Archive for the ‘Kent/Sussex’ Category

The Sykes’ Canterbury Tales! Part One

Thursday, October 21st, 2010
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If you’re wondering where to book your next holiday cottage, the cathedral city of Canterbury is filled with history and heritage, and enjoys an enviable location in the heart of the rolling Kent countryside. Its proximity to miles of splendid coastline and beaches, such as Herne Bay and Whitstable, the fertile, rolling hills and valley of the Kent countryside, dotted with ancient Oast Houses, and the sights, sounds and historic attractions of London just an hour or so away, makes the area an ideal choice for a South of England cottage holiday.

An ancient and historic city, Canterbury is rich in heritage visitor attractions and the jewel in the city’s sparkling crown is undoubtedly its magnificent cathedral. A site of pilgrimage since the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Becket, so vividly recounted in Chaucer’s famous Canterbury Tales, there are treasures enough here to easily consume a half-day’s visit. Guided tours are the best way to take in all the stories, tall tales and historical facts that have made the cathedral what it is today. See the ancient mediaeval crypt, the oldest in existence in the country, view the spot where Becket was murdered, climb the bell tower for panoramic views over the Kent countryside and marvel at the sheer beauty of the ancient, stained glass windows. Visit the vaulting cloisters and enjoy the abundant beauty of the cathedral’s Precinct Gardens, including a recreated herbarium, a tranquil space filled with plants grown for their healing and restorative properties. The cathedral is one of a trio of World Heritage Sites in the city; St. Martin’s Church and St. Augustine’s Abbey being the other two. The latter stands just beyond the city walls, an impressive ruin created as a final resting place for the Anglo-Saxon kings of Kent, whilst in the town there are a number of interesting museums. Of these, the Roman Museum is the most fascinating, constructed underground around the remains of a Roman villa. A large section of mosaic flooring discovered during site clearing after the destruction of the Second World War forms a centrepiece, but there are artefacts, reconstructions and recreations to give a real sense of how life would have been in ancient times. Other museums include the Canterbury Heritage Museum, the West Gate Towers Museum, in the ancient towers that have ushered visitors in and out of the city for over six centuries, and the Royal Museum and Art Gallery. A guided walk takes in the major sights of the town; visit by night and enjoy a popular Ghost Tour around the Old Town. A punt trip on the river Stour is a pleasant and relaxing way to experience the beauty of Canterbury, by day or in the evening.  Follow the city wall trail and take in the remains of Canterbury’s Norman Castle, before enjoying a little retail therapy in the varied shops of the old town. There’s everything from major high street stores to plenty of independent and specialist shops, together with a good choice of venues for eating and drinking.