Canterbury Bid

Canterbury Medieval Pageant and Family Trail 2019

Saturday 6 July 2019
11 – 12.4pm Pageant
11.30 – 5pm Trail


Canterbury’s fourth annual Medieval Pageant and Trail will take place on Saturday 6th July and is bound to be a highlight of this Summer’s event calendar!

Commemorating Henry ll’s pilgrimage to Canterbury and astonishing public apology in 1174 this colourful parade features historical characters, local schools and community and re-enactment groups, giants, music and medieval mayhem for all ages (even middle-ages!).

To download your Medieval Pageant and Trail Booklet click HERE!


11am – Scene 1: The Roughshod King and his Precarious court at Westgate Gardens, by Tower House

11.15am – Pageant departs from gardens, through Westgate Towers, High Street, Longmarket, Burgate, Buttermarket, Sun Street, Guildhall Street, High Street and return to the Westgate Gardens.

12.15pm (approx) – Scene 2: The Vengeful Queen and her Court of Love at Westgate Gardens, by Tower House followed by a medieval encampment and archery until 5pm.

11.30am-5pm – Family Trail see map for venue locations

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.

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.

Why do we love Eleanor of Aquitaine?

This year the focus will be on Henry II’s wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is to this day upheld as a feminist icon. To get you prepared, here are a few interesting facts about her:

  • As a teenager Eleanor was Queen of France, married to Louis VII (Henry II was her second husband)
  • She was one of the wealthiest and most powerful figures in Europe during the Middle Ages
  • Eleanor was one of very few queens to go on a crusade
  • Eleanor was imprisoned for 16 years by Henry II for her role in a revolt against him
  • Eleanor created the Court of Love. A court largely focused on courtly love and symbolic ritual; and was reported to have attracted artists and poets, and to have contributed to a flowering of culture and the arts
  • Eleanor lived to the age of 82

You can let us know if you are coming and find regular updates on our Facebook event page:

On the day of the Pageant, there will be various Medieval themed events happening across the city. Here is the official 2019 list of events:

The 2018 Medieval Pageant and Family Trail

What can you expect at the Medieval Pageant and trail? Take a look at what happened last year:

What a fantastic Medieval Pageant and Trail we had in 2018. Not only did we welcome a record number of audience members, trail visitors and participants, but we had glorious weather, celebrated Canterbury Tales’ 30th Anniversary and welcomed an additional 3 historic venues to our free family trail.

2018 Pageant in numbers:

5,000   people watched the Pageant

4,000   families took part in the Medieval Trail

230      chocolate medallions were given away

266      pre-event workshop participants

218      performers took part in the parade

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

13        local businesses provided Medieval themed activities for shoppers

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

2          medieval warriors on horseback

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

Click here to View 2018 Medieval Pageant and Trail photo album