"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on June 2, 2017 by Sioux under General


I went from Rye to Canterbury where I was meeting up with 2 friends for the weekend. We hadn’t seen each other in ages and had plenty of catching up to do! Our home for the weekend was the Pilgrims Hotel, which is situated in one of Canterbury’s oldest buildings, built in the 16th century. Comfortably settled upstairs in what I think may have been an attic at one stage, it was more than big enough for the 3 of us, and we wouldn’t be staying indoors too long anyways – we had tales of our own to tell! 

                                                                                                                                    Canterbury is an historic cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site which 

                                                                                                                                                                                lies on the River Stour, and was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Ancient 

                                                                                                                                                                                walls, originally built by the Romans, encircle its medieval centre of cobbled 

                                                                                                                                                                                streets and timber-framed houses. 


Originally built in AD270-290, the walls were 6m high and created a                                                                     2.7km circuit around the city. Behind the walls was a 5m high embankment with a parapet walkway. The city’s cathedral, founded 597 A.D., 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 in 1012. A journey of pilgrims to Becket’s shrine served as the frame for Geoffrey Chaucer’s 14th century classic The Canterbury Tales. The city has been occupied since Paleolithic times and served as the capital of the Celtic Cantiaci and 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 and a Norman castle, and the oldest extant school in the world, the King’s School. In 842 and 851, Canterbury suffered great loss of life during Danish raids, and in 978, the abbey built by Augustine, was refounded and renamed St Augustine’s Abbey. Walking through the centre of Canterbury was fascinating. The hustle and bustle of the many tourists wandering around the quaint little shops, pubs and eateries added to the atmosphere of England’s most visited city. 

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     Just over the road from the hotel we stayed at, is the new Marlowe

       Theatre and the Marlowe Memorial – a statue and four statuettes erected in 1891 memory of the playwright and poet Christopher Marlowe.


As there were no surviving images of Marlowe known at the time the monument was built, the architect decided on representation in the form of The Muse of Poetry, a scantily-clad lyric muse mounted on a square pedestal with statuettes of four notable players of Marlowe characters in niches on each side. 

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This huge rusting face mask, known as ‘Bulkhead’, is situated on the banks of the Great Stour River. It arrived in the city as part of a sculpture festival called Blok, and became a permanent fixture. It stands close to 3m high and is a popular tourist spot. 

Opposite ‘Bulkhead’ is a life-size statue of local pantomime legend, Dave Lee. The bronze figure, complete with the comedian’s trademark bench, was created as a tribute to the “country’s most famous and respected panto dame”, who died in 2012 aged 64.

We strolled around the ancient streets, taking in the sights, swopping stories and catching up on the last 2 years’ worth of each other’s news, all the while in search of a pleasant venue in which to whet our whistles! 

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The Sun Hotel is a 15th century Tudor building on a cobbled street, formally known as ‘Little Inn’ and made famous by Charles Dickens 370 years after it opened. After standing vacant for 40 years, it was transformed into a quaint yet stylish hotel. 

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The cross in the Butter Market, just outside the Cathedral’s Christ Church Gate is dedicated to the brave souls that died during the Great War. The various armed forces are represented by the figures carved around the memorial, bearing coats of arms: an airman bears the arms of Kent, a sailor the Archbishop of Cathedral’s arms and a soldier the Black Prince’s arms. At the front of the memorial, Saint George bears the arms of the City of Canterbury. The inscription, which runs around the memorial, reads ‘Dedicated to the honoured memory of the men of Canterbury who fell in the Great War 1914–1919’. 

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St. Thomas’ is the only Catholic Church in Canterbury and was built between 1874 – 1875, in the Gothic Revival style. It is built on the site of a medieval chapel and contains relics of Thomas Becket.

The tower is all that remains of the medieval church of St Mary Magdalene. The church was pulled down in 1871 after it had become ruinous. The tower is a 1503 rebuilding of an earlier medieval structure. In a specially built display area at the base of the tower is a fanciful Baroque memorial to the Whitfield family, dated 1680.

Shepherd Neame is Britian’s oldest brewery, with the main brewing done at

The Faversham Brewery which is nestled in the medieval market town of

Faversham in Kent, where brewing has been done for centuries. 

A fantastic day and we had talked ourselves out but still had so much more to say! Tomorrow was another day. 

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We explored until sunset, found a warm pub in which to sate our thirsts and catch up on time gone by; then headed back to the hotel.


2 responses to “Birthday fun #6 – Tales to be told, fun to be had!”

  1. Pauline Smith says:

    Gosh – I love that sunset …

  2. Chez says:

    So so interesting thank you! I would love to go to some of these places one day as i find Britain’s history fascinating! Tx

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