The Canterbury Tales Review: In the Easter holidays we were invited to experience Chaucers famous Canterbury TalesCanterbury Tales. I did wonder if Monkey at almost five maybe a little young to enjoy it. However my concerns were completely unfounded.
We arrived ten minutes before our tour was due to start Monkey was fascinated by the gentleman who greeted us as he was dressed up in clothing from the time. He was very polite and knowledgeable, we decided to put Kipper in the carrier. Although there a few steps in the experience which means you could probably manage a buggy with two of you. The carrier worked fine for us as the experience part takes around forty minutes.
The experience recreates the pilgrimage from London to Canterbury as depicted in the poem. If you have school age children who are learning about Chaucer then it would be a great way to bring it to life. Initially you have a costume character guide for the first couple of rooms and then the handsets take over. I hadn’t really given it much thought but obviously some of the langue in the poem is not suitable for small ears. Thankfully they had given this due thought and there was child’s handset with more appropriate language and story telling. The handset worked well with Monkey, although he was a little timid of the dark setting initially but soon got into the swing of things. I am sure this is more age related than anything else. The tour began in the Tabard Inn in London, throughout the tour you are regaled by five very different tales of true love, saucy scheming and spine chilling trickery as each of Chaucer’s colourful characters competes to win the title of best story-teller.
- The Knights Tale: The knight is the first to tell his tale. It is a story rich in love, rivalry and chivalry. Two men fall in love with the same beautiful young girl. But who will win her heart?
- The Miller’s Tale: A bawdy tale telling a rather different story of love. A deceitful clerk tries to have his way with the carpenters wife and gets his just desserts.
- The Wife of Bath: This tale asks the question to which every man would like the answer – ‘what do women more desire?’ The Wife of Bath should know – she’s had five husbands.
- The Nun’s Priest’s Tale: A farmyard fable. Can Chanticleer the cock outwit the cunning old fox, or will he become his next meal?
- The Pardoner’s Tale: A thrilling tale of death and trickery and one which will lave you with a slight tingle down your spine. The tale has an unexpected ending.
The journey ends at a reconstruction of the Shrine of St Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. Which of course is the reason for Canterbury’s position throughout the years as a major destination for pilgrims and tourists alike.
I can see why its been running for 28 years and has welcomed more then two million visitors through its doors. Monkey’s favourite bit was is in the Medieval Story Garden as there was loads to keep him entertained with storytelling, learning about Medieval Medicine Techniques and undertaking a Knight’s School Quest. When we entered Monkey had the garden to himself and was able to try everything out without waiting. He particularly liked the knight school and had great fun learning how to yield a sword properly.
I think this is a great addition to an already popular attraction and Canterbury Tales will be running further events in the gardens throughout the school holidays for the rest of the year. I particularly like that you are not rushed through any of the activities so you can spend as long as you like experiencing them. The lady running the session was really engaging and made the activities come to life.
Their timetable looks like:
- May 1st – Mystical Beasts – themed activities including Mystical Beasts Hunt, Longbow talks and beast slaying skills at Knight School
- May 27th – June 4th – Magical Patterns – hair braiding, patterns in kaleidoscopes, Maypole Dancing, Demonstrations of Atrolabes.
- July 22nd – Sept 1st – Summer – Maypole Dancing, dragon slaying skills at Knight School, Medieval Medicine and Story Telling
- Dec 16th – 17th – Magical Medieval Christmas – Carol Singers, Santa’s elves, write a Christmas wish and visit Santa’s grotto
Things you need to know:
- Admission Prices: Adults £9.95, Children 5-15 £7.95 under fives are free
- Opening Times: Vary depending on the time of year so it it best to check the website for more details. Although it is open daily during the school holidays. Except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
- Address: The Canterbury Tales, Margaret Street, Canterbury, CT1, 2TG. I was very impressed with their website which had lots of details and suggestions around parking. We ended up parking only a short walkaway. It is also located in amongst the shops so there is plenty of opportunity to grab some refreshments and a toilet break before starting the tour.
We all had a good time and I would recommend a visit if you are local.
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This is a collaborative post we were given free entry to the attraction in return for an honest review.