Dec 18, 2023

Summer Centre Spotlight: Canterbury

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In this week’s Summer Centre Spotlight, we’re excited to announce our newest Summer School in Canterbury, one of the UK’s UNESCO world heritage sites. This charming Medieval city set along the river Stour is home to one of Europe’s most important pilgrimage sites, Canterbury Cathedral, a treasure trove of history, art, and culture. Look past the Cathedral’s lofty spires, though, and you’ll find a city with even loftier ideals. Thanks to its growing student population, Canterbury is a fascinating mix of tradition and modernity with a strong artistic heritage. History has never felt so present.

Students will stay in St Edmund’s boarding school, dating all the way back to 1751. Known for its ‘Festival on the Hill’, a week-long celebration of music, art, and theatre, St Edmund’s has a strong grounding in the arts, with impressive alumni like novelist and poet, Lawrence Durrell, and actor, Orlando Bloom.

Canterburys Famous St Edmunds Boarding School

Journeys Past and Present

You can’t describe Canterbury without mentioning its world-famous cathedral, a sublime structure that is as much a work of art as a centre of history and heritage. Thousands of years ago, people journeyed from all over Europe to pray and reflect in the shadows of the Cathedral’s ornate pillars and Romanesque arches. Sometimes referred to as ‘England in Stone’, the building has seen an overwhelming number of lives and events, both famous and obscure. From the planning of the Magna Carta to the grisly murder of Thomas Beckett, the marks of history here are palpable, and sometimes literal: keep an eye out for some quirky medieval graffiti hiding in the Cathedral’s crypts.

Behind Canterbury Cathedral is the King’s Mile, a collection of cobblestone streets lined with traditional pubs, quirky independent shops, and local traders. The area’s rather noble name originates from King Henry’s barefoot walk of penance for his role in the death of Thomas Beckett. Many tourists stop to take a photo of The Crooked House, a whimsical second-hand bookshop at a permanent tilt. Many claim that this topsy turvy building inspired a curiously similar house in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, who visited Canterbury regularly during his lifetime.

Canterbury Cathedral

Did You Know?

  • Canterbury is also famous for its inclusion in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, a Medieval poem which sees a band of eclectic pilgrims share their stories on a journey to Canterbury Cathedral. While the language might conjure up images of fusty academics in dark rooms, Chaucer’s bawdy jokes are recognisably modern.
  • The verb, ‘to canter’, comes from the old phrase, ‘Canterbury trot’, describing pilgrims who would speed up near the city to avoid riding at night.
  • The author of the James Bond series, Ian Fleming, wrote some of his novel, You Only Live Twice in the historic Canterbury pub, The Duck Inn, which makes an appearance in the novel.

The Garden of England

Canterbury is in the county of Kent, known as the ‘garden of England’ for its lush landscape and abundant wildlife. It’s easy to find a natural retreat amongst the city’s narrow alleyways and Tudor buildings. Sitting along the river Stour, the Franciscan Gardens, dating from 1224, offer a tranquil walk through history in picturesque surroundings. For a wilder experience, just outside of the city is Blean Woods, an ancient woodland where you might just spot the UK’s first wild bison.

Some Of The Amazing Scenery And Facilites At St Edmunds Canterbury

Like the rest of Canterbury, the river Stour has a deep history: in Roman and Medieval times, the river acted as a major travel route that connected the city with mainland Europe. One especially curious along the riverbank is the Ducking Stool. While the name might sound a little silly, it was a very serious tool for detecting witches in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Explore Beyond Canterbury

A language course should take students beyond the classroom. As part of our social programme, students will be able to practise their newly acquired English in authentic contexts, all while making lifelong memories.


No visit to the UK would be complete without experiencing the boundless energy of the capital. London is only 50 minutes away, a perfect counterpoint to Canterbury’s peaceful countryside and quaint city centre. Those on our Gold and Platinum packages will be able to make the most of their trip with a cruise on the Thames and excursions to Madame Tussauds, one of the world’s most famous wax museums, the Tower of London, and The London Eye.

Are you interested in our new Canterbury Summer Centre? Click here for more information.

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