A roman city, and a UNESCO heritage site offering an ancient character with England's oldest cathedral, historic tales and architecture of the medieval times
The ancient city in south-east England traces its origin back to 43 A.D. when Romans invaded and settled in this area (the county name Kent derived from their Cantiaci tribe) until they finally withdrew in 407 A.D, making way for the Anglo-Saxons and the further settlement of Jutish kingdom of Kent. Very less remains of the actual roman settlement, but one can still get a public glimpse of a roman pavement mosaic and an ancient heating system kept in the city Roman Museum.
The city is also credited with being the 'English' cradle site of Christianity, when the Pope sent an expedition to convert Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, paving the way for the cathedral to be established as the mother church of England. Further it saw an influx of refugees in 1507 from French-speaking part of Belgium, which established it as a weaving industry (see if you can spot the most photographed half-timbered building "The old weavers house" in the city centre and the interesting story behind the ducking stool jutting out to the river).Over the centuries, the medieval city encircling walls and gates were demolished and the roads widened, the only one still remaining is the Westgate which is the largest city gate in England.
Best Enjoyed : Take a classic relaxing punt tour on the historic river Stour running through Westgate gardens
Distance from London : 66 miles
Paid Parking bays, City Museum, Westgate tower, gardens & viewpoint, Whitefriars shopping centre
Must-visit : Cathedral and St. George's street
On a day-out, we rediscovered the first cathedral in England - the spectacular structure has preserved many stunning features, including a Romanesque crypt, a perpendicular nave and beautiful medieval stained glass windows.
There is only one historic street in Britain named as St. George's street, making it quite unique. Unfortunately, the old city and the street received a huge battering in the second world war (about a quarter was destroyed), with only the cathedral remaining intact plus a pre-war building (now M&S shopfront) on the St. George's street, where one can take a stroll on the cobbled streets onto what is now the busy shopping centre.
Overall, an iron-age settlement with lots to offer for history enthusiasts and architects alike - only if you are willing to rediscover the history of 1400 years in making!