Canterbury Trails - from Cathedral to Coast
Chilham farm 028
based on 2 sharing a room
Available all year round
*Subject to accommodation checks
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Spend 3 days exploring the North Downs, Stour Valley and the coast, from the historic and vibrant city of Canterbury. This is an excellent walking base, situated on the North Downs Way, the Elham Valley Way, The Via Francigena and the Stour Valley Way. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims, who themselves followed the Neolithic trails across the downs. Wander through orchards and ancient mixed woods of oak, beech and ash, with bluebells and anemones in abundance in the spring. Sample locally brewed ales and wine made in a family owned vineyard, and the best of Kent locally produced cheese. Walk or cycle to the coast, where you can eat freshly caught seafood, and relax in independent cafes and restaurants. You can choose from experiences on offer (subject to seasonal availability) including cycle hire, river trips and canoeing on the River Stour; day trips on an historic Thames Sailing Barge; Bread Baking school, Cocktail masterclasses; and even a Ghost Tour.
Stay overnight in an historic quality inn or hotel
This itinerary includes: accommodation with breakfasts, fully marked up maps, GPS links for the walks and full information on experiences on offer. Does not include admission price for experiences, additional meals or transport.
Support and advice is available by phone from your local Walk Awhile representative throughout the duration of your stay.
2 or 3 nights accommodation in historic and stylish venues in Canterbury
Flights arrive/leave from Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow Airport, with good links to St. Pancras International rail station.
Dover Ferry Port in Kent connects to Calais by cross channel Ferry, from where trains can be taken to Canterbury.
Canterbury is on main train lines from St Pancras International.
Eurostar from Lille, Paris and Brussels to St. Pancras, and Ashford. National Express Coach Services run regularly from London Victoria to Canterbury.
Explore the world heritage site of Canterbury
Visit Canterbury Cathedral, and then walk to St. Augustine’s Abbey along the first section of the Via Francigena , which stretches for 1242 miles from Canterbury to Rome. Pass the statue of the Saxon queen, Bertha, influential in the reintroduction of Christianity to England. Continue to Bertha’s church, St. Martin’s, the oldest in the English speaking world.
Return via the city walls and the Dane John gardens, once site of a Norman keep.
Walk to the Iron Age fort of Bigbury. From the ancient West Gate to the City, the river path takes you to the wooded area of Chartham Hatch. Joining the North Downs Way you will arrive at No Mans Orchard Nature Reserve, a beautiful old orchard with wildflowers and lichen. Continue through ancient woodland to Bigbury Camp where Julius Caesar defeated the Britons in 54 BCE. Descend to Harbledown and the Black Princes Well, where Henry 11 commenced his penitent walk following the murder of Thomas Becket. Back in Canterbury you pass the House of Agnes where Dickens placed David Copperfield in the employment of Agnes’s father.
Allow more time to explore the historic lanes and river
Highlights of the city include punting and boat hire; the Roman Museum; the Beaney Art Gallery and Museum; riverside walks, The Marlowe Theatre.
Day 1 Arrival in Canterbury
Day 2 Canterbury to Chilham
The peaceful village of Chilham with its Jacobean Mansion, Norman Castle (not open to public) and half timbered houses around the square which was used for filming the BBC series of Jane Austen’s Emma, as well as Poirot and Miss Marple.
From Chilham you can follow the North Down’s Way to Old Wives Lees, past a traditional apple orchard, used for cider production. Highlights include Chilham lake, chalk grassland managed by the Wildlife Trust, and Julliberrie’s Grave, a Neolithic burial site. The restored Chilham mill which stands on the site of a Saxon mill, is passed. The North Down’s Way follows the old Pilgrim’s Way. Look out for present day Pilgrims who may be on the last leg of their journey from Winchester! 4.5 miles
Follow the Stour Valley Way from Chilham to Canterbury. Admire the beautiful views, follow the ancient sunken road which once linked Canterbury with Wye. See Chilham Mill, and Julieberries Grave on leaving Chilham. Pass Mystole House, which Jane Austen often visited when staying with her brother, who lived nearby. Look out for wildflowers in the hedgerows. Visit the Green in picturesque Chartham, and see the brass of a crusader knight dating to 1306 in the church. Follow the river in to Canterbury 7 miles
Day 3 Canterbury to Whitstable
Follow the Crab & Winkle Way from Canterbury to Whitstable, a 7 mile, virtually traffic free route, from Canterbury City Centre to Whitstable for walking or cycling, which follows the route of one of the earliest railway lines. Quirky shops and cafes, sea front pubs, and Harbour with independent retailers and eateries . See Greta, the oldest surviving active ‘little ship’ from the Dunkirk evacuation, an historic Thames Sailing Barge. Independent art galleries. Beach, fishing boats and great atmosphere.
Call in at the University of Kent on the Crab & Winkle line ,pre bookable range of shows, live music and films, and exhibitions – open to the public at the Gulbenkian Theatre and Arts Centre
Departure (3 night option) - Canterbury is well served by train, road and coach links
Extend your stay
per person per night
*Based on 2 people sharing. £30 single occupancy supplement
Enquire now for availability