A Grade I-listed cathedral which attracts more than one million visitors a year has been awarded lottery funding of £11.9 million.

The money will be used as part of Canterbury Cathedral's Journey project, which will aim to "radically transform" the building's accessibility as well as safeguarding its future.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) bid, including a £930,400 development grant, forms part of the £19.4m project which will offer a new visitor centre and help to restore and enhance the cathedral's western end, a cathedral spokesman said.

Some of the money will be used for restoring Christ Church Gate and weatherproofing and stabilising the Nave and West Towers, he said.

The Kent cathedral, founded by St Augustine in 597AD, is part of Canterbury's World Heritage site and is famous for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture.

It has been a world-famous centre of pilgrimage since the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket within its walls on December 29, 1170. It is hoped a new Pilgrim Pass Scheme will swell the company of contemporary pilgrims and deepen the cathedral's relationship with its neighbours, the spokesman said.

The money will also be used to create trails to guide visitors through the building and its newly landscaped precincts, he said.