Canterbury is an English town located in Kent, a county in southern England, about ninety kilometres from central London.
My girlfriend and I took the National Express bus departing from Victoria Station and it took us about two hours to get there.
Coach buses are an efficient and relatively cheap way to get around England, especially compared to trains when you don’t feel like driving your own car.
The first street we took after leaving the bus station is The Parade, the main street with shops, bars, pubs.
All chain stores that are also in London, so nothing new and the first impact was not so great.
A bit too crowded and touristy for our likings.
We then took an alley and we were in front of the Christchurch Gate, one of the entrances to the majestic Cathedral.
The Cathedral is famous because it became a pilgrimage destination for Christians from all over the world, after the killing of Archbishop Thomas Becket.
He had conflicts with Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was assassinated here by the followers of the King.
The pilgrimage inspired Chaucer who wrote the famous Canterbury Tales.
The queue to enter was long so we decided to stroll through the nearby streets and just took photos of it from the outside.
By chance we found ourselves in front of a decidedly bizarre bookshop: the windows are crooked, the door even more!
The whole ground floor of the building hangs to the right but it’s odd on purpose and it is very, very pretty!
It is Sir John Boys House, known as Crooked House, built with wood in the 17th century.
The house appears to have gained its decidedly distorted look after modifications to an indoor fireplace allowed the structure to slide sideways.
Attempts to correct the slip then caused the entire structure to tilt further, although the building is now stabilized internally by a steel frame.
We returned to the town centre and saw the Marlowe Theatre, a modern theatre that stages works of Shakespeare, musicals and contemporary performances.
The little square in front of the theatre is so pretty, with a sculpture depicting a giant mask and the bronze statue of Dave Lee, a comedian much loved by Canterbury.
The bridge that crosses the canal offers a very picturesque glimpse, the colours were autumnal despite being in March!
The city still hosts many historical structures such as the city walls built by the Romans and rebuilt in the fourteenth century.
The main road is bordered by the east and west towers: we passed the west tower and skirt the canal towards the south, walking in bare parks.
Nobody seems to notice the cold and the wind, nor the children who continued to play in the park despite the rain.
We arrived at the Norman Castle, or what remains of it.
Erected over one thousand years ago, it was used as a county jail but, starting in the 19th century, it was acquired by a gas company and used as a storage centre for many years, during which time the top floor was destroyed.
There are ruins now and plenty of informative panels to read about its history.
If, on the one hand, Canterbury disappointed me for the presence of numerous franchise shops, on the other hand, it fascinated me thanks to its canals, the ancient Tudor-style houses and the beautiful Canterbury Cathedral, one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England.