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 cathedralís 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 cityís 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.
Motherchurch of the Anglican Communion, seat of the Archbishop. Stunning stained glass. Eleventh Century Crypt, Twelfth Century Quire, Fourteenth Century Nave.
Flowing through the heart of historic Canterbury, the river is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of one of the country's busiest city centres.
Relaxing River Stour Tours through public gardens, breathtaking countryside and the city. A choice of short, long and city trips available.
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 Augustineís 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 Canterburyís 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 priestsí 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 Englandís 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 holesí and explore the turrets with panoramic views from the battlements.
Allow approximately 45 minutes.
This great Abbey, marking the rebirth of Christianity in southern England, was founded in AD 597 by St Augustine.
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.
Discover Canterbury's history, from millions of years ago to the present, explored through interactive displays in an amazing medieval building.
Canterbury's most iconic attraction after Canterbury Cathedral and a 'must' for visitors whilst in the city. With fine views from the battlements, the history of England's finest remaining gatehouse is truly fascinating.
Canterbury Ghost Tour
If you are staying overnight on a Friday evening, you can join a ghostly tour of Canterbury. This is a mix of local history, humour and hauntings in the shadows of the old City.
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.
Group Visits at Canterbury Roman Museum
Explore the Roman town beneath your feet. Canterbury's underground Roman Museum is built around the remains of a Roman town house with mosaics preserved where excavated.
Descend 100 years with each step or by lift to the Roman street level. Stroll through the marketplace, look inside recreated Roman rooms, and discover amazing finds including a hoard of hidden treasure.
See how little has changed since Roman times when viewing rare tools, or how much could be made of simple items like bones. Be amazed by collections of intricate Roman glass flasks and bottles, jewellery and a silver spoon hoard.
Handle, sort and classify real Roman pottery fragments and other objects relating to Roman:
- everyday life
- building materials
Museum highlights include Roman:
- mosaic floors preserved where excavated
- hypocaust (underfloor heating system) preserved where excavated
- digital reconstruction of a Roman town house
- rare cavalry horse-harness fittigs, one of only two sets in the world
- rare tools - Roman spade, carpenter's square and mason's trowel
- gateway hinge, part of Canterbury's Riding Gate on Watling Street to Dover
- building materials including roof tiles with Roman dog-paw prints
- painted plaster fragments with flowers, patterns and dancer's feet
- finds from Canterbury's Roman baths, including gaming counters, toiletry items and bath lining
- figurines of gods including horse goddess and Gaulish male
- metal vessels, ewers and dishes used in religious ceremonies
- pottery, imported fine Samian ware and locally-made pots
The impressive pillared entrance is in Butchery Lane and very close to the Cathedral.
Group rates apply to 10 or more. It is best to allow parties to go round in supervised groups of 15. The hands-on area at the Roman Museum seats up to 16 students. If you are bringing a whole class to this museum you will need to divide them in half: while one group works in the hands-on area, the other group can use the museum displays. If you are bringing parties of 35 or more to any of the museums then these will need to be split into smaller units to ease congestion at the entrance. Please contact front of house staff to discuss access for larger parties.
Duration of visit
Allow plenty of time to enjoy your visit: 45 minutes to 1 hour for the Canterbury Roman Museum. If the group is using the hands-on area at the Canterbury Roman Museum please allow an extra 30 minutes. Allow 20 minutes from the coach park - also add in some extra time for delays, which may occur on your journey.
Planning a visit
Teachers and group organisers are welcome to make a preliminary visit free of charge and to discuss with staff the practical arrangements for a group visit, and how to link to other attractions.
To ensure access without overcrowding, please telephone first to check available times and to make a booking.
For an additional charge, let an experienced guide show you round the Museum of Canterbury and/or Roman Museum. The tours last approximately 45 minutes and can be arranged to suit different ages and interests. They are operated separately by the Guild of Guides and are available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, and Russian. Payment for tours should be made directly to the guide. Please contact the Canterbury Tourist Guides on 01227 459 779
or by emailing email@example.com.
There is a lunch room at the Canterbury Heritage Museum which must be booked in advance of your visit. 60p per pupil/student. For more information on booking this room, please contact the Canterbury Heritage Museum on 01227 475 202.