Are you interested in exploring the city of Canterbury from a completely different angle?
This Sunday 14 May, our Global Officers are running 45-minute fully guided historical river tours specially designed for international students. Enjoy a leisurely trip along the Stour while you explore the city from an entirely new perspective.
You can choose between a morning departure and an afternoon one, and your trip will cost just £10 per person!
Don’t miss out! Book your place today!
In preparation for this exciting event, we’ve put together a list of some of the top riverside attractions that you may encounter on your boat tour. Let us know which one is your favourite!
Old Weaver’s House
This timber framed 14th century historic building, now a riverside pub, once housed Huguenot (members of the French Protestant Church) and Walloon (a Gallo-Romantic ethnic group) refugees escaping persecution in 16th century France. These weavers worked with cotton, wool and silk which would have been brought up the river by barge. They would have made, among other fabrics, bayes (a chunky weave of contrasting yarns), grograines (a coarse fabric of mohair) and a mix of cotton and silk called Canterbury Muslin.
Nowadays, the riverside pub has a terrace overlooking the Stour.
The Old Weaver’s House is also home to a Victorian or Edwardian replica of a ducking stool, a wooden seat balancing out over the river. Ducking stools would have been used to punish suspected witches in medieval times, as well as women whose husbands cruelly paid to have them dunked as punishment for what they deemed ‘bad behaviour’, such as nagging or gossiping.
The replica stool is made of a wooden beam with a chair attached. It is inscribed with the words “Unfaithful wives beware, also butchers, bakers, brewers, apothecaries and all who give short measure.”
Don’t miss the beautiful remains of a 13th century friary founded by a Dominican Order of monks called Black Friars, named after the colour of their clothes. The two remaining buildings – the guest hall and the former rectory – are situated on either side of the river. The former, on the west bank, has been a private home and a furniture store, but has since been restored. The latter, on the east bank, has been a church meeting house and a store and is now used by The King’s School as an art centre.
Solly’s Orchard and Abbot’s Mill
Behind the monastery is a secluded garden known as Solley’s Orchard, leading to the site of the old Abbot’s Mill. The orchard would once have provided apples for the Dominican Priory, and now functions as a relaxing green space. Within the adjacent gardens, you can cross the remaining footbridge and sluice of the corn mill, where you’ll find the surviving cast iron axle and mill workings as well as two mill races (the channel that brings water to a water wheel). The mill was destroyed in a huge fire in 1933 which lasted for several days.
Franciscan Gardens and Greyfriars Chapel
The first Franciscan friary in the country, all that remains of Greyfriars is the 13th century chapel building spanning the river. It is situated on an island called Franciscan Island or Binnewith Island, and is supported by two arches through which the river flows. After King Henry VIII disbanded the friary, the chapel housed a prison and later, a guest house.
The chapel is adjacent to the Franciscan Gardens, a small, bricked historic garden beside the river.
Next to the Franciscan Gardens is Eastbridge Hospital, a 12th century accommodation for poor pilgrims visiting St Thomas Becket’s shrine at the nearby cathedral. Also known as the Hospital of St. Thomas the Martyr, it is not a hospital in the medical sense. Instead, for over 800 years it has provided shelter to visitors and locals. To this day, it remains an almshouse – a charitable type of affordable housing for local people in need. The chapels house exhibitions throughout the year.
Does all of this sound like a fun day out? Book your place on this Sunday’s river tours today!
PLEASE NOTE: Bookings will close for this event on Midday Saturday 13 May. Please ensure you have booked your place before then.