Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Kent  /  Canterbury  /  St. Martin's Church

St. Martin's Church, Canterbury

The Church of St Martin in Canterbury, England, situated slightly beyond the city centre, is the first church founded in England, the oldest parish church in continuous use and the oldest church in the entire English-speaking world. As such, it is recognised, along with Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey, as part of a World Heritage Site. Since 1668 the church has been part of the benefice of St Martin and St Paul Canterbury. Both St Martin's and nearby St Paul's churches are used for weekly services. The current rector of the parish is the Revd Mark Richard GriffinEarly historySt Martin's was the private chapel of Queen Bertha of Kent in the 6th century before Augustine arrived from Rome. Queen Bertha was a Christian Frankish princess who arrived in England with her Chaplain, Bishop Liudhard. King Æthelberht of Kent, her pagan husband, allowed her to continue to practise her religion by renovating (ca. AD 580) an existing church which the Venerable Bede says had been in use in the late Roman period but had fallen into disuse. As Bede specifically names it, this church was dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, a city located near where Bertha grew up.Upon Augustine's arrival he used St Martin's as his mission headquarters, immediately enlarging it (AD 597), and King Æthelberht was soon baptised here. With the quickly subsequent establishments of Canterbury Cathedral and St Augustine's Abbey, St Martin's lost prestige but retains its priority and historical importance.
St. Martin's Church is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our international travel planner, Canterbury Edition.
Source
Create an itinerary including St. Martin's Church
map
Places to stay near St. Martin's Church
St. Martin's Church Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
141 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This is the oldest church in the English speaking world which really gives one pause when standing inside it. It was established in 579 AD when the Catholic Queen Bertha of France married the pagan An...  more »
  • This UNESCO site is a short walk from town. It has an interesting graveyard which has seating so you can enjoy the afternoon sun. The church itself is very old and of historical significance.  more »
  • Lavery from the side of the University of Canterbury Church Road is enough preliminary research, were not allowed inside. It is registered in the world heritage site of the historic church.
    View original
Google
  • Possibly the oldest continuously used place of Christian worship in England. Large sections of the original Roman and Saxon walls are intact and the church exudes history from its stones.
  • Thanks to the Lord that I could see the first church of England.
  • The first church founded in England and the oldest church in the entire English-speaking world. A special, ancient place.
  • Tiny little church. This is the oldest open church in United Kingdom. Interesting to see and it has very nice overview to the city of Canterbury.
  • Very very old church and beautiful cemetry . Short walk from abbey.

Plan your trip to Canterbury

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Plans to St. Martin's Church by other users

29 days in Colchester SEE PLAN July, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Eastbourne BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, culture, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Eastbourne BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM April, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 33 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM ALGERIA April, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 54 days in Folkestone BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA March, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: March, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 51 days in England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 19 days in Kent BY A USER FROM SPAIN July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Canterbury BY A USER FROM CANADA March, culture, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, culture, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in Kent BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, culture, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 30 days in Eastbourne BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Canterbury BY A USER FROM SINGAPORE April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans