After a good night's rest at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge, we booked a guided tour through the world famous, steeped-with-history Canterbury Cathedral, the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the leader of the Church of England, and also the symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The current Gothic styled cathedral dates back to the 12th Century, but there has been a Christian cathedral on this specific spot since 597, so it was a pretty amazing feeling walking on this site, that has been an important spiritual place for so many centuries!
The north-west transept of the cathedral was the scene of the brutal murder of archbishop Thomas Becket on 29 December 1170.
After being friends for a very long time, King Henry II and Thomas Becket had a Crown vs. Church conflict that lasted many years. When one day the king exclaimed in frustration, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?", some of his knights took that quite literally and murdered Becket in his own cathedral, smearing his brains over the floor (yes, really :-S).
Canterbury Cathedral is also the final resting place of Edward the Black Prince. This legendary Prince of Wales, son of King Edward III, was one of the key players during the Hundred Years' War. His famous victories over the French during the Battles of Crécy and Poitiers proved him to be an extraordinary military leader, but he is also one of the founding members of the Order of the Garter, now the highest order of chivalry in England!
The red brick walls (a shiny new invention at that time) are very noticeable from the distance, and give that distinctive 'Tudor' feel to the place. Hampton Court Palace is situated in Kingston-upon-Thames, in the Southwest corner of the greater London area, so it is also a great alternative visit during a trip to London!
The palace was originally built for Thomas Wolsey, who was Archbishop of York and Henry VIII's Chief Minister (brilliantly portrayed by Sam Neill in Showtimes TV series The Tudors, a must-watch for any Tudor fan!), who gave it to Henry in 1528 in an attempt to regain the King's favor.