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Walking the Pilgrims' Way:  Rochester to Canterbury

From £670pp

ex flights


From £805pp

ex flights

Available from March to end of October
Enquire Now for Availability
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You are about to embark on a 45 mile walk along the North Downs Way National Trail, between the historic cathedral cities of Rochester and Canterbury, and through the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Much of your route coincides with the ancient trackway that ran across southern England from Winchester in the west of the country through to Canterbury in the east. In addition to many historical sites the mixture of chalk downland and native, deciduous woodland provides delightful walking, with interesting species of seasonal flowers including orchids, cowslips, scarlet pimpernel, and english bluebells . Moderate with some ascents



Day 1

Arrive in Rochester which is the second oldest diocese in England, with a fine Norman castle and cathedral founded in AD604.  Your first nights accommodation is in good quality B & B accommodation close to the town,  In the evening allow time to dine in a choice of restaurants surrounding the Norman castle grounds. Rochester has many connections with Charles Dickens and one can visit his summer house in Rochester High Street and Miss Haversham’s House from Great Expectations.  Alternatively stay at the historic Aylesford Priory, south of Rochester and close to the trail.

Day 2
Rochester to Thurnham

The walk follows the National Trail to the Medway Gap and Kits Coty Neolithic burial chamber believed to have been built in the same era as Stonehenge. After lunch follow the North Downs ridge to the ruins of the Norman Thurnham castle, with panoramic views, which has been suggested may have been built on the foundations of an earlier structure which was used to guard an ancient trackway over the ridge. Or take the lower Pilgrims Way route past the ruins of Boxley Abbey.. Your accommodation for the night is in walker friendly inn accommodation with a well rated restaurant, where a table will be booked for you  (11 to12 miles/7 to 8 miles from Aylesford).


This itinerary includes: quality ensuite accommodation in inns and B&Bs,  with breakfasts, daily luggage transfer, fully marked up maps, advice on GPS link to the route, and guidebook.    


Support and advice is available by phone from your tracker throughout the duration of your walk. After breakfast each day, your luggage will be transported to your next accommodation stop.  There is an optional debrief meeting at the end of your holiday.


Walk Awhile accommodates walkers at inns and pubs with accommodation, hotels and B&Bs. There are dozens of historic pubs along the route, where you can enjoy refreshments. 


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 Ashford/Wye.



Canterbury and Rochester are on main train lines from St Pancras International. Ebbsfleet International Station is one stop from Rochester

Eurostar from Brussels, Paris and Lille to St. Pancras, and Ebbsfleet.  National Express Coach Services run regularly from London Victoria to Rochester and Canterbury, . 

Day 3
Thurnham to Lenham/Leeds Castle*

Following breakfast and luggage collection you can follow ancient trackway along the ridge, and through the rural landscape to Lenham (8.5 miles) or opt to walk to Leeds Castle, which is considered to be the most beautiful castle in England, built by Henry I; a Palace of Henry VIII and home to 7 medieval Queens of England. In the afternoon walk along ancient trackway to the medieval village of Lenham. (11 miles).  Alternatively you can choose to take a taxi (included) to Leeds Castle and then walk directly along the North Downs Way to Lenham, without visiting Leeds Castle ( 5 miles) Stay in historic inn, once visited by Queen Anne inthis small picturesque village, or closeby in another oak beamed inn. *Accommodation at Leeds Castle can be arranged, subject to availability

Day 4
Lenham to Wye

Walk along ancient trackways and holloways with optional detour to historic Charing for lunch. From Charing you catch sight of the Archbishop’s Palace, (now privately owned);  the last of the archiepiscopal palaces built along the old road before Canterbury. Passing through the grounds of Eastwell Manor  visit the ruined church where a tomb in the graveyard marks the burial of the illegitimate son of Richard 111.

Accommodation is on the North Downs Trail in a traditional Inn or in a coaching inn in the heart of the old market town of Wye and close to other pubs and restaurants. (10 or 12.5 miles).

Level - moderate with good level of fitness

Day 5
Wye to Chilham

Visit Boughton Aluph church with its Pilgrims’ Porch where travellers once gathered before ascending up the old drovers trail into King Wood. Follow Pilgrims Way through Kings Wood, looking out for wild deer and walk through the grounds of Godmersham Park where Jane Austen kept house for her brother and was inspirational for Mansfield Park. Arrive at the  village of Chilham and its square of timber framed houses, which is often used for filming historical dramas.  Choice of inns or teahouse for refreshments in Chilham, and overnight accommodation in centuries old staging inn (8.2 or 6 miles)


Day 6
Chilham to Canterbury

Follow the Pilgrims Way to Canterbury, through the Stour Valley orchards and past vineyards, visiting Bigbury Iron Age camp where Julius Caesar defeated the British tribes in 54 BC. Visit the village of Harbledown referred to by Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales and go to the Black Princes Well where Henry II commenced his penitent walk for his role in the death of Thomas Becket. Enter Canterbury through city walls and West Gate and stay in city centre close to the Cathedral. (7 miles)

Day 7

Departure Day or extend your stay in the vibrant and historic city of Canterbury

This can taken as a 6 day holiday, by combining the final stages of the walk (from £670 per person)

 Extend your stay 
per person per night
*Based on 2 people sharing. £50 single occupancy supplement

Enquire Now for availability
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