Canterbury Bid

Medieval Pageant and Trail 2023



“Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Canterbury’s Medieval Pageant and Trail returns to the city on Saturday 1 July for plenty of medieval mayhem.”

Fanfares at the ready as we welcome a colourful parade featuring historical characters, knights on horseback, warriors, pilgrims, musicians, giants and some fantastic medieval animals!

Then it’s time to join the pilgrimage – grab your trail leaflet and head off on a special journey around medieval Canterbury. There are 18 different locations offering a range of activities from medieval crafting to dragon hunting!

When you visit, have your trail leaflet stamped. Collect at least 5 stamps and receive a FREE giant chocolate coin at the Cathedral Shop in the Buttermarket.

Free family costume-making workshops this Thursday and Friday!

Join Canterbury’s Medieval Pageant parade as a lion, dragon, unicorn, horse or chough with our fun after-school workshops at St Peter’s Church this week

Join in the roaring, tweeting, naaaying fun at this year’s animal-themed Medieval Pageant parade! Children and their adults who would like to take part in the parade are invited to come along to any of three FREE costume-making workshops at St Peter’s Church this Thursday and Friday – ready to hop, trot or flap into the parade at 11am on Saturday at Westgate Towers!

It’s easy to sign up – just choose which costume you’d like to make and click its link to book your place.


11.00 – 11.45am – The colourful parade will enter through the Westgate Towers and process through the city centre. Expect historical characters, re-enactment groups, children dressed as medieval animals, knights on horses, musicians, giants and even a bonnacon, all processing through the city, finishing in the Marlowe Theatre forecourt.


12 – 5pm – Designed around children and their parents, the Westgate Towers, the Beaney, St Augustine’s Abbey, Franciscan Gardens, Eastbridge Hospital and many more will be welcoming visitors with a range of free activities including crafts, a chance to meet medieval characters and you can even visit a medieval encampment! When you visit places featured in the Family Trail, have your leaflet ‘stamped’.

If you can collect at least 5 stamps you will receive a FREE giant chocolate coin from the Cathedral Shop in the Buttermarket. Allow a whole afternoon to complete the trail. If you have less time, visit the venues of your choice and don’t forget to collect your stamps! 

The full trail leaflet will be available to collect from the following locations on the day of the event:

  • All trail locations
  • Buttermarket – visit the Canterbury Guides table (also a trail stop!)

Alternatively, The Beaney on Canterbury High Street will have trail maps available to collect from Thursday 29 June 2023.

(running from 11.30-5pm)

St Martins’ Church
North Holmes Road, Canterbury, CT1 1QJ (no wheelchair and buggy access)
UNESCO World Heritage Site: a church that has been in continuous use as a place of worship since the 6th century! Come and make your own medieval Lion Mask and enjoy live music from a medieval Lute throughout the afternoon.

St Augustine’s Abbey
Longport, Canterbury CT1 1PF 
Enjoy FREE entry to one of the most important monasteries in medieval England. Expect to bump into some medieval characters as you walk around.

Medieval Encampment at Christ Church University
Christ Church University Campus
Visit Ost Centingas’ medieval encampment in the idyllic Coleridge Garden and discover more about medieval life.

Dragon Hunt at Christ Church University
Church University Campus
Create your own medieval-style flags, also known as pennants, then go and find the green dragon in the Becket Garden. 

St Paul’s Church
Church Street, CT1 1NH
It is believed that St Paul’s Church was built as a chapel by the abbey for local people and overseen by them as a place of worship and instruction in the 13th Century. Pop in and create your own stained glass window.

St Thomas’ Roman Catholic Church
Burgate, CT1 2HJ
See a relic of Becket and a painting showing the saints of Canterbury.
Explore the church and enjoy some craft activities focused on Saint Frances, the patron saint of animals.

The Pilgrim Badge Maker
St Thomas’ Church Garden, Burgate, CT1 2HJ
Watch Lionheart Replicas demonstrate how medieval pilgrims’
were made, and take a look at some original badges!

Canterbury Cathedral
Cathedral Welcome Centre, Buttermarket, CT1 2EH

Visit the welcome centre and get involved with the creation of an animal tapestry!

Canterbury Guides at The Buttermarket
The Buttermarket, CT1 2EE

It’s time to look high and low and see if you can find a medieval animal. Visit the Canterbury Guides table in the Buttermarket, tell them where the red dragon is, and receive a stamp!

St Mildred’s Church
Church Lane, CT1 2PP  
Come and see Roman stonework, a 14th century beamed roof and a medieval font, then make your own medieval animal tiles.

The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge
Learning Lab, First floor, The Beaney, 18 High Street, CT1 2RA
Discover medieval printmaking, wheat-weaving and calligraphy with illumination provided by members of Roughe Musicke in the Learning Lab.

The Eastbridge Hospital (£1 suggested dontation for entry)
High Street, CT1 2BD
Visit this historic building which provided lodgings for pilgrims in the Middle Ages, then enjoy some craft actvities in the chapel.

Franciscan Gardens
60 St Peter’s Street, CT1 2BD
Discover this oasis of peace right at the heart of the city, where the first Franciscan Friary was built in England and visit the fabulous Milites de Bec encampment!

St Peter’s Anglican Church
St Peter’s St, Canterbury CT1 2AT
Come and join the Shakepeare Festival team for puppet making workshops and performances of their latest programme.

Westgate Towers
1 Pound Lane, CT1 2BZ (CLOSES 4pm – no wheelchair and buggy access)
Climb to the battlements of the historic 600 year old Westgate Towers, England’s largest surviving medieval gateway, and try your hand at creating a medieval seal.

The Kent Museum of Freemasonry
St Peter’s Place, CT1 2DA
Visit this fascinating museum where you will find hidden animals throughout the building!

Westgate Gardens
Canterbury, CT1 2BQ  
Knight Fight Club! Brand new this year, the Invicta Knights will be joining the Medieval Pageant and Trail and will be based in the Westgate Gardens. They will be providing you live demonstations of how medieval battles would have looked. Stand well back and enjoy!

St Dunstan’s Church
80 London Road, Canterbury CT2 8LS
Make egg box dragons in this church, named after an archbishop-saint, where King Henry II stopped on his way to the cathedral in July 1174. The skull of St Thomas More (d. 1535) is in a crypt of the church.


Gregorian Chanting with the Gregorian Music Society
12pm, St Paul’s Church CT1 1NH

In medieval times, all churches sounded a bell at midday. It was a signal for everyone to say a daily prayer to the blessed Virgin Mary, the Angelus. All are welcome to join the rehearsal at 11.15am.

Take a Selfie with a Chough or Bison
Guildhall Street, Canterbury

Visit Guildhall Street’s window vinyls and take a photo with either a Bison or a giant Chough (or both) and find out more about Wildwood’s rewilding project.

Medieval Animals Talk and Walk
1pm, 2.30pm & 4pm
Canterbury Tourist Guides stand at the Buttermarket

Discover fascinating facts and hidden surprises about medieval animals with a short guided tour of the Buttermarket, free of charge.

Live Lute Playing
St Martin’s Church, CT1 1PW

Enjoy the delicate, subtle tones of the lute: the medieval ancestor of the modern guitar. A lutenist will be playing throughout the day at St Martin’s Church, the oldest church in the English-speaking world that is still in use.

As part of the King’s Week celebrations, you are also invited to the following events:

Pottery Throwdown
3.30-5.30pm, The Green Court Marquee, King’s School
Take your Medieval Pageant leaflet and gain free entry to the King’s School Pottery Throwdown. Learn how to throw on the wheel.

Classic Cars
10.00-5pm, Birley’s Playing Fields (St Stephen’s Road CT2 7JT)
Head over to Birley’s Playing Fields to see a glorious display of classic cars.


Paper copies of the trail leaflet will be available to collect from the following locations on the day of the event:

  • The Beaney House of Art & Knowledge, Canterbury High Street
  • All trail locations
  • Buttermarket – visit the Canterbury Guided Tours table

Alternatively, The Beaney on Canterbury High Street will have trail maps available to collect two days prior to the festival.

Can’t wait until 1 July? Back in 2020 we hosted a virtual pageant – a jam-packed day of craft activities, virtual tours, a zoom fanfare and much more! All the activities and music created especially for the pageant are available HERE.

Keep up to date with the latest Pageant news on Ye Olde Medieval Pageant Facebook page:

Click here to View 2023 Medieval Pageant and Trail photo album