Independent Schools Cultural Alliance - ISCA – Summer Programs in the UK

Day 15 – Canterbury

As we boarded the bus for today’s destination, Canterbury, in the ‘Garden of England’ –
Kent, we were feeling tired and fell asleep. However, as we thought about all the delicious fruits and
vegetables that we would see on the journey, we started to feel more energetic! After a strenuous
bus trip we walked aside the river, Stour, and through the winding streets of Canterbury. After we
split into our groups, we went to see the Canterbury Cathedral where Thomas Becket (the
archbishop of Canterbury) was murdered in 1170 by King Henry II’s knights. We visited underneath
the cathedral, the Crypt, where we saw the tombs of former archbishops and some kings and
queens. There was an interesting sculpture made of nails hanging from the ceiling that was made to
depict Christ. We also saw the Miracle Windows, which are stained glass windows that tell stories
about pilgrims who visited Thomas’s Tomb who were healed magically. Some of the cathedral’s
stonework was being repaired, but we still felt the historic atmosphere. Some of the small chapels
had beautiful paintings on the roofs from the 13 th century.

After visiting the cathedral, we walked down to the river Stour to do the historic boat trip.
Once in the rowing boat for twelve people, we learnt that the river used to be a sewer which is why
people used to drink beer and cider in those days. We saw a dunking stool used for drowning
witches. If they floated, they were a witch; if they sunk, they weren’t. This practice stopped when
queen Elizabeth I became queen because she had red hair and green eyes which were typical witch
features. We also saw and heard about the grey friar’s monastery. We passed the “Marlow
Theatre”. Kit Marlow was born in the same year as Shakespeare and a great playwright but he was
killed in a brawl. Near the river there were two houses that belonged to Tudor families but they
were actually fake because the wood was cut by machine which didn’t exist at that time.

During our trip to Canterbury, we went on a boat tour. In here, we observed the nature and many old buildings. One of these buildings, we were told that was an excellent hospitality center. Another, was a religious school which was asked to be part of Harry Potter’s set, but denied. Also, houses were very expensive (around 1 million pounds), because of their location and view. Furthermore, we passed through many bridges. One of them had a chair attached which we were told was used to determine if someone was a witch or not.

A big highlight today was SHOPPING!!! We found the amazing store called “Primark”. Once
in the main street we were able to see a lot of souvenirs stores and be able to buy gifts for our
family. Canterbury had a lot of medieval houses and cobbled streets. The town walls around the
city, were put in place to keep people out and sometimes in.

All in all it was a tremendous, interesting, and historical day in Canterbury. We learned a lot inside
the walls of this historical city.

Alex and Willow (Woodward), Marcia and Juan (CPB), Larissa and Frederico (OLM), Rodrigo (Davey),
Luana (Hiram Bingham), Maria, Josefina and Olivia (SGQ), Eric (HRA)