And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.
GEOFFREY CHAUCER, The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue)
The City of Canterbury captured my heart in November 2017, when we made our first pilgrimage there for a University of Kent campus tour.
It is a campus with a view over the gothic spires of the city’s magnificent cathedral. Its wide open green spaces wrapped around its own impressive state of the art buildings of learning, as well as cozy coffee bars; what I would give to be a student there.
The city has a feel-good factor about it. It is a place where buzzy cosmopolitan ambiance blends perfectly with historic richness, as the River Stour meanders its way under the High Street on its way to meet the North Sea at Pegwell Bay.
During term time, Canterbury’s population explodes by about 40,000 to embrace students from both Kent University and Canterbury Christ Church. The University of the Creative Arts is based in Farnham but also has a campus in Canterbury.
Archeological digs have established that Canterbury was inhabited from Prehistoric times and was first recorded as the main settlement of the Cantiaci Tribe, the Iron Age Celtic people before it was captured by the Romans arrived in 1st-century AD.
Historically, there is so much to see and do in Canterbury other than the cathedral, including the historic river tours and the Roman Museum. It is also home to the Marlowe Theatre and is ideally situated for day trips to Whitstable and Herne Bay.
I have only just scratched the surface of exploring this wonderful city and with Fresher’s Week underway, I look forward to revisiting this historical haven many more times over the next three years.