Thursday 14 March 2019

Canterbury Tales

“It befell that one day in that season, as I was in Southwark at the Tabard Inn, ready to go on my pilgrimage to Canterbury” – Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Legendary amongst British literature students, a UNESCO World Heritage Site -Canterbury is home to The Canterbury Cathedral: Mother Church for the worldwide Anglican Communion. 

Serving as a backdrop for two acclaimed literary works, Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and Murder in the Cathedral by T.S.Elliot, it was here in 1170 Archbishop Thomas Beckett was murdered at The Canterbury Cathedral. The Cathedral is stunning and enormous too. Marvel at the mind-blowing architecture, paintings telling biblical stories and the detailed carvings on the pillars. Appreciate the hard-work put in painting the stained glass all around the church which is sure to take your breath away. Don’t miss the Martyrdom – the place where St. Thomas was murdered.   The oldest part of the Cathedral, a quiet place – The Crypt is an undercroft complex constructed in Romanesque (Norman) architecture. An ideal place to sit and reflect on life. 

The best way to explore the Cathedral is by following the audio-guide which will give you the freedom to traverse at your own pace. If you like more of an interactive session, go with the guided tour provided by them. The guides are locals and are a treasure trove of information. They also have guide books which you can take back home with you as a souvenir.  For opening timings and entry charges click here.

Amongst other things to do in Canterbury, St.Martin’s Church has the distinction of being the oldest parish church in continuous use in England. From the terrace of the church, you get a magnificent view of the city. Visit their website for up-to-date information on opening timings.
Some of the most important religious artefacts of Saxons’ are displayed in the archaeological collections at the St. Augustine's Abbey, which was one of the significant religious sites in medieval England. An audio tour is available to explore the evocative ruins. Click here for opening times and entry prices.

A fine example of Victorian Gothic architecture is the Catholic Church of St. Thomas. In the new extension, behind the altar is the beautiful mural depicting the saints associated with Canterbury.  Relics of St. Thomas Beckett can be found in this church. Read more.

For the literature enthusiasts, a trip to Canterbury is not complete until you visit The Canterbury Tales and experience Chaucer's famous tales in a captivating and authentic way. Plan your visit well in advance and secure a place by booking a guided tour ticket online, as the place is typically filled with students and visitors alike.

Stay overnight at one of the pretty hotels Canterbury has to offer, while you soak in the experience of the day. There are many good restaurants in the town to satiate the gastronomes.  

Getting there:

Frequent trains leave from London St.Pancras Station to Canterbury. Book in advance to save money, off-peak hours will have further discounts. “Anytime Single” tickets will you give you the flexibility of boarding any train going to Canterbury you choose and back. There is an option to select “Plus bus” while booking train tickets, this will help if you are planning to take bus to go around in Canterbury.  Canterbury is a small town and if you like walking, it is best to explore the town on foot. You can book tickets on South Western Railway