Canterbury Bid

Medieval Pageant and Trail

The Medieval Pageant and Family Trail will return on Saturday 16 October 2021. In the mean time, why not get involved in our

…Giant Competition!

This year, in commemoration of the 850th anniversary of the death of Thomas Becket, we are asking our local community to design a giant in the image of Thomas Becket, who will  join in the city centre parade on the 16 October 2021.  Deadline for entries is 1 July 2021.

Below you will find a handy resource pack to help you with your designs along with a design template. Please make sure to read through the pack, in it you will discover the story behind one of Canterbury’s most famous residents! Even better still, The Beaney is currently running a very special exhibition ‘Saint Thomas Becket, World Healer’ – why not pop over there and see some fantastic medieval relics on loan from the British Museum, Arts Council England and Canterbury Cathedral.

The winning giant entry will become a giant which will be built over the summer by teachers from Canterbury School of Visual Arts (Canterbury College) and their students. They will also receive:

  • progress photos as their giant is built
  • an invitation to join the pageant and walk alongside the giant
  • a £200 book token
  • design on display in the city centre, during Canterbury Festival 2021

The deadline for entries will be the 1 July and we hope to announce the winner the following week.

On Saturday July 4th 2020 we hosted a virtual pageant on Facebook. The Medieval Pageant team created a jam-packed day of medieval mayhem including craft activities, virtual tours, a zoom fanfare and much more! All the activities and music created especially for the pageant are available HERE.

In the Middle Ages…

Canterbury was a lively, thriving and cosmopolitan city, just like today! One of the most important events in Canterbury’s history was the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in the Cathedral on 29th December 1170, by four knights who were seen to have acted on behalf of King Henry II. Shortly after his death miracles started to happen, and Canterbury became a major centre of pilgrimage for those seeking cures at Becket’s shrine. Many visitors stayed in the city‘s medieval ‘hospitals’ and inns. The journey of a fictional group of pilgrims was immortalised in the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Alternatively, keep up to date with the latest Pageant news on Ye Olde Medieval Pageant Facebook page:

On 12th July 1174, Henry II came to Canterbury to perform penance for the murder. He walked barefoot through the city in sackcloth and was flogged by cathedral monks. Today, join Henry and his wife Queen Eleanor as they process through the city streets once more.

The 2019 Medieval Pageant and Family Trail in review:

What a fantastic Medieval Pageant and Trail we had in 2019. We welcomed a record number of audience members, trail visitors and participants, but we had glorious weather – perfect for our medieval encampment in the Westgate Garden!

2019 Pageant in numbers:

5,000   people watched the Pageant

3,500   families took part in the Medieval Trail

300      chocolate medallions were given away

266      pre-event workshop participants

250      performers took part in the parade

16        heritage locations provided medieval activities between 11.30am and 5pm

13        local businesses provided Medieval themed activities for shoppers

4          Giants (Henry, Eleanor, Nun, Knight and Lily)

2          medieval warriors on horseback

Who took part?

Schools / Universities and Community Groups

  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Canterbury College
  • Canterbury Primary School
  • Marlowe Youth Company
  • Priory Fields School, Dover
  • Simon Langton Music Centre (boys and girls)
  • St Martin’s School, Dover
  • St Stephen’s Junior School
  • The Spires Academy Drummers
  • University of Kent
  • Wickhambreaux Primary School


  • The Pageant Theatre Company
  • Will Wollen as Henry II
  • Kat Hardman as Eleanor
  • Music – Peter Cook
  • Director – Peter Morgan-Barnes
  • A Companye of Strangers
  • Brassies
  • Canterbury Academy Choir
  • Canterbury Tales
  • Canterbury Players
  • Conroi
  • Free Men of Blean
  • Milites De Bec
  • Rough Musicke
  • CJs Choir
  • Sensational Choir
  • St Stephen’s Church Choir
  • The Pageant trumpeters
  • Local trumpeters from Langton Brass under direction of Daniel Cano
  • Stargazers Dancer (Doro Thyssen)

Trail Venue

  • Canterbury Tales
  • Eastbridge Hospital
  • The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge
  • The Marlowe Kit
  • Ortwin Thyssen Jewellery
  • St Martin’s Church
  • St Augustine’s Abbey
  • St Dunstan’s Church
  • St Mildred’s Church
  • St Peter’s Church
  • St Paul’s Church
  • St Thomas’ Church
  • Westgate Towers
  • Wesgate Gardens
  • Rough Musicke
  • The Fremasonry Museum

Event Committee

  • Big Bash Music Company
  • Canterbury Cathedral (Cressida Williams)
  • Canterbury Christ Church University (Louise Wilkinson)
  • Canterbury Connected BID
  • Canterbury Festival
  • Canterbury Gregorian Music Society
  • Canterbury Guided Tours
  • Canterbury Punting
  • Espression Arts Café
  • Fitzgerald Jewellers
  • Friends of the Westgate Parks
  • Lily’s Bistro
  • Tiny Tim’s Tearoom
  • Whirligig
  • Whitefriars

Big Bash Team

  • Makers: Helena Leeper, Andy Evans, Bob Martin,
  • Music leaders:  Peter Cook Lucy Gove, Rough Musicke, Suzanne Wood Dani Cano
  • Writer/director: Peter Morgan Barnes
  • Big Bash Admin: Sarah MacMillan
  • Curator: Peter Cook
  • Lead Actors: Will Wollen, Kat Hardman
  • Plus other professional Actors and local amateurs brought together specially for the
  • Pageant Play.
  • Stage Manager Steve Taylor
  • Giant Lifters x 6 local people


Canterbury Medieval Pageant won the “Lasting Impressions” award at the Kent Tourism Awards Ceremony 2017

Click here to View 2019 Medieval Pageant and Trail photo album