Featured image of Canterbury Castle

The History of Canterbury Castle

LocationCanterbury, Kent, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byCanterbury City Council
Official WebsiteNo
Rooms Available No

Built in the Norman Style of architecture, Canterbury Castle was constructed in the 11th century in the southwest quarter of the city. The castle is a five-minute walk from the Canterbury East Station and is a beautiful destination to spend your mornings.


Canterbury Castle was fortified by the Romans in the 3rd century AD. In the 1060s, the Normans built a motte-bailey fortification, and the walls of the castle that we see today were still there. In the late eleventh century, an actual castle replaced this structure, and the town walls were rebuilt in the fourteenth century. In total, there were three castles built, out of which the present one is known as Canterbury castle. The other two are Rochester Castle and Dover Castle. These three were the original royal castles of Kent. This castle was built right after the Battle of Hastings when Canterbury submitted to William the Conqueror in October 1066. This is why these castles were built in motte-bailey fortification style to guard the critical route. 


Canterbury Castle Architecture
Canterbury – Castle02”, by Whn64, is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Much of the castle isn’t left because a substantial part has been destroyed. What’s left is just a tiny section of the town wall. The walls act as an essential feature of the castle because they tell the story of the arrival of William the Conqueror. In the fourteenth century, when the threat of invasion by France remained, more walls were built to protect the castle. Many bastions were constructed along with the walls wherein a few of the gun ports are still visible. 

A good amount of stone front keep of the castle has been taken away for reuse elsewhere so that the inner rubble core is visible. The orders for repairs were passed in 1170 when the first repairs of the castle were carried out. Investigations reveal a specific first floor of the castle that was destroyed due to its damage during this time. The castle was besieged twice, once by the Dauphin Louis and then by Wat Tyler and his followers that led the castle prisoners free in the supposed rebellion. By the 17th century, the castle had already fallen into ruins. Later in the 19th century, the castle was also used as a storage facility by the Canterbury Gas Light and Coke Company.

The Canterbury City Council purchased the castle in 1928 and restored it to its current condition.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Canterbury Castle closed?

Established in County Kent, Canterbury Castle is currently closed due to the falling masonry of the castle. The Canterbury City Council decided to shut down the castle due to health and safety fears. The castle is also a sparkling jewel in Canterbury’s heritage crown.

Why was Canterbury castle built?

The route of the castle was essential for William the conqueror. The castle was built for protection purposes, mainly to guard the vital route.

How far is Leeds Castle from Canterbury?

There are four ways to reach Leeds Castle from Canterbury, which is by rail, bus, or simply a drive to the castle. You can catch a train from Canterbury West to Hollingbourne and walk for approximately 32 minutes to reach the castle. You can also take a bus from Canterbury Bus Station, get off at Maidstone, King Street, take a bus from there and reach Hollingbourne, Broomfield Turning, walk for 12 minutes and reach Leeds castle. You can also drive for 30 minutes to get to the castle.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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He is a versatile E-Learning Support Officer and former Academic Officer at the University of York, United Kingdom. Not just an expert in education and technology, Debayan also has a deep love for castles and mountains. With a passion for travel, having explored 168+ cities worldwide, and a keen eye for photography, He brings a unique blend of experiences to the table. Specializing in E-learning content, IT support, AR development, and software engineering, Debayan has made a significant impact, educating over 200,000 students on Udemy.

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