What better way to start your day with a visit to Canterbury 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 receive a warm and appropriate welcome. You may wish to wander around with a guidebook or audio tour (available in 7 languages). Alternatively general tours take place throughout the day with a fully trained Guide who will make the Cathedral and its history come to life.
For a guided tour allow 90 minutes.
Historic River Tour
The morning ends with a Historic River Tour where you will discover the hidden secrets of the River Stour, a focal point of the citys heritage. Each boat is rowed by a tour representative who will provide a light hearted commentary as you pass a variety of historic buildings and monuments set against some of the most picturesque backdrops of the city.
Allow 60 minutes.
Alternative option to Historic river tour:
The Canterbury Tales
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of medieval England as you join
Chaucer and his colourful band of Pilgrims on their journey from London to
Canterbury 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.
Escape the busy pavements and lay back into the cushions, meander down the river and see the City as you never could on foot. Listen to historic Canterbury's rich and fascinating story as you sip champagne and view medieval buildings.
Step into medieval Canterbury and accompany Geoffrey Chaucer and his colourful characters on their magical pilgrimage from London to Canterbury.
Choose from a variety of restaurants that cater for all appetites and tastes. From sandwiches to pizzas and three course meals, you will find many restaurants serve fresh and local produce from Kent.
St Augustines Abbey
Explore the ruins of the abbey that marked the rebirth of Christianity in
South England. Founded by St Augustine in 597AD and originally used
as a monastery it is now part of the Canterbury World Heritage Site.
Detailed tours of the abbey grounds are available when pre-booked four
weeks in advance.
Allow approx 90 minutes
You may wish to consider visiting one of Canterburys museums, all
providing a wealth of historical information:
You will be whisked back in time when you visit the Roman Museum and discover 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 approximately 60 minutes.
Museum of Canterbury
Housed in the medieval poor priests hospital you will discover the story of Canterbury in new interactive displays for all the family. The museum has a display of exhibits from pre-Roman to the present as well as the Rupert Bear Museum. 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 approximately 90 minutes.
Westgate Towers Museum
Explore one of Englands finest medieval fortified gatehouses. This gateway to the city has been standing for over six centuries and is now home to an impressive display of armaments dating from the Civil War to World War II. See the prison cells, find the `murder holes and explore the turrets with panoramic views from the battlements.
Allow approximately 45 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.
An entertaining blend of history, humour and haunting amongst the old city, as the shadows gather meet the ghosthunter for a 75 minute tour of the spooky side of Canterbury.
Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, seat of the Archbishop. Stunning stained glass. Eleventh century Crypt, Twelfth century Quire, Fourteenth century Nave. The Cathedral's history goes back to 597 AD when St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great as a missionary, established his seat (or 'Cathedra') in Canterbury. In 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the Cathedral and ever since, the Cathedral has attracted thousands of pilgrims, as famously told in Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Facilities available include: Guided Tours - Our guides are experts at making the Cathedral and its history come to life and we strongly recommend that you book a tour for your group. Guided tours in several languages as well as special tours of an extended or specialised character can be arranged, starting any time between 09.00 and 15.30 hrs (Monday to Friday) and 09.00 and 13.30 hrs (Saturday). There are no guided tours on Sunday. Cost for entrance and guided tour: Adult and Concessions £13.00
Audio Visual Presentation - Audio visuals in several languages provide an appropriate introduction or conclusion to a visit. (Pre-booked groups only). Cost: £1.00 per person.
Audio Tours - in English, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, lasting 40 minutes, are available inside the main entrance. Cost: Adults: £4.00. Concessions £3.00
Private Evening Tours - depending on the availability of the Cathedral, private evening tours may also be arranged. Costs: £20.00 per person (minimum charge £500).
Behind The Scenes Tours - 'Behind-the-scenes' a great deal goes on - some 220 people work on preparing Services, creating beautiful music, restoring the stained glass or conserving unique and rare books and documents, much as the monks did many centuries ago. Groups visiting the Cathedral can now experience these fascinating aspects of Cathedral life by visiting our conservation workshops to see stonemasons / stained glass conservation in action and/or Archives & Library to view beautiful manuscripts and rare books. These visits are very popular - numbers are limited and they must be booked well in advance.
The Schools Department at Canterbury Cathedral, working within the National Curriculum provides high calibre resources and support to visiting school groups and teachers from infant to secondary, enabling them to interpret the building and enhance the quality of their visit. Facilities range from guided tours, themed trails and project work to a wide selection of specialised educational publications.
Group accommodation and hospitality available in the Cathedral's Lodge and Study Centre.
For information on Cathedral closures please visit the website or view the pdf.
See location on Google maps.
Map reference: TR 151578 Lat: 51.27878 Long: 1.08343 The Cathedral is located in the centre of Canterbury, within walking distance of both Canterbury East and West stations. Canterbury is only 30 minutes drive from Dover (continental ferries) and Folkestone (Eurotunnel), making it an ideal stop-over en route to London. Fast speed trains bring passengers from Canterbury to London within 56 minutes.
Public Transport : 1 mile from Canterbury East/West station