Skip to main content

Magna Carta, the Barons and ‘bad’ King John

Magna Carta, the Barons and ‘bad’ King John

Canterbury’s Magna Carta Family Activity Day

On Saturday 13 June Canterbury commemorates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta as the city comes alive with medieval characters, music, fun hands-on activities, free guided tours, exhibitions, film screenings and a colourful parade through the city streets.

Canterbury’s Magna Carta Day is part of a national weekend to commemorate Magna Carta, which was agreed by King John at Runnymede on 15 June 1215, and which has played an important role in the development of human rights, liberty and democracy in Britain and across the globe.

Canterbury had a key part to play in the story of Magna Carta through the role of Archbishop Stephen Langton. Also, one of the four surviving copies of the 1215 Magna Carta has been identified as Canterbury’s copy. It is now in the British Library in London.

One of the highlights of the day is a free Magna Carta family trail around important heritage sites, to find out about Magna Carta and meet colourful, real-life characters from the early 13th century.

King John and Archbishop Stephen Langton will be welcoming visitors in the Cathedral Precincts; the king’s rebellious barons, including Robert Fitzwalter, will be based at the West Gate Towers; and Canterbury citizens including Norman the Fuller, shop owner Susanna de Planaz and Terric the Goldsmith will be at other venues including The Canterbury Tales and Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Medieval pilgrims will be telling their stories at Eastbridge Hospital.

The trail also includes a visit to the Beaney where visitors can see the ‘Canterbury in the Age of Magna Carta’ special exhibition.

‘Horrible Histories’ inspired hands-on and creative activities include helping Norman the Fuller trample woollen cloth in a vat of ‘urine’, making pilgrim badges and designing a King John crown!

Participants can collect their free trail sheet on the day from participating venues. Children who complete the trail and collect all 6 seal stamps will win a chocolate medal from the Cathedral shop.

The trail runs from 10am to 5pm and is aimed at primary age children and their parents/carers. It includes free entry for a family group to all venues on presentation of the Magna Carta family trail leaflet. Participants should allow 2-3 hours to visit all 6 venues, or can choose to visit just one or two if they have less time to spare.

The family activity day also includes performances of medieval music, free guided tours of the City with the Canterbury Tourist Guides, screenings of the animated ‘Robin Hood’ at Curzon Canterbury, and a parade through the City Centre, leaving the Cathedral at 14:30.

image of the Cathedral
Top Of Page