London Sightseeing Tours to Canterbury Cathedral

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Travel Back in History with a Tour of Canterbury Cathedral

Take a London sightseeing trip back in time with a tour of Canterbury Cathedral, one of the most visited places in the country, and then walk along the narrow cobblestone streets and relax in the city of Canterbury in Kent.

I took a guided tour from London which included the romantic Leeds Castle southeast of the city of Maidstone, in the district of Kent.

This day tour also included a visit to the stunning white cliffs of Dover.

London Sightseeing Tours of Canterbury Square
London day trips to Canterbury Town Square

One of the most famous and oldest structures in England, Canterbury Cathedral also forms a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sight-seeing in London Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral Tower

Built over centuries from 1070 – 1834, this cathedral features a combination of Romanesque and gothic styles.

Canterbury Cathedral Entrance
Christ Church Gateway originally built in 1517 by Prior Goldstone and repaired in 1937

In 1993, archaeological excavation under the nave floor led to discoveries of the original Saxon cathedral that had been constructed across a former Roman road.

Canterbury Cathedral Nave
The Canterbury Cathedral Nave has North and South Aisles too

During the Danish raids on Canterbury in 1011, the Saxon cathedral was severely damaged but by 1077, it was rebuilt as a new cathedral in Norman design.

The Quire (choir) on the east was extended to make enough space for the monks of this greatly revived monastery.

Take London Sightseeing Trips to Historic Canterbury

In addition to your sightseeing in London, include a few London day trips to historical sites outside of the city and experience the fascinating history of the countryside, towns and villages.

Stained Glass Depicting the Murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket

A monumental time in the history of Canterbury Cathedral was when the priest Thomas Becket was murdered by knights of King Henry ll in the north-west transept, now known as the Martydom.

London Day Triips Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral Becket Miracle Windows 4 and 5

The king had frequent disagreements with Becket and the knights took it in their hands to murder Priest Becket in his own cathedral.

London Sightseeing Canterbury Cathedral
Explore the Beautiful Canterbury Cathedral Stained Glass Windows on your London Day Trips

After a devastating fire of 1174 which destroyed the entire eastern end, the Quire was again rebuilt in an early example of English Gothic style with high pointed arches, flying buttresses and rib vaulting.

canterbury cathedral dome
Admire The Dome and Grand Architecture at Canterbury Cathedral

London Sightseeing Canterbury Castle

Canterbury Cathedral became a “holy shrine” and a place of healing with the death of Thomas Becket. The sale of “pilgrim badges” to the many pilgrims who travelled from all over to visit Becket’s shrine provided the revenue which paid for the additional rebuilding of the Cathedral and its adjoining buildings.

This is the entrance to the Quire (the old way of spelling Choir).

The grand entrance leads you through hundreds of years back in time and you will feel the magnificent history of the cathedral.

Grand Entrance to the Quire in Canterbury Cathedral

London Sightseeing Tours Includes the City of Canterbury

Inhabited since prehistoric times, Canterbury and the surrounding area have been recorded as having the main settlement of the Celtic Tribe, which inhabited most of Kent.

The Romans captured the settlement in the 1st century AD, which at that time was a Brythonic settlement named Durovernum Cantiacorum, and rebuilt the city including a temple, a theatre, a forum and public baths.

London Day Trips to Canterbury Cathedral
Entrance to Canterbury Cathedral

Later in the 3rd century, the Romans built a wall with seven gates around the city to defend against attacks form barbarians.

Over the centuries, Canterbury has suffered great loss of life, destruction and reconstruction of ancient buildings, Dissolution of the Monasteries, the change of inhabitants from the Paleolihic, Neolithic and Bronze Age, to the Celtic, Romans, Anglo-Saxon and the Jutes which named the city Cantwaraburh, By the 17th century, the French-speaking Huguenots also joined the settlement.

London Sightseeing Tours of Canterbury
Canterbury Cathedral Clock Tower

Canterbury is set on the River Stour, also known as Great Stour, which divides south east of the city with one branch flowing through the city and the other branch around the location of the former city walls.

This is a lovely city to visit on your holidays in London and for a change of scenery after sightseeing in London.

Top 10 Surviving Ancient Structures to Visit on Your London Sightseeing in Canterbury

  1. Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, founded in 597 AD by Augustine.
  2. Queningate from Roman times is a blocked gate in the city wall.
  3. The Dane John Mound, once a part of a Roman cemetery and the Dane John Gardens, built beside the mound from the 18th century.
  4. Ruins of the Norman Canterbury Castle The Saxon St. Martin’s Church and ruins of St. Augustine’s Abbey.
  5. The medieval St. Margaret’s Church, which houses “The Canterbury Tales” using life-sized characters to reconstruct Geoffrey Chaucers’ stories.
  6. The King’s School, perhaps the oldest school in England.
  7. The Westgate, now a museum, is a 60-foot-high medieval gatehouse in the western gate of the city wall in Canterbury.
  8. The largest surviving city gate in England built of Kentish ragstone around 1379. Still well-preserved, it is the last survivor of Canterbury’s seven medieval gates.
  9. Old Synagogue, now the King’s School Music Room at Canterbury, one of only two Egyptian Revival synagogues still standing.
  10. Timber-framed 16th- and 17th -century houses, including the “Old Weaver’s House” used by the Huguenots.

London Sightseeing Canterbury Cafes
Relaxing and dining at a French Restaurant in Canterbury Town Square ]]>

In addition to London sightseeing, plan a few London day trips to unique and ancient sites, castles and settlements like Stonehenge, the Roman baths in the beautiful City of Bath, Windsor Castle, Leeds Castle, Warwick Castle, and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon.

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