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Canterbury             A very ancient city with more than 2,000 years of history and the site of Canterbury Cathedral.  There were Belgic settlements here pre-Roman time and Julius Caesar took the area by storm in 54B.C. after their conquest in 43A.D. the Romans established a centre here called Durovernum.  In 597 St Augustine arrived on his mission to spread Christianity in England and built his first cathedral.  Something like half the Medieval walls which encircled the old city on the Eastern side still remain.  They date from the 13th & 14th Centuries, they were partly built on Roman remains.
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Canterbury Cathedral   The Cathedral of course dominates the city, the original was built by St Augustine but nothing remains.  In fact nothing pre-Conquest does remain.  A little while after the Conquest a new Cathedral was built by Lanfranc, the first Norman Archbishop.  Since that time there have been many additions, the oldest remaining part of the Cathedral is the crypt dating from 1100.  Only one English monarch is buried here, Henry IV, who lies with his Queen Joan in Trinity Chapel.  The tomb of Edward, the Black Prince is close by and described by many as the most magnificent in England.  In Trinity chapel you will also find the shrine of St Thomas a Becket, Archbishop from 1162-1170 when he was murdered by four knights of Henry II after a long and bitter feud.  The nave completed in the early 15th Century is 187ft in length, 71ft in width and 79ft in height.  The tall central bell tower which dominates the external views of the cathedral dates back to 1498 and is certainly one of earliest large brick structures in England.  Viewed from inside all but the top 50ft is visible.  130ft above the floor level is the magnificent fan vaulted ceiling, the South window is a splendid example of 12th Century art and the whole Cathedral is alive with stained glass, despite the Civil War and the Second World War damage.
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St Augustine Abbey   This great Abbey marks the re-birth of Christianity in Britain, founded in 597AD by St Augustine this was originally created as a burial place for the Anglo-Saxon Kings of Kent.  The Abbey was well known in Saxon times as a centre of learning but the greatest change to the site came when the Normans rebuilt the Church and Monks quarters.  The Abbey continued under Benedictine rules until 1538 when it was surrendered to the Crown under the dissolution of the monasteries.  Henry VIII then turned it into a Palace and this is where he first met Anne of Cleves.  The site is in ruins today but as you walk amongst the walls you get a feeling for this vast site with its 940years of monastic life.

Dover Castle           The inner keep and bailey dating back to 1180, the royal apartments and chapels used some 800 years ago.  The oldest part of the castle is the Roman lighthouse situated next to the Saxon church. the well 289ft deep is considerably older than the castle itself.  Take a walk in the 13th century underground fortifications originally dug in 1216 at the time of the French attack.  The battlements and towers protecting the castle. Over a thousand years of history within the walls, throughout this long history, until the late 1960s the castle has been a military headquarters and garrisoned continuously.
Beneath the castle and within the White Cliffs are the World War II tunnels where some 700 men and women masterminded the evacuation of 330,000 British and allied troops from Dunkirk in 1940.  They also actively reported the movement of ships and aircraft over the channel during the 5/6 years of war.
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Leeds Castle           Established for over a thousand years on two islands in the middle of a natural lake.  Leeds castle is one of England's oldest and most romantic stately homes.  Known affectionately as the Ladies Castle, Leeds was home to six of the Medieval Queens of England and most infamous of monarchs King Henry VIII.  The castle now houses a magnificent collection of Medieval furnishings, tapestries and paintings. administered by a charitable trust.  Surrounded by over 500 acres of rolling parkland and gardens a natural home to many varied varieties of waterfowl.
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Winchester                    The historic city of Winchester has been welcoming groups for centuries, ever since the first pilgrims visited the shrine of St Swithun.  Already an important town in Roman times, it became the capital under the Anglo Saxons, and in Alfreds time 871-901 was a great centre of learning.  William the Conqueror kept Winchester as his capital and as late as the 17th Century Charles II planned a palace here.  The city is rich in important buildings, one such building is the Great Hall, completed in 1235 it is a magnificent example of 13th Century domestic architecture.  It is now an Assize Court. Sir Walter Raleigh was condemned to death here in 1603 and on the wall hangs what is called King Arthur's Round Table, marked out and inscribed for his knights.  However one building stands out above all others, the cathedral.
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Winchester Cathedral     The building was started in 1079 and consecrated in 1093.  Work from this period can still be seen in the crypt, transepts and East part of the cloister.  Between 1189 and 1204 the Lady Chapel was built and the Quire extended.  It is the longest Medieval Cathedral in Europe (556ft)  In 1110 the central tower collapsed and was rebuilt with the supporting piers greatly strengthened (they are now 20ft in width). Among its treasures is the Great Winchester Bible, dating back to the 12th Century.  This illuminated copy was written in the scriptorium at Winchester and is now preserved in the Cathedral library.
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Portsmouth Royal Naval Museum     The historic dockyard is home to great ships, such as HMS Victory, Lord Nelson's Flagship from the battle of Trafalgar. HMS Warrior (1860) the worlds first iron-hulled, armoured warship powered by steam, still afloat in Portsmouth harbour.  Also the Mary Rose, one of the most famous ships in the world, built in 1510 and capsized and sank dramatically in an accident in 1545.  This great ship was raised again in 1982 and has undergone extensive preservation work ever since, with the new museum opening in Spring 2013.  The Dockyard also houses the Royal Navy Museum and many other attractions.
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Web Link to the Mary Rose

Stonehenge                  There is nothing quite like this awe inspiring monument anywhere else in the world, yet at first sight it is curiously disappointing, probably because it is set on a plain so vast that in comparison the stones seem quite insignificant.  It is only when man stands close to the stones that he seems so puny in comparison and it is hard to imagine how centuries ago, with only primitive tools to help them, men could possibly have placed these huge boulders into position.
The actual building falls into three phases.  Phase one which took place in the late Neolithic period somewhere around 2,000 years B.C. but little is known of this work.  Phase two took place between 1,700 and 1,600 B.C. We do know at this point about 80 blue stones, brought over by sea from the Prescelly mountains in Pembrokeshire, Wales, were placed in two concentric circles, with the entrance at the N.E. this work was never finished.  Phase three which took place between 1,600 and 1,300 B.C. during the Bronze age.  At this time the blue stones were moved and about 80 enormous Sarsen stones were dragged here from the Marlborough downs.  The whole history of Stonehenge covers the period from about 2,200 B.C. to 1,300 B.C. but exactly why it was built remains a mystery.  One fact remains the axis of Stonehenge was carefully aligned with the sunrise on 21st June, the longest day of the year.  Was it built in order to calculate the annual calendar of the seasons?
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Old Sarum                         Such a historic place covering an area of approx 56 acres. Important due to its prominence above the countryside below.  First remains indicate a Iron age camp, followed by the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons, then the Danes who pillaged the area in 1003.  In 1070 William the Conqueror reviewed his troops on the plains below.  The site really moved forward just after William departed.  The Episcopal See was moved from Sherborne to Sarum and a new Cathedral and Castle where built on the site.  However by 1220 the area was becoming too small for the requirements of the community so a new Cathedral was planned nearby.(New Sarum or as it later became Salisbury) stones from the old Cathedral where carried away and used in the construction of the new Cathedral. 
Old Sarum---old refers to a former Iron age fort and Sarum is the abbreviated form of the Latin name
Salisbury
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Salisbury                       A town where there is no need to go looking for interests in dark corners, it is all around.  The city dates back to the 13th Century when it was decided to move the Bishops seat  from Old Sarum.  The Cathedral foundations were begun in 1220 and the city started to grow.  Salisbury was built on a grid or chequer system which left space between the blocks.  Cathedral Close is the most beautiful in all England and the list of buildings with interest is unending.  It is interesting to note that the main wall around the Cathedral Close was granted by license from Edward III.
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Salisbury Cathedral          The first sight of the Cathedral is most impressive an early example of English architecture.  Its spire soaring to a height of 404ft the highest in England which imposes almost 6,000 tons of stone on the four pillars of the crossing.  The Nave measures 198ft with a clear uncluttered beauty, little having changed since it was built.  With Foundations no more than 4 feet deep on a bed of gravel, the main building was begun in 1220 and completed in 1258.  The Cloisters and Chapter house being finished in 1280.  It was never a Monastic institution but staffed with Secular Clergy called Canons.  This arrangements continues today.  Canons would be away in their parishes for most of the year, just coming back to the Cathedral for short periods of time.  The present houses round the close are built on the sites of the former Canons' Houses.
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Wells                            Very much a Cathedral city and dominated by it, the existing building was started in 1180 continued in stages until 1424.  Many of the buildings in the Cathedral precincts are used today for much the same purposes as that for which they were originally built.  The Vicars Close consists of a cobbled street with a total of 42 small houses built in the 14th Century for the Vicars of the Cathedral.  The Cathedral school was started in 909 and while closing for one short period of 6 years in 1861 now records over 600 pupils.  On the West front there are 294 sculptures left of the original 386 some damaged beyond recognition, 3 new ones were unveiled by the Prince of Wales in 1985.  The Chapter House reached by an ancient stone stairway is octagonal in shape and part of a two storey building, could be one of the most beautiful Chapter Houses in Britain.  The Cathedrals South doors lead to beautiful 15/16th Century cloisters
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Bath                    The Romans built a city here and called it Aquae Sulis.  It grew up around the Baths establishment, one of the foremost of its kind in the Western empire.  Its remains form an impressive monument to Roman Britain.  In the 18th Century Bath became a fashionable resort for society presided over by Beau Nash.  It was at this time that the work of providing a suitable environment began.  From the early 1700s - to the early 1800s many beautiful buildings, streets, squares and crescents were completed.  The pump room in 1795 and the only bridge left in England built with shops, Pulteney Bridge completed in 1777 by William Pulteney.  The city abounds with acres of parks and gardens which sets off the formality of the Georgian architecture.  The town name means bath, it is not Roman but a pure English word.  The Romans did originally call the area Aquae Calidae (hot waters) then Aquae Sulis (waters of sulis, referring to their pagan god) the Anglo-Saxon name was Akemanchester, which is generally regarded as being derived from the latin Aquae (ake) and the Roman road of Akeman Street which ran via Bath.  Also the old English word Ceaster meaning Roman Fort.
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Bath Abbey        A Saxon Abbey first stood on this site followed by a Norman one.  It was not until 1499 that a Gothic Church was erected.  Progress was very slow and by the dissolution only the choir and the walls had been completed.  However the west front had certainly been given its famous turrets and ladders.  After the dissolution the Abbey was looted and the church was given to the parish.  The building was soon enclosed by houses and the North aisle became a walk through for towns people.  In 1864 a new rector Charles Kemble at his own expense began a reconstruction of the building.  Hence what we see today is a Victorian replica of the original Tudor designs.
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Web Link to Roman Baths

Glastonbury      It is believed by many people that under the waters of a spring on the slopes of its Tor Joseph of Arimathea buried the chalice used at the last supper.  That when on a nearby hill, he thrust his thorn staff into the ground it took root to produce the distinctive Glastonbury Winter flowering thorn tree, and that, on what was later to be the site of the great Abbey round which the town grew, he built  a church of daub and wattle.  Briefly this is the legend which has drawn pilgrims to this place for centuries.  In 688, King Ine of Wessex gave it a Monastery, majestic, rich and the most beautiful in Britain which is clear from the ruins of the church.  It is also believed that King Alfred and Queen Guinevere were re-buried in the Abbey.  In the town St Johns church is a fine 15th Century example.  The George Inn was built in the 15th Century to lodge pilgrims and the handsome market cross is 19th Century.
Web Link to Glastonbury Abbey
Web Link to Glastonbury Town

Bristol                 Once one of the most important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here.  All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this point.  It was from Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with 18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America in Newfoundland.  A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side area.
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Bristol Cathedral                Formerly an Augustinian Abbey founded in 1142 by Robert Fitzharding.  In 1542 it became the Cathedral Church of the newly formed Diocese of Bristol.  It still retains much of its Norman solidarity, particularly the fine Chapter House.  The Church building is known as a “Hall Church” type where high Chancel, aisles and an Eastern Lady Chapel are of equal height.  The Choir is full of absolutely fine woodwork dating back to the 1500s and the Misericords of great interest depicting as they do Biblical scenes.  The organ was built in 1685 by Renatus Harris and all the pipework is original.  Grinling Gibbons created the superb organ case. Choristers are educated at the adjoining Cathedral school.  One important feature in the Berkeley Chapel: a Medieval candelabrum (understood to be the only one of its kind in England recorded) has being given to the Temple Church in Bristol during 1450 and passed on to its present home during the terrible blitz of World War Two.
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St Mary Redcliffe
A superb example of medieval architecture and once described by Queen Elizabeth 1st on a visit to Bristol as “the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in the Kingdom” in all respects it is the size of a Cathedral with a 240ft Nave and a spire added in the 19th century rising 285ft from street level.
The church owes much of its construction to William Canynge in the 14th Century and further work completed by his son.
Admiral Sir William Penn whose son, also a William, founded Pennsylvania is buried in the South Transept. The close links with the United States are further strengthened by the restoration of the St John`s Chapel by the friends of St Mary Redcliffe in America.
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London the Capital City of England & the United Kingdom         Within a few years of invading Britain in 43AD the Romans had built forts and towns across the land.  They linked these outposts with a number of well constructed roads, some of which had to cross a wide tidal river (Thames).  The Roman engineers eventually picked a crossing point from generally marshy ground on the South bank (with islands of firm ground) to an area on the North Bank situated on two low hills, these hills formed the highest and driest site on the tidal river.  At this point the Romans built their bridge and before long a settlement grew up on the hills and then a City took shape, the Romans called it Londinium.  The landscape that greeted the Romans now lies deep beneath the modern city, upto 8 metres deep, the reason, every new building over the past 2,000 years was built on top of the rubble of the old.
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London Eye                        Opened in January 2000 as a part of the Millennium celebrations it is 135mtrs high and is the worlds highest observation wheel.  The fourth tallest structure in London. It is 35mtrs taller than Big Ben, 30 mtrs taller than St Pauls, three times as high as Tower Bridge and a third taller than the Statue of Liberty.  The 360` rotation will take approx 30/35 minutes.  The wheel has 32 fully enclosed capsules holding up to 25 people each. From its highest point passengers can see 25 miles in each direction on a clear day.
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Museum of London          Telling the story of London from prehistoric times to the present day.  Highlights include the Lord Mayors Coach, together with artefacts, jewellery and furniture from all the periods of occupation.
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Horse Guards Parade      The former tiltyard or jousting field of Whitehall Palace, used for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour each June to celebrate the Queens official birthday.  The Horse Guards building by which one enters the parade ground from the direction of Whitehall was reconstructed in 1750 prior to which it was the gatehouse of the Palace of Westminster.  The horse mounted guards who stand duty under two archways either side of the clock tower stand guard for just one hour at a time not all day.  The soldiers belong either to the Life Guards (red tunics & white plumes) who formed the bodyguard for Charles I or the Royal Horse Guards (blue with red plumes) who grew out of a regiment formed by Cromwell.  Both regiments now belong to the Household Cavalry which provides the Queens Bodyguard on all state occasions.
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Houses of Parliament       The present building occupies the site of the old Royal Palace.  The oldest surviving part of this palace is Westminster Hall (some of the walls dating back to 1097/99).  In 1840 Sir Charles Barry with the help of his eccentric assistant, Pugin began building the neo Gothic new house which still graces Parliament Square.  Although it was badly bombed in 1941 the Commons Chamber was completely destroyed, the new one was opened in 1950.  As you look at the palace from the square the commons are on the left and the lords on the right.  Standing a little to the left of the building is Westminster Hall.  This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft wide and 92ft high, it was built in 1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399.  It was here that Charles I was condemned to death in 1649, Edward II abdicated in 1327, Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.  It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence passed. it remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
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River Thames                     One of the longest rivers in England at 215 miles in length, it flows from its source near Cheltenham to the sea through some of the most beautiful countryside before becoming the main artery that the wealth of Britain has been bourn.  No river can have influenced a nations destiny more, from Roman times to the present day. 
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Westminster Hall                This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft long and 92ft high.  It was built in 1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399.  It was here that Charles I was condemned to death in 1649.  Edward II abdicated in 1327.  Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.  It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence passed.  It remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
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Cabinet War Rooms         In 1940 as the bombs rained down on London, Winston Churchill, his Cabinet, his Chiefs of Staff and intelligence chiefs were meeting below ground in a fortified basement in Whitehall, later to be known as the Cabinet War Rooms.  They offered shelter in which to work, sleep and live for as long as necessary.  When the war ended the lights were switched off and the rooms left silent and untouched for many years.  The rooms were in operational use from 27th August 1939 to the Japanese surrender in 1945 the war cabinet held more than 100 meetings in these somewhat cramped rooms.  Without doubt some of the most important decisions of the Second World War were taken here. 
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Buckingham Palace         Until the 18th Century the original site was occupied by Buckingham House which was bought by George III in 1762.  When George IV acceded the throne in 1820 he commissioned John Nash to build a palace fit for a King on the same site.  Much of the original structure and decoration survives to this day.
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The British Monarchy
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Banqueting House            Completed in 1622 and designed by Indigo Jones, it was the first building in London to embody the classical Palladium style together with the use of Portland stone in the construction.  Built originally as a part of Whitehall Palace it was the only building to escape the great fire which destroyed the Palace in 1698.  The main hall is 115ft long and 60ft wide but it is the ceiling which catches the eye.  Painted by Rubens for Charles 1st in 1629-34 it depicts the Apotheoses of the Stuart Dynasty in nine panels, which should be viewed from the far end of the room.  In 1649 Charles 1st stepped out of one of the windows of the hall on his way to the scaffold erected outside in the yard, to his execution.  Ironically Charles II celebrated his restoration to the throne here 20 years later.  Still used for state banquets and official functions by the Government and the Queen.  
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British Museum                 Founded in 1753, it is the oldest museum in the world.  The original collection was started by the physician Sir Hans Sloane but over the years it as been added to many times over.  The immense hoard of artefacts spans nearly 2 million years of world history.  It is stored in 94 galleries covering over 2 miles of displays.  Some of the treasures include Egyptian mummies, the Mildenhall Saxon silver tableware found after being ploughed up in a Suffolk field in 1942, Lindow man preserved in a bog since the first century AD, pottery from Greece and Rome, Lindisfarne Gospels from the 7th Century, an original copy of Magna Carta from 1215. Together with specimens from all over the world which bring the very history of our civilisation alive.
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Covent Garden                  Believed to have been the Convent Garden of St Peters, Westminster, where the Monks sold surplus vegetables.  In 1638 the area was very residential developed by Indigo Jones, with arcaded walks based on the Piazza D` Arme at Livorno.  In 1671 by right of charter it became a small market which gradually filled the Piazza.  In 1830 the 6th Duke of Bedford rebuilt it in its present form.  It became the largest fruit, vegetable and flower market in the country.  Since the market moved South of the river the area has been redeveloped.  Still keeping the magnificent canopy and many of the buildings from the early 1800s. the area is now well known for its restaurants, shops, market stalls and of course the Royal Opera House.  The Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London Transport Museum, Theatre Museum and much, much more.
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10 Downing Street            Has been the official residence of the Prime Minister since Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime Minister lived here in 1732.  The street was named after its builder, Sir George Downing.  The iron gates were erected for security reasons in 1989.
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St. Paul's Cathedral, London        The original Cathedral was built on Ludgate Hill by the Anglo Saxons in 604A.D. built of wood it burnt down and was rebuilt on a number of occasions.  The present Cathedral was started by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675 and it took 35 years to build.  The Cathedral was damaged during the Second World War with bombs falling through the roof and destroying the alter and one damaging the North transept.  A famous picture taken at the time shows the cathedral surrounded by fire and smoke and through the gloom appearing unscathed the dome of St Pauls rising dominantly and defiantly from the inferno below, a source of inspiration to the whole country in its hour of need.  In the crypt lie buried, Wren, Nelson, Wellington and many other famous British people.  The peel of 12 bells is outstanding and the choir of 38 boys and 18 men maintain a very proud tradition.
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Westminster Abbey                          Legend has it that the first Church built on Thorney Island in the Thames was built by King Segbert in the 7th Century, there is also mention of a Charter from King Offa of Mercia to the people of Westminster granting land.  We also have a Charter from King Edgar in the 10th Century for the restoring of the Benedictine Abbey.  It is also written that a substantial foundation existed in Westminster when King Edward the Confessor became King in 1042.  We do know that Edward started to build a Church here close to the previous building and it was consecrated on 28th December 1065.  Eight days later Edward died and he was buried in front of the high altar.
William the Conqueror was crowned in that Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. this Coronation began a tradition and all Kings and Queens of England (Britain) with the exception of Edward V & Edward VIII have been crowned in the Abbey since that date.
Work began in 1245 in rebuilding the Abbey. The work proceeded rapidly and by 1269 the Quire and one bay of the Nave was completed.  At this time the body of St Edward was removed and laid to rest in a Chapel bearing his name.  In 1272 Henry III died and his body was buried in the front of the high alter where Edward`s had once lain.
The complete history of this famous Abbey would take many pages to write, hence it is possibly to conclude by saying “many Kings and Queens together with famous people lie buried within its walls and therefore this one building is a unique testament to 1,000 years of the history of the British people”.

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Tower of London               Built by William the Conqueror because he did not trust his new people.  Over the years it has been a garrison, armoury, prison, royal mint and royal palace.  Among well known heads that have rolled or languished in the tower were Kings of Scotland, France and England.  Lady Jane Grey, Duke of Monmouth, Queen Elizabeth for six months, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more.  There is even a gate directly off the river called traitors gate.
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Southwark Cathedral                       Hiddern away beneath the modern arches and bridges of busy London.  This jewel is known as “Londons hidden glory” Londons oldest Cathedral.  The doomsday book records that in Anglo Saxon times a Monasterium was situated on this site, some recent excavations have unearthed some Roman remains but the origins of the church unfortunately are lost in the mists of time.  The church was rebuilt in 1106 and was closely linked to the Bishops of Winchester.  The present choir was constructed in the 13th Century, the tower in the 14th and the altar screen in the 16th Century.  It finally became a Cathedral in 1905 to serve what was a growing population on the South bank.
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Hotels

Abbots Barton Hotel, Canterbury    Situated about 10 minutes walk outside the City Walls this hotel is in a lovely quiet spot set in 2 acres of landscaped gardens.  This 3 star hotel offers en-suite facilities, TV, coffee/tea, hairdryer and FREE internet access.  A full English Breakfast is available each morning.
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Winchester Royal Hotel    This 3 star hotel is very central with the main shopping street close by and the Cathedral less than 5 minutes walk away.  Each room is en-suite and offers TV, coffee/tea making facilities and hairdryer.  The Hotel is in the process of a full refit which will be completed by January 2013.  The hotel also boasts an award winning restaurant.
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Marriott Royal Hotel, Bristol    A very nice 4 star hotel within 100yds of the Cathedral, in the heart of the City.  Established hotel with a traditional feel, modern but with an old world charm of a bygone age.  Each room is en-suite with Coffee/Tea making facilities and hairdryer.  The Hotel also boasts an indoor pool, gym cocktail bar and restaurant.
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Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, London                    Situated on the South Bank of the Thames at the end of Westminster Bridge, directly opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.  You really can not get must more central in London.  The hotel only opened in 2010 and boasts 5 restaurants and bars, a health spa with 15metre pool and 24 hour gym access and free WiFi through out the hotel.
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