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The ruined castle is amongst the most ancient in Britain, begun by William the Conqueror around 1070. The stone castle replaced an earlier motte and bailey fortification built at the nearby Dane John. The keep was largely constructed in the reign of Henry I (1100 - 1135) as one of three Royal castles in Kent. By the late 1300's it had been overshadowed by the bigger fortifications at Dover and became a prison - by the seventeenth century it was already ruined. Today the roofless shell is surrounded by a quiet garden - inside you can climb part way up one of the towers. The castle grounds and ground floor of the keep are accessible, but there is a narrow gateway through the stone walls into the keep itself. At the entrance on Gas Street there is a tactile 3-D model of the castle as it would have been in 1200AD.
The castle enclosure re-used the Roman town wall as its southern boundary. Some reused Roman material may still be seen in the far corner close to the Wincheap pedestrian subway.
The castle is a main focus of interest on the city wall trail. Leaflets on the trail are available at the information centre in Sun Street opposite the cathedral's main gateway.
The castle was selected as a 'Cool Place' in 2010 by the Cool Places guide.
|Season Dates||Opening Hours|
|Notes||Open from morning until dusk.|
Castle Street, Canterbury, CT1 2PR
Map reference: TR 145574 Lat: 51.27598 Long: 1.07453
Parking : with charge
Accessible by Public Transport : Canterbury East station
Limited disabled access.