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Heavenly Heritage and Literary Legend

Canterbury’s religious and historic significance has inspired literary greatness. Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’ were based on pilgrimages to the bygone shrine of Thomas A Becket, who was murdered here. The Marlowe Theatre is named after the 16th-century playwright born here, and the Canterbury Museum has an exhibit on Rupert Bear, whose author lived in this River Stour city.

River cruises and punting provide fantastic views of the striking weavers’ houses right on the water, and of Westgate - the UK’s largest city gate. Other sections of the city walls remain, and there are also ruins of St Augustine’s Abbey, named after the 6th-century saint who brought Christianity to England. He was the first Archbishop of Canterbury, but the modern-day seat is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral, dating to the 12th century.

From the same period are the Norman castle ruins, occupying the site of a wooden fort constructed by William the Conqueror. The mound they sit on in Dane John Gardens is thought to be a Roman cemetery, and an original mosaic is visible in the Roman Museum.

In the Buttermarket half-timbered houses and historic inns are interspersed with shops, and big name brands line the Whitefriars Shopping Centre. The Canterbury accommodation on Booking.com includes luxury hotels with swimming pools, cheap hostels and city centre B&Bs.