St Martin's Church, Canterbury

St Martin's Church, Canterbury (must see)

Saint Martin's Church is known as England's oldest church still used as a church and the oldest parish church in the English-speaking world. Records indicate the church building originated during the fifth or sixth century.

King Ethelberht and Queen Bertha of Kent renovated this Romano-British building around AD 580. The church was dedicated to St Martin of Tours.

Saint Augustine of Canterbury arrived in 597 and expanded the church. Saint Augustine was on a mission to convert the English to Christianity, and he baptized King Ethelberht in Saint Martin's.

Saint Martin's construction includes Roman tiles and reused Roman bricks. In addition, the remains of a Roman tomb were integrated into the building.

The church has been modified over the centuries. The blocked square-headed doorway in the chancel might have been the entrance to the church during Queen Bertha's time. Parts of the church wall, including the nave, were built in the seventh or eighth century. The tower was built in the 14th century in the English Gothic style.

Why You Should Visit

Saint Martin's has been a place for Christians to gather since the sixth century. It was here that Saint Augustine first arrived to spread the message of Christianity.


Don't miss visiting the church graveyard. Well-known gravesites include artist Thomas Sidney Cooper and writer Mary Tourtel, Rupert Bear's creator.

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 iTunes 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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St Martin's Church on Map

Sight Name: St Martin's Church
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 Cathedral and Grounds

Canterbury Cathedral and Grounds

Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest regional Christian churches that played a major role in English Christianity. The Cathedral stands within its own walled area, surrounded by Medieval buildings and ruins. This self-guided walking tour takes you to see all the historically significant, magnificent structures within the precinct. It’s an amazing trip back to the Middle Ages.

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