Canterbury is a beautiful, historic city with a lively spirit and amazing architecture. Not only is it a major tourist destination, but also a university city. With scenic parks, striking buildings, lots of places to shop and many charming bars and restaurants, Canterbury makes for a great place to both travel and study.
The city is a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage and rightfully so; it has a long and interesting history full of great stories and important events. During the Iron Age, it was a Celtic settlement, until 43 AD, when the Romans invaded England. Once they abandoned the city in the 4th century, it ceased to exist for a while, right until Pope Augustine came to Canterbury to convert the remaining people to Christianity. In 603, the city was chosen to be the residence of the first archbishop, which made it spring back to life. It continued to thrive until the Danes invaded it, killing the archbishop and burning many important structures. Over the centuries, the city experiences periods of prosperity and suffering. However, the worst time came during WWII, when the Germans greatly damaged the infrastructure and killed many of the city’s residents. Canterbury managed to recover and is now known as a widely popular tourist attraction.
Sightseeing in Canterbury
The focal point of the city is definitely the Canterbury Cathedral. Built in 597, the cathedral had to be restored and rebuilt several times, due to many wars and fires. The way it looks today has remained mostly unchanged since the 11th century and this Gothic beauty is not only breathtaking, but also an important religious centre. The only drawback is that the entrance fee is pretty costly, but it’s a site you wouldn’t want to miss.
Canterbury Heritage Museum is another must-see. You will get to learn more about the city’s rich history, from prehistoric times to the 21st century. The most interesting parts of the exhibition are the ones about Thomas Beckett and The Second World War.
The Canterbury Tales are a great place to visit if you wish to learn more about Geoffrey Chaucer and his pilgrimages. It features costumed actors who tell stories in an engaging and captivating way. It’s truly an innovative and unique attraction.
If you are interested to learn even more about the city’s history, the Roman Museum is where you’ll want to go. The tours are well-structured and surprisingly interactive. It’s very detailed and tells a captivating story of the times the Romans occupied the city.
Dane John Gardens is the perfect place to enjoy natural environment and self-reflect. The location is picturesque and quiet, but still close to the centre. Occasionally, they organize fun days – free events where local businesses participate in many activities and with some great music to accompany them.
Howletts Wild Animal Park is a great choice for kids, although adults will also enjoy seeing some of these wild animals. The park is more focused on animals, doesn’t have many gift shops and is widely known as one of the best zoos in England.
Other notable attractions include: Westgate Gardens, Chilham Village, The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, St. Augustine’s Abbey, Marlowe Theatre, Eastbridge Hospital, The Kent Library & Museum of Freemasonry and Canterbury Norman Castle.