Minster in Thanet between Ramsgate to the east and Canterbury to the west is an ancient, picturesque village with excellent transport links. The railway station offers fast, regular train services to Ramsgate, Canterbury, Ashford, Tonbridge and Charing Cross. Less frequent rail services also run to Dover via Sandwich, as well as to Deal and Walmer. Minster takes its name from the Saxon word ‘Ministre’ which means monastery or church. Until the 11th century the village sat right alongside the River Wantsum estuary, and the waterway was a busy one with ships sailing past or anchored here en-route to London. Thanet was actually an island at this time and ships would sail up the River Stour from Pegwell Bay passing Minster and Sarre on the River Wansum (a tributary of the Stour) up to the River Thames at Reculver.
With the silting up of the River Stour, the importance of Minster declined, but its rich heritage is renowned in Kent today and tours of the 7th Century Nunnery – Minster Abbey – are open to the public. St Mary’s church in Minster is another ancient heritage gem, called the ‘Cathedral on the marshes’ and founded in 670AD. St Augustine landed near the site of this church in 597 heralding the arrival of Christianity to Britain. The village emblem of the Hind (deer) is thought to date back to 670AD when Egbert the King of Kent promised a section of land to Princess Domneva in penance for the murder of her two brothers. She is believed to have requested no more land than her hind could run around in, and so he gave her the land of new Minster.
Amenities, Accommodation & Local Attractions
The village centre today is a pretty scene of local independent grocers and butchers, a great small supermarket, first class restaurants and bistros and fine old Kentish inns with restaurants. Minster sits alongside the 27 mile long Viking Coastal Trail which is part of the wider Regional Cycle Route 15. Accommodation directly around the village includes quality hotels, country B&Bs and cottages close to the Abbey and unique restaurants with rooms in the centre. Several excellent golf clubs are in the area including Stonelees, Manston, St Augustine’s and around Sandwich and Pegwell Bay Royal St Georges and Princes Golf Clubs. Birchington attractions including Quex Park and Museum are conveniently close (around 4 miles away) as is the Dickens House Museum at Broadstairs, Monkton Nature Reserve, the Spitfire Museum and RAF Manston History Museum. Westwood Cross Shopping and leisure complex is also an easy drive away to the north east of the village.
Minster Abbey Tours
Minster Abbey dating from the 7th Century is open to the public for tours. Founded as St Mary’s Monastery by St Domneva in 670, Domneva was formerly known as Ermenburga, the great-granddaughter of King Ethelbert of Kent. The second abbess was St Mildred and the third in 725 was St Edburga. Minster Abbey was re-founded as a Benedictine Monastery in 1937, and tours of the ancient Abbey buildings and Gardens are available to the public on designated days during the year. If you would like to base yourself close to the Abbey, Durlock Lodge B&B and self-catering accommodation is located just opposite.
Thousands attend the annual Minster Show each year at the end of July. The event was established in 1886 and it takes place at the Minster Recreation Ground, with a different Show theme every year. The programme features co-operative and horticultural exhibits and various competitions ranging from vegetable growing to flower art and races.