There is a period in late November when London isn’t at its best; the streets are crowded and the city is swathed in a cloud of drizzle. At this time, we all long to escape the yellow office lights and gloomy tube stops – even if just for the weekend!
Fortunately, just an hour or two away from the capital are a selection of beautiful ancient cities complete with medieval cathedrals that are just waiting to be explored. These cathedral cities look lovely no matter what the weather. Here candlelight warms the mullioned windows, mist coils around the church towers and frost crystallises the stonework. Rent with easyCar Club and make a trip to a historic hotspot.
Canterbury has heaps to offer jaded Londoner, but its stand out attraction is its magnificent cathedral. The site of Sir Thomas Becket’s murder in 1170, Canterbury Cathedral has striking stained glass windows that depicts the event. The building also boasts superb grounds, a vast library and catacombs. Like many cathedral cities, the whole town is steeped in history with other notable sites including the ruined abbey, medieval hospital and Norman castle.
For those visitors that are less enthusiastic about history, there is the King’s Mile (a series of streets lined with independent shops) and the Buttermarket (a cobbled square filled with cafes and restaurants) . The pilgrims might have journeyed to Canterbury by horse, but nowadays there are far superior ways travel! Hire Luis’s Mercedes CLA and make the journey from London in just over an hour and a half.
Head to picture-perfect Norwich to eat in the ancient pubs, wander the covered market and admire the half-timbered buildings. Norwich Cathedral has everything that you would want from a religious building of its calibre, but it is its roof that truly sets it apart. The cathedral’s great spire is home to two peregrine falcons and the building’s ceiling is covered with over a thousand intricate carvings called ‘bosses’ (the largest collection of any cathedral in Christendom). Download the Cathedral’s app to take a closer look at the roof bosses and to explore the biblical and medieval stories they illustrate. Still feeling techie? Use the easyCar Club app to rent Krish’s Porsche Boxster for your journey to and from Norwich.
If you fancy a visit to Kent but Canterbury seems that little bit too far, then Rochester is the place for you. Rent Chris’s Nissan 350 and make the drive there in about an hour. Home to England’s largest second hand bookshop and a favourite place of Charles Dickens, Rochester is a great destination for bibliophiles. Dickens had his country home on the outskirts of the town and you can visit the Swiss chalet that the author wrote some of his greatest works in.
Rochester features in various guises in four of Dickens’ novels. You can tour several historic houses which provided Dickens his inspiration for Satis House in ‘Great Expectations’ and Rochester Cathedral gave Dickens the idea for the cathedral in Edwin Drood. Parts of the real Cathedral were even used in the filming of a recent BBC TV adaptation of the book. If you have the time to explore, be sure to admire the cathedral’s highly decorated pipe organ, elaborate west door and recently renovated crypt.
Rent Djaffar’s Mercedes E-Class and motor down to Winchester for the weekend. Located near the South Downs in Hampshire, Winchester is the perfect countryside retreat. The cathedral city is the former seat of Alfred the Great and the king is commemorated with an impressive bronze statue in the centre town. Another notable former resident was Jane Austen who lived in Winchester for eight years before her death. Her former home is now a Jane Austen museum and the novelist is buried in Winchester Cathedral. The medieval cathedral is the longest in Europe and houses some beautiful wall paintings, artwork and carvings which should not be missed on a visit.