Canterbury castle, along with Dover and Rochester, were built soon after the Norman invasion of 1066.
The Normans were great ones for building castles: there are literally hundreds of them doted about England. The vast majority were originally just a motte (artificial mound) topped by a wooden keep with a surrounding palisaded bailey (courtyard area) which contained dwellings, workshops and safe compounds for sheep, cattle etc in case o siege.
Only a few of the original wooden motte-and-bailey castles were replaced with stone, although you can still see the earthworks of the originals elsewhere.
It is probable that that Canterbury's original motte-and-bailey castle created the mound in nearby Danejohn gardens. The location of the existing stone keep is hardly one which allows a good view over the surrounding countryside. As this stone structure dates from the time of Henry l (1100-1135) it seems very likely that a stone castle was simply built in a more convenient location.
The castle itself is largely built of flint and sandstone rubble, although it does include worked stones (many of which have been reused in a nearby wall) and part of the Roman town wall was used as its exterior boundary.
By the 1200s the castle was used largely as a prison and it was largely in ruins by the 1300s. The walls of its outer bailey were demolished in the 1800s, so what you see now is only a small part of what once existed.
Despite all this, and despite the fact that there is so little remaining, the castle is worth a visit. there are some very useful information boards and just walking around the base gives you an idea of the skill and effort was involved in its construction.
Free to enter, open every day until mid to late afternoon ('dusk', depending on time of year).
By now it was time to head back to the train station for I had to meet with a friend again in London around 8pm. Before that however I decided to go and have a look at Norman Canterbury Castle, which is just a couple minutes from the East train station. I couldn't really get a proper view of the ruins, because of the city walls, so I lifted my camera above my head, so at least the camera would have a clear view, and then snapped a fantastic picture. Apparently the castle can be visited from 8am till dusk and is part of the city wall trail, so I suppose if you want you could have a closer look.
So that was the end of a great day I went back to the train station and had to wait for a short while before the train would take me back to busy London.
Near the short stay car park in Castle Street is a Norman Castle dated 1080. It is free to have a look around and there is lots of useful info about it's history on large boards in the castle grounds.
The remains of a Norman castle with interpretation panels, an elevated viewing area and some seating is a main focus
of interest on the city wall trail. Leaflets on the trail are available at the information centre in Sun street opposite the cathedral's main gateway.
Canterbury Castle was established in the 1080s by the Normans and replaced an earlier motte and bailey fortification built at the nearby Dane John. The stone keep was largely constructed in the reign of Henry I (1100 - 1135) as one of three Royal castles in Kent. By the 13th century the castle had become the county gaol.
The castle enclosure re-used the Roman town wall as its southern boundary. Some reused Roman material may still be seen in the far corner close to the Wincheap pedestrian subway
Canterbury Castle is nowhere near as amazing as the cathedral! Unfortunatley all thats left of the castle is ruins....But its still worth a look....Remember its very old!
The castle dates back to Norman times, and was thought to have been built in 1080's, there are posts all around the castle explaining the different sections and telling the castles story, it is handier though to pick up a leaflet in the tic, this explains in far more detail the relevant information.
There isn't much left of the Norman castle either. It's interesting to see the castle at Dover (which was done in the same style and is still standing) and compare it to what is left here.