Suggested itinarary for schools and educational groups.
Start your day with a visit to Canterburys most important centrepiece; the Cathedral, a World Heritage Site and one of the worlds most important pilgrimage centres. The Cathedral dates back to 597AD when St Augustine became the first Archbishop establishing his seat in Canterbury. You will see where its most famous Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170 and view the numerous tombs and monuments including those of Edward the Black Prince and King Henry IV. Marvel at one of the cathedrals greatest glories; the stained glass collection which dates back to the 12th and 13th century, depicting miracles, royal connections and biblical stories and regarded as the finest in the country.
The Cathedral offers a wide range of facilities to ensure that you enjoy and benefit from your stay there. You have the possibility to do an audio-tour (available in 7 languages) or walk around with a guidebook. Alternatively you can book a guided tour which takes approximately 90 minutes.
The Westgate Gardens can be found close to the City centre, just next to the West Gate Tower. The eleven acres of public gardens provide an ideal setting for a gentle stroll along the banks of the River Stour.
Canterbury's most popular park has been restored into attractive gardens with monuments and memorials, a bandstand with summertime concerts, a central fountain, a tearoom and a children's maze.
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England as you step into the world described by Geoffrey Chaucer in his stories about the colourful band of Pilgrims on their journey from London to Canterbury. Along the way you'll hear stories of love, romance, jealousy and trickery in this entertaining re-creation of life in medieval England. Audio guides for adults and children are provided as part of the tour. Allow 45 minutes.
Itinerary and time allowing you may wish to include a visit to The Roman Museum or the Museum of Canterbury. The Roman museum takes you underground to the level of the buried Roman town of Durovernum Cantiacorum, which flourished for almost 400 years where Canterbury stands today. See the remains of a Roman house with its mosaic floor as well as other archaeological finds and authentic reconstructions.
Allow 60 minutes.
The Museum of Canterbury has a display of exhibits from pre-Roman to the present and also houses the Rupert Bear Museum. Learn more about bygone times in the new education wing, featuring the 1900s house Victorian collection. You will also have the opportunity to view the Royal Museum and Art Gallery displays and collections while their current home undergoes major refurbishment.
Allow 90 minutes.
The Canterbury Roman Museum is underground at the level of the Roman town. It's an exciting mix of excavated real objects: authentic reconstructions; and preserved remains of a Roman town house with its famous mosaics.
Discover Canterbury's history, from millions of years ago to the present, explored through interactive displays in an amazing medieval building.
Group Visits at Westgate Gardens
The Westgate Gardens can be found close to the City centre, just next to the West Gate Tower.
The eleven acres of public gardens provide an ideal setting for a gentle stroll along the banks of the River Stour, while the less energetic can sit back, unwind and absorb the tranquil beauty of the garden and its wildlife.
The meandering river provides the perfect environment for swans, ducks and moorhens to settle and raise their young. In the summer, the garden provides an ideal setting for open air events, exhibitions or as a picnic area for organised groups.
Westgate Gardens - a brief history In 1886, Stephen Williamson, a prominent Canterbury businessman and owner of the tannery, bought Tower House. Two ornate Victorian wings were added in 1870 but taken down to provide a suitable setting for the riverside walk and pleasure gardens. He and his family lived there happily from 1886 until 1935 and cultivated the gardens into what you see today. In 1936, his grandson Stephen Williamson and his wife, Catherine Ellise Williamson, gave the house and gardens to the City Corporation. During this time, Catherine was a City councillor and was responsilble for the revelopment of the house and gardens in conjunction with the City architect. Catherine Williamson subsequently became Canterbury's first woman mayor and served for two years from 1938 to 1940. The deed which preserves the site as a public space and garden for the benefit of Canterbury's residents is still upheld by the present day council.
What to see- Tower House is today used as the administrative office for the Lord Mayor of Canterbury and is not open to the general public. It is built around one of the bastions situated around the city walls and is built out of 14th century reconstructed flint on Roman foundations. The 200 year old and 25 foot wide and Oriental Plane is (Platanus Orientals) is rumoured to contain a circular iron seat which used to stand around it. Other plants worth looking out for are the Copper Beeches amid the Magnolia Stellata. The Norman archway and other medieval ruins probably taken by the Victorians from St Augustine's Abbey and used as grand garden ornaments can still be seen today. The war memorials of the Burma Star Association and the Italy Star Association. The site of the foundations of the London Gate of the Roman City of Canterbury (Durovernum Cantiancorum). Beside the River Stour and West Gate Tower in Canterbury these formal gardens have spectacular displays of flowers throughout the year. This site has been a public space since the Middle Ages, although late Iron Age and early Roman pottery has been found on the site.