest of villages, all throughout the Pilgrim’s Way winding through Canterbury and along the old Roman road of Watling Street.
Canterbury is only around 30 miles (50 km) from us, so we may appear slightly biased; however, there is a good reason for this, Canterbury is delightful.
Self-guided walk of CanterburyA circular route
If your inquisitive mind lures you off of the tour for any reason, don’t worry, you’ll soon find your way back; that’s all part of the fun.
The self-guided walk is a circular tour, so you can start it wherever you wish.
Map, guides and more
When you’re nurturing the seed of a road trip, plotting your destinations across a paper map just brings the adventure to life. Whether it’s the touchy-feely aspect of the map or the rustling sound of mastering the art of origami while trying to fold it away, I’m not too sure. Nonetheless, the good old Ordnance Survey guys and gals always come up trumps.
Take a look at the vast array of maps you can choose from.
The Westgate, Canterbury
Discovering the old Roman Road of Watling StreetIt all started in Dover
Walking through Westgate Gardens, you'll also stumble upon a section of the pathway, which was once of the old Roman Road, later known as Watling Street.
A plaque has been laid over the route that early Britons would have used regularly. This Roman Road connected London to Dover and many other places too!
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.
William the ConquerorThe Duke of Normandy
Following the route, and you’ll arrive at Canterbury Castle.
The Norman castle was originally built of wood on William the Conqueror's orders and constructed in a motte-and-bailey style.
Canterbury Castle was then rebuilt in the early 12th-century of stone during the reign of Henry I. Along with Canterbury Castle, two additional Royal Castles were built in Kent, Rochester Castle and Dover Castle. Both fortresses stand as magnificent examples of British history and are lovingly maintained by English Heritage.
Off to Dane John GardensThrough the lanes of Canterbury
From Canterbury Castle, stroll along Castle Street and then turn right into Castle Row. There are some delightful old, terraced houses all along here. And no stopping in the Shepherd Neame, White Hart Inn along the way, I know it’s tempting.
Continue along Castle Row until you come to Don Jon House. This is where another of Canterbury’s old city gates would have once stood named ‘Wincheap Gate’.
Directly opposite is Dane John Gardens' entrance and where a sizeable section of Canterbury’s ancient city walls still remains.
Allow some time to visit the gardens, stroll up and around the historic walls and buttresses. Here you’ll notice a large mound in the park. This was once a former Roman cemetery and burial mound.
Kent rural road trip
Watling Street, onward to LondonStepping in the tracks of pilgrims
Buttermarket, here we comeWith its cute timber-framed shops
Did you know?
Murder within Canterbury CathedralThomas Becket met his end
Canterbury Cathedral was founded in 597AD, although rebuilt in 1077. The Cathedral is renowned for pilgrims visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket.
Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral by four of King Henry II’s Knights in 1170. A poignant sculpture marks the spot where the Archbishop was killed.
It was during the 14th century that the English poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales. Chaucer produced 24 fascinating stories of pilgrim’s lives and their journeys to Thomas Becket's shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.
Geoffrey Chaucer is interred in Poet’s Corner at Westminster Abbey, London.
Escape for a few days
Are you looking for that ‘perfick’ holiday hideaway to relax in while you discover the Garden of England?
After a day exploring the Kent coast and its many historic castles enjoy one of the handpicked properties and unique retreats at Holiday Cottages.
The King’s School, CanterburyThe world’s oldest school
The King’s MileThe quirky streets of Canterbury
There are some charming, unique and interesting shops around here. However, the building that I’m sure will catch your eye is the quaint 17th-century timber-framed bookshop, on the corner of King Street and Palace Street; yes, it really is tilting.
Strolling further back towards Canterbury Cathedral, you’ll pass more independent restaurants and some quirky stores.
The self-guided walk is around 2.7miles or 4.4kms, so you may fancy a refreshment or two on the way. Worry not, there are plenty of cafés, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants en-route.
The Corner House, located within a 16th Century Coach House serves delicious dishes using locally sourced Kent produce.
Canterbury's historic lanesBeaney House is waiting
High Street and Mercery Lane
Beaney House, Canterbury
Canterbury's HuguenotsFrench-speaking silk weavers
Strolling through Canterbury High Street, you’ll then pass the attractive bronze statue of Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales monument.
You’re now reaching the final stop of your circular route as you arrive at the Huguenot weavers' houses by the bridge over the Great Stour river.
During the 17th century, 200,000 French-speaking Protestant Huguenots arrived in the UK fleeing persecution from Catholic France. The Huguenots introduced silk weaving to the City and soon made up 2,000 of Canterbury’s 5,000 population.
The Huguenots are still remembered today in Canterbury Cathedral. Their descendants’ worship, in French, every Sunday at 3pm in the Huguenot Chapel in the Cathedral’s Crypt.
The Old Weavers House, Canterbury
Tempted to go?
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