Advantages Historical benefits,good attraction for all the family to learn about
Disadvantages Mnay steps to climb.Apart form that none
|Is it worth visiting?|
Well as my Dover castle review seemed to go down rather well with ratings received, and this is a rather local attraction to me, I thought I would do a review won Canterbury cathedral.
I can view this beautifully from my office window on my construction site, which I think is a privilege really.
The Cathedral was founded in 597AD by St Augustine who landed on the south east corner of England as a missionary from Rome.
St Augustine was given a site in Canterbury to set up his church and this was St Martins, which still stands today.
St Augustine’s original building now lies deep below the floor of the Cathedral nave, and it was rebuilt and enlarged greatly by the Saxons.The cathedral was totally rebuilt by the Normans in 1070 after a major fire destroyed the Cathedral.
In the more recent history of the Cathedral during the Civil War of the 1640’s, a lot of the cathedral had damage caused, smashed windows and generally left to decay. Restoration began after the Civil War in 1660 and took many years to complete.More recently during the Second World War the streets around the Cathedral as with most cities and towns were heavily damaged by the enemy, and the Library was completely destroyed in one attack.
The Cathedral had a crew of volunteers who watched every night during raids (these were called ‘Firewatchers’), patrolling the roofs to deal with any incendiary bombs dropped and likely to cause extensive damage.Finally just some dates of history which may be of interest;
The main route by motorway is to continue down the A2 into Canterbury, following the Pilgrims route on the original Roman road into Kent which traverses the length almost of the whole of England
Getting to the Cathedral
As this is central to Kent access through public transport and motorways is very good.
A local taxi trip from these stations will cost you in the region of £5-6 depending on taxi companies, so I suggest if the weather is good then walk the route and admire the City shopping available.
There is a good Park and Ride scheme in place also to park and hop on a bus into the City.
The cathedral is a fully operational one and therefore respect is expected when you visit and it is restricted for tourists on a Sunday during Mass and other Christian events.
Sunday opening during the year is 12:30 to 14:30 and 16:30 to 17:30 depending on events.When I was younger there wasn’t an entry fee to view the Cathedral and only a donation was accepted to the upkeep of the Cathedral.
Adults £6:50 but if pre booking a group this is reduced to £5:50Children £5:00 and again in pre booked group this is £4:50
The cathedral has a wide range of facilities available and includes toilets, and a small refreshment kiosk just outside the main entrance.Please be aware that the building is Medieval and therefore it has been constructed on three levels, which results and quite a lot of steps and many routes to take. The cathedral offers a small brochure/map for disabled visitors to have in order for them to gain the full benefit of there visit. They also have a number of guides who are trained to give guided tours for the hard of hearing and blind visitors, which I feel is very good
Parking is not on site and they have a few disabled bays available with prior arrangement. But as I stated earlier public transport and car parks within Canterbury are easily accessible to the Cathedral, so it really isn’t a problem at all.
The Cathedral Shop
This does sell the usual merchandise such as postcards, paperweights and pens, but also a lot of locally made souvenirs .They also sell a lot of fair trade goods to help less fortunate countries in way of funds.
They sell pottery from ‘Poole’, guides, books and scented candles. There is a range of Kent produce such as wines, preserves and Canterbury Ale.
The Chapter House from the Cloisters is the largest of its kind in the whole of England, here the Monks used to assemble here for the daily routine of discussing the Cathedral business. Here they studied and met on the small stone benches that still remain today and are worn smooth from use over the centuries.
The CryptThe Crypt dates back to the 11 Th Century and makes this the oldest part of the Cathedral. Many of the original details in the masonry survive, including some fine wall paintings and a lot of carvings in the columns.
The MartyrdomThis is a modern memorial in the spot where Thomas Beckett was murdered. This memorial consists of 2 jagged swords with a broken sword point which cast a shadow on the bare stone alter behind.
The GardensThe grounds and gardens of the Cathedral are called the Kent Memorial gardens. This is well looked after and when I last visited there you were able to sit on the grass and enjoy a packed lunch.
This is truly one of England’s finest Cathedrals if not Europes? Well worth the visit and paying the entrance fee in the knowledge that you are doing you bit for the preservation of our historical buildings. It is in easy access of all major routes from London and it truly is a good morning or afternoon out.
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