Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1988
Size of heritage: 18 ha
Canterbury, in Kent, has been the seat of the spiritual head of the Church of England for nearly five centuries. Canterbury's other important monuments are the modest Church of St Martin, the oldest church in England; the ruins of the Abbey of St Augustine, a reminder of the saint's evangelizing role in the Heptarchy from 597; and Christ Church Cathedral, a breathtaking mixture of Romanesque and Perpendicular Gothic, where Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170.
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Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church: A Testament to British History
Located in the picturesque County of Kent, England, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural significance of the United Kingdom. This remarkable site encompasses three distinct religious landmarks, each with its own unique story and architectural splendor.
The history of this heritage site dates back to the 6th century when St Augustine arrived in England as a missionary. He established a monastery on the grounds where St Augustine's Abbey now stands, making it the first Christian site in the country. Over the centuries, the abbey grew in prominence and became a center of learning and spirituality.
Canterbury Cathedral, the centerpiece of the site, was founded in 597 AD and has since been the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England. The cathedral has witnessed numerous historical events, including the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, which turned the site into a place of pilgrimage and led to the construction of the magnificent Becket's Shrine.
St Martin's Church, the oldest parish church in continuous use in England, completes the trio of religious landmarks. It was originally built in the 6th century and has undergone several renovations and additions over the centuries. The church's Saxon tower and Norman nave are particularly noteworthy architectural features.
Today, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church continue to be places of worship, attracting visitors from around the world. The cathedral, with its stunning Gothic architecture, is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. Its intricate stained glass windows, soaring spires, and the famous Bell Harry Tower are awe-inspiring sights that leave visitors in awe.
St Augustine's Abbey, although now in ruins, still retains its historical and spiritual significance. The remains of the abbey provide a glimpse into the monastic life of the past, and visitors can explore the ruins, including the impressive abbey church and the remains of the cloister.
St Martin's Church, with its ancient tower and beautiful interior, offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere. Visitors can admire the church's medieval stained glass windows and marvel at the craftsmanship of the Norman architecture.
Aside from their religious importance, these three sites also hold immense cultural significance. They have been the inspiration for countless works of art, literature, and music, and have played a crucial role in shaping the history and identity of the United Kingdom.
Efforts are continuously made to preserve and protect this UNESCO World Heritage site. Conservation projects ensure that the architectural integrity of the buildings is maintained, and educational programs and guided tours allow visitors to learn about the history and significance of the site.
Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Abbey, and St Martin's Church stand as a testament to the enduring power of faith, history, and architecture. Their inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage list ensures that future generations can appreciate and learn from these remarkable landmarks, forever preserving their legacy.
Hotels and places to stay
Canterbury Cathedral Lodge
Hawks Lane Lodge
TRAVELODGE CANTERBURY CHAUCER CENTRAL
Castle House Hotel
Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel
The Retro B&B
Canterbury City Centre
Videos from the area
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Medium airport - 12 mi (20 km) Lydd Airport
Medium airport - 23 mi (38 km) Rochester Airport
Small airport - 26 mi (42 km) Southend Airport
Medium airport - 26 mi (43 km) Calais-Dunkerque Airport
Medium airport - 44 mi (71 km) London City Airport
Large airport - 47 mi (76 km) Wethersfield Airport
Small airport - 54 mi (87 km) London Stansted Airport
Large airport - 55 mi (90 km) London Gatwick Airport
Large airport - 56 mi (90 km) Le Touquet-Côte d'Opale Airport
Medium airport - 58 mi (93 km) RAF Mildenhall
Large airport - 79 mi (128 km) RAF Lakenheath
Large airport - 81 mi (131 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Canvey Island
- High Halstow
- Paddock Wood
- Upper Stoke
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Herne Bay
- Lower Hardres
- Shalmsford Street
- Stelling Minnis
- Upper Hardres