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Overview

To qualify as a city, a town needs a cathedral, and they don’t come much bigger than Canterbury Cathedral. The official seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, this spectacular Gothic edifice was founded in 602 AD, but the current building is a spectacular blend of Saxon, Norman and medieval features. This was where Thomas Beckett was murdered after crossing King Henry II, and where Geoffrey Chaucer set his Canterbury Tales. As well as the cathedral, the city is dotted with interesting museums and historic relics, including the Pilgrim’s Hospital, which catered to pilgrims to the shrine of Thomas Beckett ...

To qualify as a city, a town needs a cathedral, and they don’t come much bigger than Canterbury Cathedral. The official seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, this spectacular Gothic edifice was founded in 602 AD, but the current building is a spectacular blend of Saxon, Norman and medieval features. This was where Thomas Beckett was murdered after crossing King Henry II, and where Geoffrey Chaucer set his Canterbury Tales. As well as the cathedral, the city is dotted with interesting museums and historic relics, including the Pilgrim’s Hospital, which catered to pilgrims to the shrine of Thomas Beckett in the Middle Ages. Away from these ancient treasures, Canterbury is a typical modern British town, but the center is pleasantly traffic-free, and many visitors take to the River Stour for floating city tours. Befitting the site of a famous murder, ghost tours are also increasingly popular. However, it can get very crowded here in summer, ensuring long queues at the major sights.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    April to October, but expect long queues from June to August.