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

Our number one priority remains the health, safety and security of all of our visitors, staff and volunteers. Our staff are still working hard to keep everyone safe and make sure you and your group have an enjoyable visit.

You and your group don’t need to have a COVID Pass to visit, but please don’t visit if you or any of your group have symptoms of Covid-19, have tested positive or if you’ve been asked to self-isolate. We’ll always follow the latest government guidance, and if anything changes we’ll update this page to let you know our plans.

Important information to consider before you book:

  • Face coverings are now legally required in all our indoor public places, including our visitor centres, shops, on all on-site transport, and in our cafes except when you are eating or drinking (unless exempt)
  • To keep everyone safe we’re continuing to limit visitor numbers at some sites and in some indoor spaces. Please book as soon as possible to secure your preferred trip date and times.
  • In order to process your enquiry as quickly as possible, please ensure you have provided the following information, or have this information ready when you speak to one of our advisers: visit arrival and departure time; age range of the group; subject(s) to be studied; learning objective; number of learners and leaders; name of trip organiser; name of trip leader; SEND requirements. Go to our bookings page to make an enquiry or update an existing booking.
  • Find out more about what to expect on your school visit and make sure you download our COVID risk assessments; download a free copy of managing education visits during the pandemic and if you're participating in a Discovery Visit download our managing Discovery Visits during the pandemic 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.
  • 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.

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 keep you and your group safe at all times, but for certain sessions we’re still working on this – please check the Discovery Visit section and Facilities section on this page below for further information.

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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. 

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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: Male, female and disabled toilets are situated inside the museum.
    • FOOD AND DRINK: You are welcome to bring a picnic to eat in the grounds. There are benches throughout the Abbey ruins as well as seating and tables outside the museum building.
    • 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.
    • AUDIO GUIDE: Audio guide is available as a QR code download to a smartphone.
    • ACCESSIBILITY: There are disabled parking spaces available on the Longport road opposite the site. Visitors can be set down on the pavement next to the entrance. No special arrangements are required. Most of the site and building is accessible by wheelchair. Manual wheelchair users are advised to bring an assistant, and may need to be able to leave the wheelchair briefly. Please call site if you need further information. There are stairs down into the crypt, in the cloister and the Campanile mound. There are no ramps or lift access.
  • 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. 

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