Canterbury is a historic English cathedral city and UNESCO World Heritage Site, which lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district of Kent, England. It lies on the River Stour.
The city's cathedral became a major focus of pilgrimage following the 1170 martyrdom of Thomas Becket, although it had already been a well-trodden pilgrim destination since the murder of St Alphege by the men of King Canute in 1012. A journey of pilgrims to Becket's shrine served as the frame for Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century classic The Canterbury Tales.
Canterbury is a popular tourist destination: consistently one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom, the city's economy is heavily reliant upon tourism.
There is also a substantial student population, brought about by the presence of the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the University for the Creative Arts, and the Girne American University Canterbury campus.
Canterbury remains, however, a small city in terms of geographical size and population, when compared with other British cities.
Independent secondary schools include Kent College, St Edmund's School and, what is the oldest school in England, the King's School.
The Kings School in Canterbury is one of the top public schools in the United Kingdom, regularly featuring in the top ten most expensive school fees lists.
The city's secondary grammar schools are Barton Court Grammar School, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys and Simon Langton Girls' Grammar School. Non-selective state secondary schools include The Canterbury High School, St Anselm's Catholic School and the Church of England's Archbishop's School; all of which regularly do well in external examinatons.