When one visits Canterbury, there is perhaps no better place to start than the city's iconic cathedral, a monument to Canterbury's importance throughout the city's history. After all, for almost as long as Christianity has existed in the British Isles, there has been the cathedral. First built in 570, and rebuilt completely after the Norman invasion of England, the cathedral stands as one of the oldest Christian sites in England, and holds the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a post which has acted as leader of the Church of England since the days of Henry VIII. As well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral is also an important pilgrimage site, as thousands still come to pay respects at the shrine of Thomas Becket, who was murdered inside the cathedral in 1170.
Any time spent in Canterbury would not be complete without a visit to this truly iconic stricture.
As its name suggests, the Westgate Towers stand at the western entrance to the city, and once formed parts of the city walls. Though the walls were first built under Roman supervision, the Westgate Towers were built around 1379, and a prison was opened adjacent to the tower in 1453 which acted as a city jail until the 19th century. The jail then became the headquarters of the Canterbury Constabulary, and is now a very cool pub called 'The Pound'.
Today, the Towers form the largest surviving city gate in England, and is a Grade I listed building. Being so close to Westgate Gardens, Canterbury West Station, and the High Street, this is a definite must-see!
Take a walk on the small, attractive garden along the banks of the River Stour, from the historic Westgate Towers at its northern end to the Tower House to the South.
Westgate Gardens follows the path of the old Roman wall, which was destroyed during the Civil War in 1641.
Being one the prime attractions in the city, a visit to Canterbury would be truly wasted without a visit to these gardens.
Canterbury Historic River Tours
Learn all about Canterbury on a beautiful, award-winning boat tour of the city on the picturesque River Stour. These rides offer a unique perspective into the hidden secrets of the hallowed city, with your knowledge of its history enhanced by the friendly, knowledgeable tour guides.