Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury (must see)

The formal name of the Canterbury Cathedral is the Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Christ at Canterbury. It is one of the oldest and most well-known Christian structures in all of England and it is a World Heritage Site.

It was originally founded in 597 and has been expanded and rebuilt many times in its history.

In its earliest days, the church was part of a Benedictine monastic community and was the seat of the archbishop. The first bishop was Augustine of Canterbury, a missionary sent in 596 by Pope Gregory I. He also founded Saint Augustine's Abbey, though it was not called that then, located outside the city walls.

The building as it is now was more or less laid out by Archbishop Lanfranc and dedicated in 1077 after the Norman Conquest. It was built from stone from France and designed to be like the Abbey of Saint-Étienne in Caen.

A pivotal moment in the Cathedral's history was the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket. Becket was murdered in the northwest transept in 1170 by knights of King Henry II. The events transformed the Cathedral into a place of pilgrimage. Such pilgrims were depicted in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Today the Archbishop of Canterbury serves as the global leader for the Anglican Communion and leader of the Church of England.

Why You Should Visit:
The Cathedral is a World Heritage Site and one of the most stunning examples of Gothic architecture in England.

Plan to dedicate at least three hours to tour the Cathedral. GPSmyCity offers a self-guided tour to help you explore the Cathedral and its grounds.

Be sure to look up! Some of the most impressive examples of architecture lie in the fan vaulting, ornate carvings, and beautiful stained glassworks.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Canterbury. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Canterbury Cathedral on Map

Sight Name: Canterbury Cathedral
Sight Location: Canterbury, England (See walking tours in Canterbury)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Canterbury, England

Create Your Own Walk in Canterbury

Create Your Own Walk in Canterbury

Creating your own self-guided walk in Canterbury is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Canterbury Introduction Walking Tour

Canterbury Introduction Walking Tour

Canterbury is a UNESCO World Heritage City and one of the most visited cities in England. Canterbury has a long history and has been occupied since Paleolithic times. It was the capital of the Celtic Cantiaci, Romans settled the area for centuries, and the site was the capital of the Kingdom of Kent.

Saint Augustine arrived in Canterbury in 597 to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. The...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Canterbury Cathedral and Grounds

Canterbury Cathedral and Grounds

Canterbury Cathedral, one of the oldest churches that played a crucial role in English Christianity, stands within its own walled area, surrounded by Medieval buildings and ruins.

At the heart of this ensemble rises the cathedral itself, a magnificent example of medieval architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you enter, you'll pass through the imposing Christ Church Gate, a...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles