Welcome to the story of England’s largest surviving medieval gateway with spectacular views of the city of Canterbury from the battlements viewpoint
Museum & Battlements Viewpoint
The largest and arguably the finest of the country’s surviving medieval gateways – was built during the One Hundred Years’ War to defend Canterbury from foreign incursion. It also symbolised the wealth and importance of the City and the Archbishop, who had his palace here. The 60-foot (18m) high stronghold did not stand alone, as it does now, but was approached over a drawbridge across the River Stour, and flanked by impressive walls.
Time passed, the military threat lessened, and the Westgate was converted into the City Gaol. This function, too, came to an end. After a brief period as an archive, at the start of the 20th century, the Westgate became a museum. Brought back into active service in both World Wars, it played a key role in the City’s air defences.
Sixty years later, dedicated private investors undertook to bring the museum up to date, fashioning a spectacular window into the history of our City and our nation. Our exhibits cover four themes including City Defences & The Wars, Crime & Punishment, The Towers Through History and The Magna Carta Maquettes.
Also part of the attraction, set within the original felons' cells & former WWII communications post is our Escape Room experience. Look out for the black 'History Discs' located on all floors which give more information on the former uses of each space over the years.
The iconic Westgate Towers is also available to hire for special events, please visit our event page.
MON - SUN 11am - 4pm
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Please note that the only access is via narrow stairs of 5 flights and that doorways are narrow because of their listed status