Canterbury Cathedral is very much a working church, and a large part of the local community. Its history stretches back to the 6th century when St Augustine established himself in a Canterbury church that had been used for Christian worship since Roman times. The first cathedral was built and then enlarged upon in following centuries, including a complete rebuilding after fire in 1074. It also served as a monastery until the Dissolution in 1540. During the Civil War, much of the stained glass was destroyed by Puritans, but repairs were made after the Restoration in 1660. In WWII the Cathedral suffered bomb damage but this was not severe, thanks to volunteer firewatchers. The Cathedral now contains more than 1,200 square metres of stained glass, which is currently undergoing a continuing programme of restoration. Canterbury Cathedral is an impressive space, with enormous stone pillars, distant vaulted ceilings and a number of chapels and monuments, as well as a crypt with medieval wall paintings.
Facilities – at a glance
Suitable for all child ages
- Parking nearby
- Fully accessible
- Facilities: Wheelchairs available, ramps, lift, induction loop, disabled parking by arrangement, BSL tours on request, Touch and Hearing centre, wheelchair-friendly tour
- Accessible toilets
- Open all year
- Opening Times: Open all year; summer (BST) Mon–Sat 9–5.30, Sun 12pm–2.30pm; winter Mon–Sat 9–5, Sun 12pm–2.30pm; crypt 10–5.30 (last admission 30mins before closing).Open at other times for services. Always check website as regular restricti
Also in the area
About the area
The White Cliffs of Dover are an English icon – the epitome of our island heritage and sense of nationhood. They also mark the point where the Kent Downs AONB, that great arc of chalk downland stretching from the Surrey Hills and sometimes known as ‘the Garden of England’, finally reaches the sea. This is a well-ordered and settled landscape, where chalk and greensand escarpments look down into the wooded Weald to the south.
Many historic parklands, including Knole Park and Sir Winston Churchill’s red-brick former home at Chartwell, are also worth visiting. Attractive settlements such as Charing, site of Archbishop Cranmer’s Tudor palace, and Chilham, with its magnificent half-timbered buildings and 17th-century castle built on a Norman site, can be found on the Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route for Canterbury-bound pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
In the nature reserves, such as the traditionally coppiced woodlands of Denge Wood and Earley Wood, and the ancient fine chalk woodland of Yockletts Bank high on the North Downs near Ashford, it is still possible to experience the atmosphere of wilderness that must have been felt by the earliest travellers along this ancient ridgeway.
Places to Stay
Restaurants and Pubs
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