Canterbury (/ˈkæntərbri/ ( listen), /-bəri/, or
/-bɛri/) is a historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World
Heritage Site, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a
local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury is the primate of the Church of England
and the worldwide
Anglican Communion owing to the importance of St
Augustine, who served as the apostle to the pagan Kingdom of Kent
around the turn of the 7th century. The city's cathedral became a
major focus of pilgrimage following the 1170 martyrdom of Thomas
Becket, although it had already been a well-trodden pilgrim
destination since the murder of St
Alphege by the men of King Canute
in 1012. A journey of pilgrims to Becket's shrine served as the frame
for Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century classic The
Canterbury is a popular tourist destination: consistently one of the
most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, the city's economy is
heavily reliant upon tourism. The city has been occupied since
Paleolithic times and served as the capital of the Celtic
Jute Kingdom of Kent. Many historical structures fill the area,
including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th
century, the ruins of
St Augustine's Abbey
St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and
the oldest extant school in the world, the King's School. Modern
additions include the
Marlowe Theatre and the St Lawrence Ground, home
Kent County Cricket Club. There is also a substantial student
population, brought about by the presence of the University of Kent,
Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative
Arts, and the Girne American University
Canterbury remains, however, a small city in terms of geographical
size and population, when compared with other British cities.
2.1 Early history
2.2 14th–17th centuries
2.3 18th century–present
8.2.1 Marlowe Theatre
8.3.1 The cathedral
8.3.2 The city
22.214.171.124 Early modern
9 Public transport
10.1 Universities and colleges
10.2 Primary and secondary schools
10.3 Weekend education
11 Local media
11.2 Radio and television
12 Notable people
13 International relations
14 See also
17 External links
The Roman settlement of
Durovernum Cantiacorum ("Kentish Durovernum")
occupied the location of an earlier British town whose ancient British
name has been reconstructed as *Durou̯ernon ("Stronghold by the Alder
Grove"), although the name is sometimes supposed to have derived
from various British names for the Stour. (Medieval variants of the
Roman name include Dorobernia and Dorovernia.) In Sub-Roman
Britain, it was known in
Old Welsh as Cair Ceint ("Fortress of
Kent"). Occupied by the Jutes, it became known in
Old English as
Cantwareburh ("Kentish Stronghold"), which developed into its
"History of Canterbury" redirects here. For the history of the
regional area of this name in New Zealand, see History of the
St. Augustine's Abbey, which forms part of the city's UNESCO World
Heritage Site, was where Christianity was brought to England.
Main article: Durovernum Cantiacorum
Canterbury area has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Lower
Paleolithic axes, and
Bronze Age pots have been found in
Canterbury was first recorded as the main settlement of
the Celtic tribe of the Cantiaci, which inhabited most of modern-day
Kent. In the 1st century AD, the Romans captured the settlement and
named it Durovernum Cantiacorum. The Romans rebuilt the city, with
new streets in a grid pattern, a theatre, a temple, a forum, and
public baths. Although they did not maintain a major military
garrison, its position on
Watling Street relative to the major Kentish
Dubrae (Dover), and
gave it considerable strategic importance. In the late 3rd
century, to defend against attack from barbarians, the Romans built an
earth bank around the city and a wall with seven gates, which enclosed
an area of 130 acres (53 ha).
St. Augustine's Abbey gateway
Despite being counted as one of the 28 cities of Sub-Roman
Britain, it seems that after the Romans left Britain in 410
Durovernum Cantiacorum was abandoned except by a few farmers and
gradually decayed. Over the next 100 years, an Anglo-Saxon
community formed within the city walls, as Jutish refugees arrived,
possibly intermarrying with the locals. In 597, Pope Gregory the
Great sent Augustine to convert its King Æthelberht to Christianity.
After the conversion, Canterbury, being a Roman town, was chosen by
Augustine as the centre for his episcopal see in Kent, and an abbey
and cathedral were built. Augustine thus became the first Archbishop
of Canterbury. The town's new importance led to its revival, and
trades developed in pottery, textiles, and leather. By 630, gold coins
were being struck at the
Canterbury mint. In 672, the Synod of
Hertford gave the see of
Canterbury authority over the entire English
In 842 and 851,
Canterbury suffered great loss of life during Danish
raids. In 978, Archbishop
Dunstan refounded the abbey built by
Augustine, and named it St Augustine's Abbey. A second wave of
Danish attacks began in 991, and in 1011 the cathedral was burnt and
Alphege was killed in 1012. Remembering the destruction
caused by the Danes, the inhabitants of
Canterbury did not resist
William the Conqueror's invasion in 1066. William immediately
ordered a wooden motte-and-bailey castle to be built by the Roman city
wall. In the early 12th century, the castle was rebuilt with
After the murder of Archbishop
Thomas Becket at the cathedral in 1170,
Canterbury became one of the most notable towns in Europe, as pilgrims
from all parts of Christendom came to visit his shrine. This
pilgrimage provided the framework for Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century
collection of stories, The
Canterbury Castle was
captured by the French Prince Louis during his 1215 invasion of
England, before the death of John caused his English supporters to
desert his cause and support the young Henry III.
Canterbury is associated with several saints from this period who
lived in Canterbury:
Saint Augustine of Canterbury
Saint Anselm of Canterbury
Saint Thomas Becket
Saint Theodore of Tarsus
Saint Adrian of Canterbury
Saint Æthelberht of Kent
Huguenot weavers' houses near the High Street
Black Death hit
Canterbury in 1348. At 10,000,
Canterbury had the
10th largest population in England; by the early 16th century, the
population had fallen to 3,000. In 1363, during the Hundred Years'
War, a Commission of Inquiry found that disrepair, stone-robbing and
ditch-filling had led to the Roman wall becoming eroded. Between 1378
and 1402, the wall was virtually rebuilt, and new wall towers were
added. In 1381, during Wat Tyler's Peasants' Revolt, the castle
and Archbishop's Palace were sacked, and Archbishop Sudbury was
beheaded in London. Sudbury is still remembered annually by the
Christmas mayoral procession to his tomb at
Canterbury Cathedral. In
1413 Henry IV became the only sovereign to be buried at the cathedral.
Canterbury was granted a City Charter, which gave it a mayor
and a high sheriff; the city still has a
Lord Mayor and Sheriff.
In 1504 the cathedral's main tower, the Bell Harry Tower, was
completed, ending 400 years of building.
The Westgate is the largest surviving city gate in England. It
survived a demolition attempt for a road-widening scheme in Victorian
During the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the city's priory, nunnery
and three friaries were closed. St Augustine's Abbey, the 14th richest
England at the time, was surrendered to the Crown, and its church
and cloister were levelled. The rest of the abbey was dismantled over
the next 15 years, although part of the site was converted to a
palace. Thomas Becket's shrine in the Cathedral was demolished and
all the gold, silver and jewels were removed to the Tower of London,
and Becket's images, name and feasts were obliterated throughout the
kingdom, ending the pilgrimages.
By the 17th century, Canterbury's population was 5,000; of whom 2,000
were French-speaking Protestant Huguenots, who had begun fleeing
persecution and war in the
Spanish Netherlands in the mid-16th
Huguenots introduced silk weaving into the city, which by
1676 had outstripped wool weaving.
Robert Cushman negotiated the lease of the
Mayflower at 59
Palace Street for the purpose of transporting the
Pilgrims to America.
In 1647, during the English Civil War, riots broke out when
Canterbury's puritan mayor banned church services on Christmas Day.
The rioters' trial the following year led to a
Kent revolt against the
Parliamentarian forces, contributing to the start of the second phase
of the war. However,
Canterbury surrendered peacefully to the
Parliamentarians after their victory at the Battle of Maidstone.
Canterbury Castle fell into disrepair.
The Buttermarket, Canterbury
The city's first newspaper, the Kentish Post, was founded in 1717.
It merged with the newly founded
Kentish Gazette in 1768.
By 1770, the castle had fallen into disrepair, and many parts of it
were demolished during the late 18th century and early 19th
century. In 1787 all the gates in the city wall, except for
Westgate—the city jail—were demolished as a result of a commission
that found them impeding to new coach travel.
was opened in 1808 just outside the city boundary. By 1820 the
city's silk industry had been killed by imported Indian muslins;
its trade was thereafter mostly limited to hops and wheat. The
Whitstable Railway, the world's first passenger
railway, was opened in 1830; bankrupt by 1844, it was
purchased by the South Eastern Railway, which connected the town to
its larger network in 1846. The London, Chatham, and
in 1860; the competition and cost-cutting between the lines was
resolved by merging them as the South Eastern and Chatham in 1899.
St Augustine's Abbey
St Augustine's Abbey was refurbished for use as a missionary
college for the Church of England's representatives in the British
colonies. Between 1830 and 1900, the city's population grew from
15,000 to 24,000.
During the First World War, a number of barracks and voluntary
hospitals were set up around the city, and in 1917 a German bomber
crash-landed near Broad Oak Road. During the Second World War,
10,445 bombs dropped during 135 separate raids destroyed 731
homes and 296 other buildings in the city, including the missionary
college and Simon Langton Girls' Grammar Schools, and 115 people
were killed. The most devastating raid was on 1 June 1942 during
the Baedeker Blitz.
Before the end of the war, architect
Charles Holden drew up plans to
redevelop the city centre, but locals were so opposed that the
Citizens' Defence Association was formed and swept to power in the
1945 municipal elections. Rebuilding of the city centre eventually
began 10 years after the war. A ring road was constructed in
stages outside the city walls some time afterwards to alleviate
growing traffic problems in the city centre, which was later
pedestrianised. The biggest expansion of the city occurred in the
1960s, with the arrival of the University of
Christ Church College.
The 1980s saw visits from
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II,
and the beginning of the annual
Canterbury Festival. Canterbury
received its own radio station in CTFM, now KMFM Canterbury, in 1997.
Between 1999 and 2005, the
Whitefriars Shopping Centre underwent major
redevelopment. In 2000, during the redevelopment, a major
archaeological project was undertaken by the
Trust, known as the Big Dig, which was supported by Channel Four's
Another famous visitor was Mahatma Gandhi, who came to the city in
October 1931; he met Hewlett Johnson, then Dean of Canterbury.
The Member of Parliament for the
Canterbury constituency, which
includes Whitstable, is
Rosie Duffield of the Labour Party.
Canterbury, along with
Whitstable and Herne Bay, is in the City of
Canterbury local government district. The city's urban area consists
of the six electoral wards of Barton,
Blean Forest, Northgate, St
Stephens, Westgate, and Wincheap. These wards have eleven of the fifty
seats on the
Canterbury City Council. Six of these seats are held by
the Liberal Democrats, four by the Conservatives and one by Labour.
The city became a county corporate in 1461, and later a county borough
under the Local Government Act 1888. In 1974 it lost its status as the
smallest county borough in England, after the Local Government Act
1972, and came under the control of
Kent County Council.
Canterbury city walls
Canterbury is located at 51°16′30″N 1°05′13″E /
51.27500°N 1.08694°E / 51.27500; 1.08694 (51.275, 1.087) in
east Kent, about 55 miles (89 km) east-southeast of London. The
coastal towns of Herne Bay and
Whitstable are 6 miles (10 km) to
the north, and
Faversham is 8 miles (13 km) to the northwest.
Nearby villages include Rough Common,
Sturry and Tyler Hill. The civil
Thanington Without is to the southwest; the rest of the city
is unparished. Harbledown,
Wincheap and Hales Place are suburbs of the
The city is on the River Stour or Great Stour, flowing from its source
Lenham north-east through Ashford to the
English Channel at
Sandwich. The river divides south east of the city, one branch flowing
though the city, the other around the position of the former walls.
The two branches rejoin or are linked several times, but finally
recombine around the town of Fordwich, on the edge of the marshland
north east of the city. The Stour is navigable on the tidal section to
Fordwich, although above this point canoes and other small craft can
be used. Punts and rowed river boats are available for hire in
Canterbury. The geology of the area consists mainly of brickearth
overlying chalk. Tertiary sands overlain by
London clay form St.
Thomas's Hill and St. Stephen's Hill about a mile northwest of the
Canterbury experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen climate
classification Cfb), similar to almost all of the United Kingdom.
Canterbury enjoys mild temperatures all year round, being between
1.8 °C (35.2 °F) and 22.8 °C (73 °F). There is
relatively little rainfall throughout the year.
Climate data for Canterbury
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: 
Source #2: 
2001 UK Census
At the 2001 UK census, C the total population
of the city's urban area wards was 43,432, with 135,278 within the
Canterbury district. In 2011, the total district population was
counted as 151,200, with an 11.7% increase from 2001.
For 2001, residents of the city had an average age of 37.1 years,
younger than the 40.2 average of the district and the
38.6 average for England. Of the 17,536 households, 35% were
one-person households, 39% were couples, 10% were lone parents, and
15% other. Of those aged 16–74 in the city, 27% had a higher
education qualification, higher than the 20% national average.
Compared with the rest of England, the city had an above-average
proportion of foreign-born residents, at around 12%. Ninety-five
percent of residents were recorded as white; the largest minority
group was recorded as Asian, at 1.8% of the population. Religion was
recorded as 68.2% Christian, 1.1% Muslim, 0.5% Buddhist, 0.8% Hindu,
0.2% Jewish, and 0.1% Sikh. The rest either had no religion, an
alternative religion, or did not state their religion.
Population growth in
Canterbury since 1901
Source: A Vision of Britain through Time
Shops in Butchery Lane.
Canterbury Cathedral seen in the background.
Canterbury district retains approximately 4,761 businesses, up to
60,000 full and part-time employees and was worth
£1.3 billion in 2001. This makes the district the second
largest economy in Kent. Unemployment in the city has dropped
significantly since 2001 owing to the opening of the Whitefriars
shopping complex which introduced thousands of job opportunities.
In April 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams,
controversially made a strong speech arguing that salary caps should
be implemented to curb the pay of the rich in an attempt to manage the
growth of the economy. The city's economy benefits mainly from
significant economic projects such as the
Canterbury Enterprise Hub,
Lakesview International Business Park and the Whitefriars retail
development. Tourism contributes £258m to the
and has been a "cornerstone of the local economy" for a number of
Canterbury Cathedral alone generates over one million visitors
Canterbury has a high GDP per capita, it is higher than
Kent average of $42,500 at $51,900 making it one of the wealthiest
places in the South East. The registered unemployment rate as of
September 2011 stands at 5.7%.
Canterbury Cathedral is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion
and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Founded in 597 AD by
Augustine, it forms a World Heritage Site, along with the Saxon St.
Martin's Church and the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey. With one
million visitors per year, it is one of the most visited places in the
country. Services are held at the cathedral three or more times a
Roman Museum houses an in situ mosaic pavement dating from around
300 AD. Surviving structures from the Roman times include
Queningate, a blocked gate in the city wall, and the Dane John Mound,
once part of a Roman cemetery. The Dane John Gardens were built
beside the mound in the 18th century, and a memorial was placed on the
mound's summit. A windmill was on the mound between 1731 and 1839.
The ruins of the Norman
Canterbury Castle and
St Augustine's Abbey
St Augustine's Abbey are
both open to the public. The medieval St Margaret's Church now houses
Canterbury Tales", in which life-sized character models
reconstruct Geoffrey Chaucer's stories. The Westgate is now a museum
relating to its history as a jail. The medieval church of St Alphege
became redundant in 1982 but had a new lease of life as the Canterbury
Urban Studies Centre, later renamed the
Canterbury Environment Centre;
the building is used by the King's School. The Old Synagogue, now the
King's School Music Room, is one of only two Egyptian Revival
synagogues still standing. The city centre contains many timber-framed
16th and 17th century houses, however there are far fewer than there
were before the Second World War, as many were damaged during the
Baedecker Blitz. Many are still standing, including the "Old Weaver's
House" used by the Huguenots. St Martin's Mill is the only
surviving mill out of the six known to have stood in Canterbury. It
was built in 1817 and worked until 1890; it is now a house
conversion. St Thomas of
Canterbury Church is the only Roman
Catholic church in the city and contains relics of Thomas Becket.
Canterbury Heritage Museum
Canterbury Heritage Museum houses many exhibits - including the Rupert
Bear Museum. The Herne Bay Times has reported that the Heritage at
Risk Register includes 19 listed buildings in
Canterbury which need
urgent repair but for which the council has insufficient funds.
The city's theatre and concert hall is the
Marlowe Theatre named after
Christopher Marlowe, who was born in the city in Elizabethan times. He
was baptised in the city's St George's Church, which was destroyed
during the Second World War. The old
Marlowe Theatre was located
in St Margaret's Street and housed a repertory theatre. The Gulbenkian
Theatre, at the University of Kent, also serves the city, housing also
a cinema and café. The
Marlowe Theatre was completely rebuilt and
reopened in October 2011.
Besides the two theatres, theatrical performances take place at
several areas of the city, for instance the cathedral and St
Augustine's Abbey. The premiere of
Murder in the Cathedral
Murder in the Cathedral by T. S.
Eliot took place at
The oldest surviving Tudor theatre in
Canterbury is now the
Shakespeare, formerly known as Casey's. There are several theatre
groups based in Canterbury, including the University of
Union's T24 Drama Society, The
Canterbury Players and
Marlowe Theatre is (at the time of writing) the
largest theatre in the region, offering touring productions and
concerts. The programme includes musicals, drama, ballet, contemporary
dance, classical orchestras, opera, children's shows, pantomime,
stand-up comedy and concerts. There is also a second performance space
called the Marlowe Studio, dedicated to creative activity and the
programming of new work. The
Marlowe Theatre can be seen from many
points throughout the city centre, considering it is the only modern
and tall structure.
Polyphonic music written for the monks of Christ Church
cathedral) survives from the 13th century. The cathedral may have had
an organ as early as the 12th century, though the names of
organists are only recorded from the early 15th century. One of
the earliest named composers associated with
Canterbury Cathedral was
Leonel Power, who was appointed master of the new Lady Chapel choir
formed in 1438.
The Reformation brought a period of decline in the cathedral's music
which was revived under Dean
Thomas Neville in the early 17th century.
Neville introduced instrumentalists into the cathedral's music who
played cornett and sackbut, probably members of the city's band of
waits. The cathedral acquired sets of recorders, lutes and viols for
the use of the choir boys and lay-clerks.
As was common in English cities in the Middle Ages, Canterbury
employed a town band known as the Waits. There are records of payments
to the Waits starting from 1402, though they probably existed earlier
than this. The Waits were disbanded by the city authorities in 1641
for 'misdemeanors' but were reinstated in 1660 when they played for
the visit of King Charles II on his return from exile. Waits were
eventually abolished nationally by the Municipal Corporations Act of
1835. A modern early music group called The
Canterbury Waits has
revived the name.
Canterbury Catch Club was a musical and social club which met in
the city between 1779 and 1865. The club (male only) met weekly in the
winter. It employed an orchestra to assist in performances in the
first half of the evening. After the interval, the members sang
catches and glees from the club's extensive music library (now
deposited at the Cathedral Archives in Canterbury).
The city gave its name to a musical genre known as the Canterbury
Canterbury Scene, a group of progressive rock, avant-garde
and jazz musicians established within the city during the late 1960s
and early 1970s. Some very notable
Canterbury bands were Soft Machine,
Caravan, Matching Mole, Egg, Hatfield and the North, National Health,
Gilgamesh, Soft Heap, Khan, Camel and In Cahoots. Over the years, with
band membership changes and new bands evolving, the term has been used
to describe a musical style or subgenre, rather than a regional group
of musicians. During the 1970-80's the
Canterbury 'Odeon' now the
site of the 'New Marlow' played host to many of the Punk and new wave
bands of the era including, The Clash, The Ramones, Blondie, Sham69,
Magazine, XTC, Dr Feelgood, Elvis Costello and The Attractions, and
The University of
Kent has hosted concerts by bands including Led
Zeppelin and The Who. During the late seventies and early
Canterbury Odeon hosted a number of major acts, including
The Cure and Joy Division. The
Marlowe Theatre is also used
for many musical performances, such as
Don McLean in 2007, and
Fairport Convention in 2008. A regular music and dance venue is
the Westgate Hall.
Canterbury Choral Society gives regular concerts in Canterbury
Cathedral, specialising in the large-scale choral works of the
classical repertory. The
Canterbury Orchestra, founded in 1953, is
a thriving group of enthusiastic players who regularly tackle major
works from the symphonic repertoire. Other musical groups include
Canterbury Singers (also founded in 1953), Cantemus, and the City
Canterbury Chamber Choir. The University of
Kent has a Symphony
Orchestra, a University Choir, a Chamber Choir, and a University
Concert Band and Big Band.
Canterbury Festival takes place over two weeks in October each
Canterbury and the surrounding towns. It includes a wide range
of musical events ranging from opera and symphony concerts to world
music, jazz, folk, etc., with a Festival Club, a Fringe and Umbrella
Canterbury also hosts the annual Lounge On The Farm
festival in July, which mainly sees performances from rock, indie and
The reggae/ska musician
Judge Dread played his last gig at the Penny
Theatre. His final words were "Let's hear it for the band." He then
went offstage, suffered a major heart attack and died, despite help
from both ambulance crews and the audience.
Composers with an association with
Thomas Tallis (c. 1505–1585), became a lay clerk (singing man) at
Canterbury Cathedral c. 1540 and was subsequently appointed a
Gentleman of the
Chapel Royal in 1543.
John Ward (1571–1638), born in Canterbury, a chorister at Canterbury
Cathedral, composed madrigals, works for viol consort, services, and
Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625), organist, composer and Gentleman of the
Chapel Royal, who died in
Canterbury and was buried in the cathedral.
William Flackton (1709–1798), born in Canterbury, a chorister at
Canterbury Cathedral, was an organist, viola player and composer.
John Marsh (1752–1828), lawyer, amateur composer and concert
organiser, wrote two symphonies for the
Canterbury Orchestra before
moving to Chichester in 1784.
Thomas Clark (1775–1859), shoemaker and organist at the Methodist
church in Canterbury, composer of 'West Gallery' hymns and psalm
George Job Elvey (1816–1893), organist and composer, was born in
Canterbury and trained as a chorister at the cathedral.
Alan Ridout (1934–1996) educator and broadcaster, composer of
church, orchestral and chamber music.
Peter Maxwell Davies
Peter Maxwell Davies was appointed an Honorary Fellow of
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University at a ceremony in Canterbury
Canterbury Cathedral organists composed services, anthems, hymns,
St Lawrence Ground
St Lawrence Ground
St Lawrence Ground is notable as one of the two grounds used regularly
for first-class cricket that have a tree within the boundary (the
other is the
City Oval in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa). It is the
home ground of
Kent County Cricket Club and has hosted several One Day
Internationals, including one
England match during the 1999 Cricket
Canterbury City F.C.
Canterbury City F.C. reformed in 2007 as a community interest company
and currently compete in the Southern Counties East Football League.
The previous incarnation of the club folded in 2001. Canterbury
RFC were founded in 1926 and became the first East
Kent club to
achieve National League status and currently play in the fourth tier,
National League 2 South.
Tour de France
Tour de France has visited the city twice. In 1994 the tour passed
through, and in 2007 it held the finish for Stage 1.
Canterbury Hockey Club
Canterbury Hockey Club is one of the largest clubs in the country and
both men's 1st XI and women's 1st XI compete in the
League. Former Olympic gold medal winner
Sean Kerly also a member
of the club.
Sporting activities for the public are provided at the Kingsmead
Leisure Centre, which has a 33-metre (108 ft) swimming pool and a
sports hall for football, basketball, and badminton.
Canterbury West railway station. The world's first regular passenger
railway ran from this site, and it was here that the world's first
season ticket was issued. Today, the railway station connects with
"High Speed 1", on which trains run to
London at up to 140 miles per
hour (225 km/h).
Canterbury was the terminus of the
(known locally as the Crab and Winkle line) which was a pioneer line,
opened on 3 May 1830, and closed in 1953. The
Whitstable was the first regular passenger steam railway in the
world. The first station in
Canterbury was at North Lane.
Canterbury has two railway stations, called
Canterbury West and
Canterbury East (despite both stations being west of the city centre:
Canterbury West is to the northwest and
Canterbury East is to the
southwest). Both stations are operated by Southeastern. Canterbury
West station, on the South Eastern Railway from Ashford, was opened on
6 February 1846, and on 13 April the line to
Ramsgate was completed.
Canterbury West is served by high speed (56 minutes) trains to London
St. Pancras, slower stopping services to
London Charing Cross and
London Victoria as well as by trains to
Ramsgate and Margate.
Canterbury East, the more central of the two stations, was opened by
the London, Chatham and
Dover Railway on 9 July 1860. Services from
London Victoria stop at
Canterbury East (journey time around 88
minutes) and continue to Dover.
Canterbury used to be served by two other stations. North Lane Station
was the southern terminus of the
between 1830 and 1846.
Canterbury South was on the Elham Valley
Railway, which opened in 1890 and closed in 1947. A high-speed train
London St Pancras via Ashford International started on 13
Central Bus station
Canterbury is by-passed by the A2
Dover Road. It is about 45
miles (72 km) from the M25
London orbital motorway, and 61 miles
(98 km) from central
London by road. The other main road through
Canterbury is the A28 from Ashford to
Ramsgate and Margate. The City
Council has invested heavily in Park and Ride systems around the
City's outskirts and there are three sites: at Wincheap, New Dover
Sturry Road. There are plans to build direct access sliproads
to and from the
London directions of the A2 where it meets the
Wincheap (at present there are only slips from the A28 to
and from the direction of Dover) to allow more direct access to
Canterbury from the A2, but these are currently subject to local
discussion. In 2011 a third junction was constructed, linking the A28
to the northbound A2; this leaves just the A2 southbound exit missing,
but since this would cut across the Park & Ride car park and meet
the A28 at an already complicated junction, it is not expected to be
added in the near term.
The hourly National Express 007 coach service to and from Victoria
Coach Station, which leaves from the main bus station, is typically
scheduled to take two hours.
Eurolines coaches run from the bus
London and Paris.
Stagecoach in East
Kent runs most local bus routes in
well as long distance services. The group runs a special 'Unibus'
service, with the buses running on 100% bio fuel from the city centre
to the University of Kent.
Universities and colleges
The city has an estimated 31,000 students (the highest
student/permanent resident ratio in the UK)  as it is home to
three universities, together with several other higher education
institutions and colleges; at the 2001 census, 22% of the population
aged 16–74 were full-time students, compared with 7% throughout
Norman staircase, King's School, Canterbury
The city is host to three universities: The University of Kent,
Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative
The University of Kent's main campus is situated over 600 acres
(243 ha) on St. Stephen's Hill, a mile north of
centre. Formerly called the University of
Kent at Canterbury, it was
founded in 1965, with a smaller campus opened in 2000 in the town of
Chatham. As of 2014[update], it had around 20,000 students.
Darwin College, part of the University of
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University was founded as a teacher training
college in 1962 by the Church of England. In 1978 its range of courses
began to expand into other subjects, and in 1995 it was given the
power to become a University college. In 2005 it was granted full
university status, and as of 2007[update] it had around 15,000
University for the Creative Arts
University for the Creative Arts is the oldest higher education
institution in the city, having been founded in 1882 by Thomas Sidney
Cooper as the Sidney Cooper School of Art. Near the University of Kent
is the Franciscan International Study Centre, a place of study
for the worldwide Franciscan Order.
Chaucer College is an independent
college for Japanese and other students within the campus of the
University of Kent.
Canterbury College, formerly
Canterbury College of
Technology, offers a mixture of vocation, further and higher education
courses for school leavers and adults.
Primary and secondary schools
Independent secondary schools include
Kent College, St Edmund's School
and the King's School, the oldest in the United Kingdom. St. Augustine
established a school shortly after his arrival in
Canterbury in 597,
and it is from this that the King’s School grew. The documented
history of the school only began after the Dissolution of the
Monasteries in the 16th century, when the school acquired its present
name, referring to Henry VIII. The Kings School in
one of the top public schools in the United Kingdom, regularly
featuring in the top ten most expensive school fees lists.
The city's secondary grammar schools are Barton Court Grammar School,
Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys
Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and Simon Langton Girls' Grammar
School; all of which in 2008 had over 93% of their pupils gain five or
more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths. The
non-selective state secondary schools are The
Canterbury High School,
St Anselm's Catholic School and the Church of England's Archbishop's
School; all of which in 2008 had more than 30% of their pupils gain
five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and maths.
Kent Japanese School (ケント日本語補習校 Kento Nihongo
Hoshū Kō), a weekend Japanese educational programme, is held on
Saturday mornings on the campus of St. Edmund's School,
Canterbury's first newspaper was the Kentish Post, founded in
1717. It changed its name to the
Kentish Gazette in 1768 and
is still being published, claiming to be the country's second oldest
surviving newspaper. It is currently produced as a paid-for
newspaper produced by the KM Group, based in nearby Whitstable. This
newspaper covers the East
Kent area and has a circulation of about
Three free weekly newspapers provide news on the
Canterbury Times and
Canterbury Extra. The
Canterbury Times is owned by the
Daily Mail and General Trust
Daily Mail and General Trust and has
a circulation of about 55,000. The
Canterbury Extra is owned
KM Group and also has a circulation of about 55,000.
yourcanterbury is published by KOS Media, which also prints the
popular county paper
Kent on Sunday. It also runs a website giving
daily updated news and events for the city.
Radio and television
Canterbury is served by 2 local radio stations,
KMFM Canterbury and
KMFM Canterbury broadcasts on 106FM. It was formerly known as KMFM106,
and before the
KM Group took control it was known as CTFM, based on
the local postcode being CT. Previously based in the city, the
station's studios and presenters were moved to Ashford in 2008.
CSR 97.4FM, an acronym for "Community Student Radio", broadcasts on
97.4FM from studios at both the University of
Kent and Canterbury
Christ Church University. The station is run by a collaboration of
education establishments in the city including the two universities.
The transmitter is based at the University of Kent, offering a good
coverage of the city. CSR replaced two existing radio stations:
C4 Radio, which served
Canterbury Christ Church University, and UKC
Radio, which served the University of Kent.
There are 2 other stations that cover parts of the city. Canterbury
Hospital Radio (CHR) serves the patients of the
Kent and Canterbury
Hospital, and Simon Langton Boys School has a radio station,
SLBSLive, which can only be picked up on the school grounds. The
City receives BBC One South East and ITV Meridian from the main
transmitter at Dover, and a local relay situated at Chartham.
People born in
Canterbury include the detective Edmund Reid,
Christopher Marlowe, TV presenter Fiona Phillips, actor
Thomas James Longley,
BBC Radio 6 Music
BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Gideon Coe, former
ITV News journalist, television presenter and
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 presenter
Katie Derham, airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker, boy singer
and actor Joseph McManners, comic book artist Jack Lawrence, and
actor Orlando Bloom. Mary Tourtel, the creator of Rupert
Bear, and the Victorian animal painter who taught her, Thomas
Sidney Cooper. were both born and lived in the city. The
cricketer David Gower, physician William Harvey, actress and
singer Aruhan Galieva, writer W. Somerset Maugham and film
director Michael Powell are among the former pupils of The King's
School, Canterbury. Nelson Wellesley Fogarty (1871–1933) was the
first Bishop of Damaraland (Namibia) from 1924 to 1933. The
17th/18th-century astronomer, and electricity pioneer Stephen Gray was
Canterbury in 1666.
Notable alumni of the University of
Kent include comedian Alan Davies,
singer Ellie Goulding, newspaper editor Rosie Boycott, actor Tom
Booker Prize winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro, and
actor Chris Simmons.
In November 2012,
Rowan Williams was awarded
Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City for
his work as
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury between 2003 and 2012.
The grave of author Joseph Conrad, in
Canterbury Cemetery at 32
Clifton Gardens, is a Grade II listed building.
Canterbury is twinned with the following cities:
City to city partnership
Saint-Omer, France, since 1995
Wimereux, France, since 1995
Certaldo, Italy, since 1997
Vladimir, Russia, since 1997
Mölndal, Sweden, since 1997
Tournai, Belgium, since 1999
Mayors and Sheriffs of Canterbury
Archdiocese and Archbishops of Canterbury
Mills in Canterbury
University of Kent
Canterbury Christ Church University
University for the Creative Arts
Catching Lives – local charity supporting the homeless and destitute
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Canterbury City Council
Canterbury Buildings website – Archaeological and heritage site of
Canterbury Archaeological Trust
Canterbury Archaeological Trust – Whitefriars excavations
Canterbury Big Dig
UNESCO World Heritage Centre – World Heritage profile for
Towns and villages in the
Canterbury district of Kent, England
The city of Canterbury
List of places in Kent
Ceremonial county of Kent
Borough of Medway
Boroughs or districts
Borough of Ashford
Borough of Dartford
Borough of Gravesham
Borough of Maidstone
Borough of Swale
Tonbridge and Malling
Borough of Tunbridge Wells
City of Canterbury
District of Dover
Folkestone & Hythe
District of Sevenoaks
District of Thanet
Royal Tunbridge Wells
See also: List of civil parishes in Kent
See: Rivers of Kent
Population of major settlements
Grade I listed buildings
Grade II* listed buildings