Kent, is a city with a population of over 40,000 people. Canterbury
is in the south east of England and is at the junction to three
major ports (Dover, Reculver and Lympne). A section of the city
still has the original city wall and gates in place.
Canterbury is perhaps best known as being the seat of the Archbishop
of Canterbury (the head of the Church of England).
Canterbury was severely damaged by bombing during World War II. It
was targeted by the Luftwaffe during the Baedeker Blitz. Much of the
city was flattened but the cathedral remained largely undamaged.
After the war, Canterbury was subject to significant redevelopment.
The rebuilding of the city centre took centre stage and the
Whitefriar's development was one such example. Shortly after the
city was pedestrianised and a ring road built around the city to
alleviate the growing traffic congestion.
Perhaps the most well known landmark in Canterbury is the Canterbury
Cathedral. It is one of the oldest and famous Christian structures
in England and is now part of a World Heritage Site. The Cathedral
is currently trying to fund a £50 million restoration program.
Historically, the Cathedral has a dark history with the
assassination of Thomas Becket taking place in the Cathedral in
1170. Popular belief attributes the assassination to Knights
overhearing King Henry II and misinterpreting his words. Becket was
the second of four murdered archbishops in the Cathedral.
The Cathedral was also severely damaged by an extensive fire in
1174. The whole of the Eastern end was destroyed in the fire. Much
of this was rebuilt with new Gothic designs and arches.
Geoffrey Chaucer, a 14th century author, penned the well known
collection of stories known as The Canterbury Tales. The tales (some
of which are originals) are told by a group of pilgrims on a
pilgrimage from Southwark to Canterbury on a journey to visit the
Saint Thomas Becket shrine at Canterbury Cathedral.
Canterbury is now a major city for tourism. Canterbury Cathedral
often attracts around 1 million visitors a year. The city still
contains many ancient buildings amongst the modern developments.
Higher Education is served by the University of Kent. The main
Canterbury campus is on a hill two miles outside the centre.
Canterbury Christ Church University and a campus for the University
College for the Creative Arts are also located in Canterbury. Other
educational institutes in Canterbury include Chaucer College,
Canterbury College, St Augustine's College and the Church of England
Canterbury has good travel links with two railway stations
(Canterbury West and Canterbury East). "South Eastern" operate the
trains on this line and Canterbury West has services primarily from
London Charing Cross. Journey times to London are approximately 90
minutes with faster services (potentially half the time) being
planned for 2009.
By road, Canterbury has links to the A2 and is around 45 minutes
from the M25 London motorway (61 miles from the centre of London)
however, Canterbury is famous for heavy traffic congestion
throughout the day. Park-And-Ride schemes have now been introduced
in an attempt to alleviate this around the city outskirts. There is
an hourly National Express coach service from Canterbury to Victoria
Coach Station that leaves from the main bus station. This service
takes approximately 2 hours in total.
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