Canterbury Cathedral

>>  Sunday, July 21, 2013

Canterbury Cathedral became one of the most important pilgrimage centres in Europe after the murder of Thomas Beckett here in 1170.

It is a large and beautiful building, as so many cathedrals are, but this one is special inside.  It doesn't have the majesty of Westminster or the wow of St Pauls but has that feeling that is so hard to describe in places where so many pilgrims with so many ardent prayers have trod.

It has an energy running through it's walls, if you stop and close your eyes you can feel it run through you.

There are the special parts to see like the place where St Thomas' Shrine used to be, the tomb of the Black Prince and his original funeral achievements or the tomb of Henry IV.

It's all very impressive.
But for me the real heart was in the Crypt.  An incredible place.  Dark, quiet, peaceful.  

I felt like I had stepped straight back into Medieval times.  I could have spent a long time here.  Actually I did, with a hand on the stonework feeling the energy of a million prayers and walking on the steps where a million and more pilgrims feet have worn them into hollows.

The cathedral has huge grounds and many different areas to look at.  Including the glorious window and ceiling in the Chapter House.
The cloisters, where the tomb stones make for interesting reading.
Lovely gardens where you can sit and soak up the history and learn about herbal medicine or the football scores on your blackberry apparently.

You do have to pay to get into the Cathedral and grounds but it is worth it.  Late on a Friday afternoon we pretty much had it to ourselves and it made it very special.

The afternoon was rounded off nicely with a decent and cheap cup of tea and a look around the shop.

It was everything I had hoped it would be and more.  In fairness for my own pilgrimage I would still rather be at Walsingham but for a historical and religious visit, this was quite special.

You'll find the information you need about visiting times and prices here.


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