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Canterbury: Cathedral and churches. The perfect Christmas destination.

You don’t have to travel far to see impressive monuments and history at its best. Canterbury, with the new Javelin high-speed train service from London St Pancras, using the same track as the Eurostar trains, is just an hour from the capital. It’s a lot quicker and easier to get to now than for past pilgrims, reports the Mail.

Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England, and forms part of a World Heritage Site. It’s the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England and was founded in the year 602. It’s famous for its beautiful stained-glass window, which features an image of the martyred Archbishop Thomas a Becket, who was murdered in the Cathedral by knights of King Henry II on the 29th of December, 1170. Becket’s tomb was venerated here until 1538, when it was destroyed under Henry VIII’s rule with the dissolution of the Monasteries. A single candle burns where the tomb was.

Also on the church trail is St Martin's Church, the oldest in the English-speaking world still used for worship (parts of the building date back to the 6th Century) and St Margaret's Church, where you can enjoy the ‘Canterbury Tales’ literary attraction. A guide recreates the Cathedral’s famous ‘visitors’, Chaucer's Wife of Bath, the Miller, the Pardoner and the Knight. Among the real visitors to the Cathedral, was the Roman Emperor Claudius.

Check www.southeasternrailway.co.uk for times and fares.

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