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Suggested itinarary for schools and educational groups.

MorningMorning

Start your day with a visit to Canterbury’s most important centrepiece; the Cathedral, a World Heritage Site and one of the world’s 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 cathedral’s 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.
Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral

Motherchurch of the Anglican Communion, seat of the Archbishop. Stunning stained glass. Eleventh Century Crypt, Twelfth Century Quire, Fourteenth Century Nave.
 

LunchLunch

For parties with packed lunches there are outdoor areas within the Cathedral precinct to sit. Alternatively students can relax in one of two gardens in the City: Westgate Gardens or Dane John Gardens.
Westgate Gardens

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.
 
Dane John Gardens, fountain

Dane John Gardens

Canterbury's most popular park has been transformed into attractive gardens with monuments and memorials, a central fountain, a tearoom and children's maze.
 

AfternoonAfternoon

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 Tales visitor attraction Canterbury

Canterbury Tales

Step into medieval Canterbury and accompany Geoffrey Chaucer and his colourful characters on their magical pilgrimage from London to Canterbury.
 
Canterbury Heritage Museum, logo

Canterbury Heritage Museum

Discover Canterbury's history, from millions of years ago to the present, explored through interactive displays in an amazing medieval building.
 
Canterbury Roman Museum, logo

Canterbury Roman Museum

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.
 
 

Details of Westgate GardensWestgate 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.

This site has been a public space since the Middle Ages, although late Iron Age and early Roman pottery has been found on site.

During the 1400s, this area was called the Rosier - with five gardens and meadow land. Throughout this period many disputes arose between the residents and the Prior of Christ Church concerning the site's ownership.

In 1427, the Prior claimed that the townspeople had stolen hay from the meadow lands. They in turned accused the Prior of diverting the course of the river to feed one of the mills.

Judgement was made by Archbishop Chichele, who decided that they hay had been stolen and the monks should return the river to its natural course.

Disputes over issues such as who owned the fishing rights continued until 1500 when the mayor and residents took up arms and seized the area by force.

The mayor was formally charged by the highest court in England, the Star Chamber. This was run by monarchy and was considered more influential than Parliament. Historic records show that no expense was spared on the amount of entertainment used to bribe the lawyers, ensuring that the town won its case and kept the land.

In 1641 Oliver Cromwell's army destroyed part of the city walls situated in the gardens. A parchment factory was built between the Norman arch and the Westgate entrance in the early eighteenth century and was pulled down in 1850.

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 Ellis Williamson, gave the house and gardens to the city corporation. During this time, Catherine was a city councillor and was responsible for the redevelopment 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 city council.

What to see:

The 200 year old and 25 foot wide, Oriental Plane (Platanus Orientalis), is rumoured to contain a circular cast iron seat which used to stand around it. Other plants worth looking out for are the Copper Beeches and 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 Itay Star Association.

The site of the foundations of the London Gate of the Roman City of Canterbury (Durovernum Cantiacorum)

View key to symbolskeyDisabled access Picnic site Public toilets Accepts groups Children welcomeDisabled accessDogs accepted

Contact

Canterbury Visitor Centre
Tel: 01227 862162

View the Westgate Gardens websitewww.canterbury.gov.uk/leisure-countryside/things-to-do-in-the-district/parks-and-gardens/westgate-parks/
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Venue

Westgate Gardens

Westgate Grove, Canterbury, CT1 2DB

CT1 2DBwww.canterbury.gov.uk/leisure-countryside/things-to-do-in-the-district/parks-and-gardens/westgate-parks/

See location of Westgate Gardens on Google maps.See location on Google maps.     Map reference: TR 144579
     Lat: 51.28069  Long: 1.07413
10 minutes walk from the main bus station. 5 minutes walk from Canterbury West

Parking : with charge

Public Transport : 1 mile from Canterbury West station

Play area for children called Toddler's Cove.

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