St Augustine's Abbey


An outstanding landmark in England's history, St Augustine's Abbey was founded in AD 598 by St Augustine himself. It marked the start of the rebirth of Christianity in southern England and is part of the Canterbury World Heritage Site along with the cathedral and St Martin's Church. The site functioned as a monastery until it was suppressed in 1538, becoming a royal palace and then a Stuart garden. Today, the ruins are an atmospheric testament to the unique history of the site.

Information about your visit

A visit to one of our sites will inspire your students and bring your teaching to life. We'd like to reassure you that we're following Government guidance to make your trip as safe and enjoyable as possible. 

Important information to consider before you book:

  • To keep everyone safe we’ve introduced limits on visitor numbers and school groups, so please bear this in mind when booking your trip.
  • Find out more about what to expect on your school visit, which also includes our Covid 19 Risk Assessment.
  • To make the planning process as easy as possible, make sure you check our Plan Your School Trip section at the bottom of this page, for updated information on the facilities at the site as well as our free resources.
  • As usual, you’ll need to book your visit at least 14 days in advance. Please check our Terms and Conditions for full details.
  • Although is it not a requirement, any teachers, parents, or students aged 16 years can check in via the NHS Test and Trace app, using the NHS QR code posters displayed at the site entrance. Please factor this into your travel/arrival time. For more information about how we are handling your personal data for NHS Test and Trace please visit this page.

We’re continually updating our education offer in line with government guidance.  Most of our English Heritage sites are now open, including indoor spaces and cafes.  At some sites you might not be able to use our handling collections or costumes as part of a free self-led visit, but where we can provide hands-on items in a safe way we will. We’ve adapted our Discovery Visit workshops to follow government guidelines, but for certain sessions this hasn’t been possible – please check our schools webpages for further information.

There may be areas of our sites which are closed, so please check what’s available for your school group on our property webpages and with our booking team.  They can put you in touch with our Education Visits Officers who can offer help and guidance, so you can make the most of your school trip.

Curriculum links

Support your teaching in the classroom by stepping out of it. A visit to St Augustine's Abbey will help you bring learning to life, covering multiple topics across the curriculum and key stages.

  • KS1 History: Significant historical events, people and places in the locality
  • KS2 History: A local history study. Britain's Settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots, Christian conversion. Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor. A study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS2 Religious Studies: Religion in daily life. Why an abbey was built on the site and who lived there
  • KS3 History: A local history study. The development of church, state and society in Medieval Britain 1066-1509 and in Britain 1509-1745. A study of an aspect or theme in British history that consolidates and extends pupils’ chronological knowledge from before 1066

Free Self-led Visits

Book a free self-led visit to St Augustine's Abbey and organise your day to suit your curriculum objectives. Explore the extensive abbey ruins, including the excavated remains of England’s oldest churches, and spot the features of the Norman cathedral-sized church. Visit the museum to discover the story of the site, from the first Christian Anglo-Saxon king and first Anglo-Saxon monastery in England, to Norman updates, the suppression of the monasteries and a Stuart garden. 

Enquire now

Plan your trip

We have a wide range of materials to support your visit and make school trip planning easy. Download our free resources to help you make the most out of your visit and create unique learning experiences before, during and after your trip.

We also offer free planning visits for group leaders once you have made a booking. Our Education Booking Team is on hand to advise and help you create the best possible school trip to suit your needs and area of study.

  • Facilities
    • PARKING: There is no parking on site. The nearest car park (charged) is just opposite on the Longport road. It is not managed by English Heritage.
    • TOILETS: One unisex customer toilet will be available on site. Public toilets are available nearby in Canterbury City Centre.
    • FOOD AND DRINK: You are welcome to bring a picnic to eat in the grounds. 
    • SHOP: There is a gift shop selling a range of English Heritage gifts and books, plus a selection of light refreshments. We recommend bringing your students in small groups at a time.
    • MUSEUM: The museum contains artefacts and stone carvings found at the Abbey during excavations. There is a range of objects covering many centuries and a short video which gives brief details of the different phases of building on the site accompanied by reconstructions. Please note that the VR exhibit is currently not available. A maximum 8 students are permitted in the museum at any time and there is a one way route around the museum and site. 
    • AUDIO GUIDE: Audio guide is available as a QR code download to a smartphone.
    • FACE COVERINGS: Face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces, including in our exhibitions, shops, cafés and tea rooms. We won’t be able to give you a face covering, so please come prepared so you don’t miss out.
  • Learning Resources

    English Heritage has commissioned a series of portraits depicting six historic figures from the African diaspora whose stories have contributed to England’s rich history. The paintings will be hung at the English Heritage sites connected to their subjects this summer.

    Find out more about Abbot Hadrian in our learning pack and artist Clifton Powell who created his portrait. It will be on display at St Augustine's Abbey throughout the summer. 

  • Enquire now

  • School visits

    We’re pleased to confirm we’re now taking bookings online until 30 September. All bookings must be made at least 14 days in advance.

    Our site staff and education team are still working hard to keep everyone safe and we continue to follow government guidance.

    Due to the current situation we can’t answer calls as quickly as we’d like to. If you’d like more information about a site, email us and we’ll put you in touch with an Education Visits Officer.

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