Canterbury Cathedral

The vacation re-cap continues…

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I knew we would drive Annelies crazy if we spent too much time at the house while she was working, so I planned a little excursion up to the UK. I wanted to explore the Cotswolds, a mostly rural area in south central England known for its stone-built villages, historical towns, stately homes, and sheep. And Hubby loves to see old stuff. We both really enjoy visiting cathedrals, too. So after a bit of research into roughly where in the Cotswolds we’d end up the first night, I picked some cathedrals to visit.

I only laid-out the rough plan for the UK visit a day or so before we left for Belgium. And Annelies booked our ferry passage the night before we left.

It’s tempting to do day-by-day posts to get this vacation re-cap finished more quickly. But some places are so special, they need a post of their own, like Canterbury Cathedral, our first planned stop in the UK.

According to the brochure, worship has been taking place daily at Canterbury for over 1,400 years.

Try as I might, I couldn’t fit the whole building in one frame. The place is massive. And the town was built right up around the property.

I had to rely upon this aerial view, captured by AD Photographics of Kent, England, to give you a better appreciation of its size. You can see how the town surrounds the cathedral property.

We were able to find a parking spot on a street several blocks away from the cathedral. We could see the towers, of course, but had no idea how to get to the property, which is surrounded by walls and buildings.

When you’re walking up close, like on the street immediately adjacent to the property, you can’t see the cathedral.

Burgate Street (immediately adjacent to the Precincts of Canterbury Cathedral) property)
Burgate Street (immediately adjacent to the Precincts of Canterbury Cathedral) property)

So, clueless tourists that we were since I hadn’t done proper advance planning, we were walking up Burgate Street wondering how to find the cathedral. Hubby was still a tad stressed after navigating the labyrinth of small, busy streets whilst driving on the wrong side of the road. By stressed I only mean his brain was too numb to focus. After another block or so, I saw this…

Christ Church Gate
Christ Church Gate


I vaguely remembered having read that you had to go through a gate. Doesn’t that sort of look like the facade of a haunted house that you’d see on a beach town boardwalk? Until you look more closely, that is.

Remember, click on any image and a larger version will pop up. Use your back button to return to this page.

Closer look at Christ Church Gate.
Closer look at Christ Church Gate.


Um, that’s a rather famous gate. (I am no historian. I just like seeing cool, old stuff.)

This is what you see after walking through the gate (and paying your entrance fee).

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral


The whole back half of the building is missing from that shot. Really.

Here are a few exterior images.

GB 063
Historical figures decorate one exterior wall of the South West Porch.


GB 065
Fun details.


GB 064
Statues on outside building corner.


Maintaining and restoring this building, much of which dates to about the 11th century, is a constant and ongoing process.

GB 067
Evidence of deterioration.


GB 158
Look at that detail.


GB 072
Looking up from cathedral entrance at the South West Porch.


GB 162
Small section of the rear of the building.


Now, how about some interior highlights?

GB 075
The Nave


GB 083
Vaulted ceiling of the Harry Bell Tower.


GB 088
Intricate wood carving.


GB 089
Tomb of Archbishop Chichele (d.1443)


GB 100
Stained Glass


GB 108


GB 113
Site of the former shrine of St. Thomas


GB 122
Amazingly colorful stained glass.


Not to diminish the grandeur of that window or anything, but do you see the Little Mermaid?

Or is it just me?

GB 131
Gothic Revival pulpit (youngish; it was done in 1893)


GB 133
Vaulted Passageway


GB 137
Chapter House (walls date to the late 11th century)


GB 140
Wagon-vaulted roof (c.1400) of Irish oak (decoration typical of late English Gothic style)


Here’s something a little different for you…

I took the following quick(ish) video to try and illustrate the scale of this place.


Here are a few final pics…

stained glass collage
There’s lots and lots of stained glass at Canterbury.


GB 152
South Door (I think)



GB 157
South West Side


GB 162
South East Side (I think)


GB 165
Portion of Roman wall (c. 270-290 AD) incorporated into the more-“modern” Medieval era wall.


The rest of my Canterbury pics are lumped into a UK Day 1 Flickr album, starting here.

The cathedral actually has a great Web site. You can even enjoy your own virtual tour, which I highly recommend. Not only will you see more of this amazing place, you’ll get the historical details.

As for us, after leaving the cathedral, we were off to Oxford. On the wrong side of the road again.

GB 169

Would you prefer I share fewer pics in a post? Or do you have an opinion? Do share, please.

6 Replies to “Canterbury Cathedral”

  1. Wow, what an amazing place. Makes you wonder how they built places like that back in the day. Such skilled artisans.

    I too like the photo count, and the video for scale.

    1. Thanks, B. I often wonder about the building process with primitive tools. All that stone. And those carvings. It’s amazing. The woodwork fascinates Mike. I’m so glad we got to visit in person.

Comments are closed.