Canterbury (pop. 42,000) is a small and cosy town on the East coast of Kent. The main reason to come here is for Canterbury cathedral.
The Cathedral was founded in 597 by St Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury and has acted as the seat of the Primate of All England, and since Henry VIII (1491-1547), the leader of the Church of England.
Archbishop Thomas Becket was famously assassinated here in 1170. Becket's body was placed in a Shrine in Trinity Chapel in 1220, but the shrine was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1538.
The cathedral buildings were constructed between 1070 and 1077, although parts of it were later reconstructed, such as the Quire (1175-1184) and the Nave (1377-1405).
The cathedral is open from 9am to 6:30pm in summer and until 5pm in winter. The last entry is 30 minutes earlier. The last entry is at 2pm on Sundays.
Canterbury is a pleasant town rich in historical buildings. A sizeable section of the massive city walls are still standing (the southern rampart) and there are many well preserved medieval and Renaissance houses. The double-towered West Gate, at the north-western end of High Street, has withstood the test of time and is virtually intact. Canterybury Castle (at the end of Castle Street at the south-western edge of town) and St. Augustine Abbey (east of the cathedral), on the other hand, lay in ruins.
How to get there
Canterbury can be easily accessed by train from London's Victoria station (1h30min to 2hours, £17.80) or Dover (25min, £5).
By car, Canterbury is easily accessible from the London direction by following the M2 until it merges with the A2. The A2 links Canterbury with Chatham, Gillingham and Sittingbourne to the north, and Dover to the south. The A28 runs east to Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate and west to Ashford.
Train timetables & reservations