Published: 13:57, 03 April 2020
| Updated: 14:59, 03 April 2020
A popular Kent attraction has revealed it is closing permanently.
The Canterbury Tales in the heart of the city made the shock announcement on Friday morning.
It is unclear as to whether the decision relates to the lack of visitor numbers and downturn in tourism since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Kent.
It is thought the closure of the neighburing Nason's department store in August 2018 also led to a decline in visitor numbers.
The Canterbury Tales - in St Margaret's Street - is an interactive tour through Chaucer's tales in which visitors walk the darkened streets between London and Kent meeting both wax works and costumed characters along the way.
It has also in recent years run a number of popular after-dark and school holiday events in which children have enjoyed everything from medieval potion making to sword fighting and story telling.
There has also been a popular Santa's Grotto in which families have to rescue Santa in a time travelling adventure.
The message, with the headline 'We are now closed' reads: "Sadly, after 35 years, the time has come to close the doors on The Canterbury Tales visitor attraction.
"The stories still live on in Chaucer's immortal words.
"We would like to say a huge thank you to all our dedicated team members past and present, and to our loyal guests and partners.
"We wish you well."
On Tripadvisor the attraction, which pulls in thousands of foreign visiting students each year, is given a four-star rating by visitors.
Described as a 'speciality museum' by the review website one visitor wrote: "Really enjoyed The Canterbury Tales.
"Commentary from the guides was very entertaining and brought the stories to life.
"The moving figures were a nice touch as well as getting to experience the smells. Good value for money and educational."
It is not clear how many members of staff The Canterbury Tales employs.
Responding to the news, Deirdre Wells OBE, chief executive of Visit Kent, said:
"Obviously, we were extremely sad to hear the news about The Canterbury Tales closure. This is a very difficult time for all businesses, and those in the tourism sector are especially vulnerable at the moment. We at Visit Kent are doing everything we can to ensure that businesses survive and the visitor economy is able to bounce back once we emerge from the current situation.
"The safety of the public is paramount but we would like to encourage people to support local businesses as much as possible over the coming weeks to help prevent further closures."