- WHERE TO STAY
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Like all towns and cities that have significant numbers of tourists there is a range of alternatives to the main draws.
In Canterbury the main draw is of course Canterbury Cathedral for which we have a dedicated page.
All the following attractions are in Canterbury centre within easy walking distance of each other and Canterbury Cathedral.
As you wander down the pedestrianised High Street you will often come across a crowd by Kings Bridge, crossing the River Stour. This is the starting point for the Canterbury River Tour, a very popular and off beat experience.
Unlike other river/water excursions you may take, you are put into a small boat with a handful of others and your guide.
No motorised boat here, your guide is also your power source and will row you along the River Stour at a stately pace taking many opportunities to stop and admire.
The river has had a historic impact on Canterbury and there is much to see.
The Canterbury River Tour is one of those off beat, one off experiences that has proven to be a hit for years and years. The tours leave every 15 to 20 minutes taking around 40 minutes between April and October.
There are two museums in Canterbury you can visit - the Canterbury Roman Museum and the The Beaney - House of Art and Knowledge.
Both museums are very kid-friendly with lots of objects for handling as well as family-friendly activities and workshops.Canterbury Museums - official website
The Roman museum is in the heart of Canterbury. The museum is found in Butchery Lane in the heart of Canterbury's medieval maze of alleys and narrow streets, only about 200m from the tourist office and Canterbury Cathedral. It is very easy to walk straight past it, even when you're actively looking.
The Roman Museum is underground at the level of the original Roman town with just a small entrance at street level. It's a mix of excavated real objects: authentic reconstructions; and preserved remains of a Roman town house with its famous mosaics.
There is an admission charge for adults, children go free.
In 43 AD the Romans invaded Britain. Late in the 1st century they took over the Celtic settlement of Canterbury and rebuilt it. The Romans called the new town Durovernum Cantiacorum. They laid out the new streets in a grid pattern and built public buildings in stone.
In the centre of Roman Canterbury was the Forum, an open space lined by shops and by the basilica a kind of town hall. The Forum acted as the market place. In Roman Canterbury there were temples.
There were also public baths. In Roman times going to the baths was not just a way to keep clean it was also a way to socialise; the Roman equivalent of going to the pub. The town flourished for 300 years but in the 4th century Roman civilisation declined. After the Romans left Britain in 407 AD town life broke down and Canterbury was probably abandoned.
Also home to the Visitor Centre, the museum is west of the Cathedral, near Greyfriars Gardens. Exhibitions here are a diverse lot: the very special 'dragon pendant', Magna Carta Barons, and from your own childhood... Rupert Bear and Bagpuss!
Monthly events are also on offer.
If your visit to Canterbury is for anything other than a quick half day visit to Canterbury Cathedral it is well worth taking a guided walking tour.
The walk will give you a great background to the history of Canterbury from its beginnings to modern day. The walk covers all that is worthwhile in the city centre.
It is a great first item on your agenda, giving you orientation, background and an opportunity to sound out a local guide with no commercial bias of the attractions on offer for you to visit later. You'll hear and see things not in any guide book too.
The walking tour also goes into the cathedral grounds, (though doesn't enter the Cathedral itself) a facet you would otherwise have to pay for. The knowledgeable city guides have been performing this tour uninterrupted since 1948.
Admission charges are very modest and the tour runs daily at 11am and 2pm from in front of the tourist office. During winter months (October to March) only the morning tour operates.
Tickets can be purchased from the official tourist office, directly opposite the front entrance to Canterbury Cathedral.
A much promoted attraction in the middle of the city.
"Inside the historic building of St. Margaret's Church you can step back over 500 years to join Geoffrey Chaucer (England's finest poet) and his colourful characters on their magical pilgrimage from London to the shrine of St. Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral" - that's the marketing message anyway.
The remains of a Norman castle with interpretation panels, an elevated viewing area. Leaflets are available at the tourist information centre opposite the cathedral's main gateway.
Canterbury Castle was established in the 1080s by the Normans and replaced an earlier motte and bailey fortification built at the nearby Dane John.
This great Abbey, marking the rebirth of Christianity in southern England, was founded in AD 597 by St Augustine. Originally created as a burial place for the Anglo-Saxon kings of Kent.
The Abbey is situated outside the city walls. At the Abbey, you can also enjoy a museum and an interactive audio tour.
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