Canterbury City (Kent - England)

Apart from the 3 UNESCO Sites (Cathedral, Abbey and Church) in Canterbury, the town has quite a bit of places to see and exploration to do! I had almost half a day to explore the rest of Canterbury, esp after St.Martin’s Church flopped!).
The first place I stumbled upon, even before going to Cathedral, was Church of St.Mary Magdalene! This was also a Norman Church built in 1165. The tower that still stands was built in 1505. And it was demolished in 1871 and fell to ruins. Today it’s not under worship, but the garden around it is well maintained and is a good resting place for tourists & locals alike!
Next I did visit the Mercery Lane, which is supposedly one of the famous & most photographed streets in whole of England. It has been in existence since medieval times and still, though there are shops incl Debenhams, it still has a very old world charm. Personally I guess it is overrated, as I’ve seen similar streets, frozen in time, in Edinburgh, Bath etc as well!

My first stop after the main places was the East Bridge Hospital. This was built in 1170s by Edward FitzOdbold, a wealthy local, soon after the death of St.Thomas Becket. This was originally a place to stay and rest for the pilgrims and devotees who visited Canterbury Cathedral. This is a typical Norman architecture with pillars and arches (curved, not pointed). Since Canterbury was the place of miracles for the sick, several pilgrims who visited here were sick! So by 1400s this place was more of a hospital and care & medicines were given to them! This is in 2 floors – the crypt that was used as the dorm and the upper floor which had the chapel. Btw, it was here that I met another solo traveler, Ms.Adaeze and we hung out together for the rest of the day. 


With a companion now, we walked ahead and found the Grey Frairs Chapel. This is located within the Franciscan Gardens. This is the only surviving building of the English Franciscan Friary built in 1267 CE (renovated in 1965). It is believed that this could have been a guest house. The best thing is that it is built across a tiny channel of the Great Stour river with a wooden flooring making the river visible though its gaps. 
It’s supported by 2 pillars on the river with boat tours that go beneath it!!! It’s in 2 floors with a chapel in the 1st floor complete with wooden vaulted ceiling and walls, dedicated to St.Francis of Assisi!!! A room in the ground floor was, at one point of time, used as a prison, evident with the etching on the walls (remember similar in Tower of London?) & heavy iron door! 
We stopped over at West Gate next and it was closed. In the middle ages, there were 6 gates on the city walls. The west gate, built in 1381, being the connection from London, was the most important. Originally this would have had a wooden gate and draw bridge with surrounding moat which are gone today.  

Then we headed to Canterbury Castle. This is in complete ruins!!! The main section is a square plan and the outer wall still partially exists. At the opposite corners are staircases of which only one is accessible to reach the upper floor of the castle from where the Cathedral’s Tower was visible! The beginnings of this Castle begins with the Battle of Hastings! Soon after the conquest, William the Conqueror, ordered the building of castles in Dover, Rochester and here. The castle here was built in what’s now the Dane John gardens, out of wood. By 1086, the foundation for the present stone castle began.

By 12th C CE, this became less popular when compared to Dover Castle! Since then, this was used more like a prison. This slowly fell into disuse by 1590 and by 17th C CE, it was in ruins! In this castle are some iron pipes for plumbing and gas works! Around the castle was a fortification wall and portions of this wall still exists since Roman times (270-90 CE) - Worthgate, Riding Gate

The Riding Gate is still used by cyclists and pedestrians and a walk on this is just awesome with the busy street on one side and the green gardens on the other! At the end of these is the Dane John Gardens (original site of castle) and I just laid down to give a rest to my spine and with the autumn leaves around me, it did make a picturesque shot! 
Other places I missed: Canterbury Tales, War Memorial, Roman Museum, Heritage Museum, Royal Museum & Library (Beaney), Ghost Tour and boat ride in the river.

P.C: Pictures of me were clicked by Ms.Adaeze and pics of us together were clicked by strangers and the rest by yours truly!
P.S: Check out here to know what I wore to Canterbury!

To Get There:
To Canterbury: Refer to my earlier post.
All these sites are walkable from Canterbury Bus & Railway stations.
On Google Maps: Church of St.Mary Magdalene, Mercery Lane, East Bridge Hospital, Grey Frairs Chapel, West Gate Tower, Canterbury Castle, Worth Gate, Riding Gate, Dane John Garden

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

31 comments:

  1. what amazing architecture.The buildings are so beautiful. Nothing like that where i live. The East Bridge Hospital was one of my favorites and Grey Frairs Chapel a second favorite.

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  2. By just looking at the ruins you can tell that they hold so much mystery. It is great looking at attractive, modern infrastructures but there's just something in old things that draw attention.

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  3. Historical ruins really interest me so I would like to visit these places. I hope I get the chance, although since we have not been to England before, these may not exactly be the priority spots to visit for a first timer.

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  4. It's great to meet solo travelers along the way so you can both learn and discover new places and share thoughts. Google Maps views are incredible. These interactive images provide an almost real feel to the place.

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  5. What a cool spot to explore! I really love the old architecture and the rustic look to them! Your photos excite me- I wish I could visit here someday!

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  6. You two looked like you had such great day.. The sites you've visited looks amazing!

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  7. Again a beautiful post on historical ruins of canterbury Castle. There are 3 UNESCO sites in this city which makes this whole city a worth visiting place. After your exploration along the castle, your picture of lying down on Autumn leaves is really wonderful. Taking the picture in 360degree is also a great idea.

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  8. Amazing post! I've always had a soft spot for ruins around the world. It's fascinating how we can still be able to appreciate them, even if it's a bit left of the site. Thank you for sharing - Canterbury City looks like an architecture heaven to explore someday :) Safe travels. - Mariella

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  9. Canterbury is such a fascinating place. It is amazing just how old much of the city is -
    there is so much History there! I have been meaning to visit for a while but have never quite made it there. It looks like you had a fantastic day!

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  10. I had heard of Cantenbury cathedral but had no idea the city had so much more to offer! I've been living in UK for years but haven't made it to South East yet. Should definitely make some time to go and explore Cantenbury and the surrounding areas!

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  11. Mercery Lane is so quaint and historical! I can see why it's one of the most photographed streets in England. So impressive about Canterbury Castle, even it it's just ruins left!

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  12. Canterbury looks so charming and I would love to visit one day if I ever find myself in that part of the country. I specifically love the Grey Frairs Chapel, its history sounds fascinating and the architecture, on the two pillars over the river, is fantastic! The castle looks very interesting as well, it does put your imagination to work, trying to imagine how it used to look like in its glory days.

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  13. Still I'm going with you traveling virtually as you are making a tour to Canterbury City
    What has caught curiousity is the Mercery Lane, which you said the most photographed for it's very old. Is that so?

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  14. I have been to Canterbury when I was younger but cannot really remember. Thanks for the post and the pics, they are a good reminder. Such a pretty city with so much history and a beautiful architecture!

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  15. oooh I love ruins and I love churches. Love your post. I am pinning this for next time uk travels! thanks :)

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  16. I think you have visited more of England than I have, definitely the south of England. I have never been to Canterbury and I didn't know there were 3 UNESCO sites there. Mercery Lane looks a bit like Shambles in York and I too was disappointed with that. I think the street would photograph well though on a clear evening or early morning. I will have to visit the 3 UNESCO sites of the cathedral, abbey and church.

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  17. Such a nice place to visits. The architecture and the history of Canterbury is amazing. It's too late but the castle is still strong and durable. Nice photo. Hopefully one day then I'll be there in England.

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  18. Historical ruins are so interesting to me. These look beautiful and amazing, I hope to go there sometime.

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  19. So much history in that area! The castle is a definite 'to do' when in Canterbury.

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  20. Canterbury Cathedral looks like a historical heaven, so much to see there. Next time I'm in the UK I'd like to check this out

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  21. What a cool place to visit! I am fascinated by the history there, especially the East Bridge Hospital.

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  22. Love seeing the up close and personal images of the castle and churches! You can really tell how much history they hold!

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  23. This place does seem offbeat and nice. The Canterbury castle would be my first pick and knowing me, you know why. I loved your discovery of Grey Frairs Chapel. I sure would want to see that river . Fantastic account Bhushavali

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  24. Ah Canterebury! Walking around there is like going into a wormhole and emerging in a place where fairy tales come to life. The castles, cobblestone streets, and surrounding greenery are simply mesmerizing!

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  25. wow! the place looks magnificent.. i was just at the office a while ago and had a couple of orders that im working on which are based in england.. do hope i get to visit this even just for once.

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  26. It is evident by one look at these buildings how long they have stood firmly through the test of time. I love visiting exactly this kind of architecture. And when in Europe, particularly the churches. It's wonderful to know how they have been restored and maintained through centuries

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  27. I love England. Every place has so much history to explore and learn about. I have been to quite many places of England but not to Kent yet. So it's helpful to learn about it. Thanks for sharing.

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  28. Are Kent and Canterbury related?Thanks to you, now I know the nuances about the Norman architecture.

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  29. Wow, this place is full of amazing architecture and views!

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