Canterbury has long been a hub for hikers – pilgrims have been coming here for centuries to visit its mighty Cathedral. These days, numerous walking routes pass through, from the Pilgrim’s Way and the epic Via Francigena to the Stour Valley Way and, of course, the North Downs Way National Trail. This makes it an excellent base for a long walking weekend.
Over three days you can roam the riversides, rolling hills and Kent coast. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims – and the Neolithic peoples who came before. Wander through orchards and ancient woodlands of oak, beech and ash. Sample locally brewed ales and wine right from the cellar door. Walk or cycle to the seaside, for platters of fresh-caught oysters and a breath of sea air. And refuel in a delicious abundance of restaurants and cafes.
The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.
Walks from 7.25km to 11.25km
Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns / City Exploring / By Water
History / Food & Drink / Pilgrimage / Coastal
Walking / Cycling / Water Fun / Heritage
Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in Canterbury and the North Downs. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information. To save this itinerary to view later, use the Save to My Rucksack button at the top of the page.
This itinerary has been created by Walk Awhile, a family-run walking holiday company who specialise in self-guided walking holidays in the UK. With almost 20 years’ experience, Walk Awhile is focused on Kent and the Pilgrims’ Way, with unrivalled local knowledge of the area.
Walk Awhile will arrange your whole tour: you just need to arrange transport to your first location.
To find out more about this itinerary and make an enquiry or a booking, click on the Enquire Now button at the top of the page. The Save to My Rucksack button allows you to save itineraries to view later, or to download them as a PDF..
Spend three days exploring the North Downs, Stour Valley and the coast, from the venerable city of Canterbury – an excellent walking base. Nestled in rolling rural countryside, close to the coast, Canterbury is situated on numerous long-distance walking trails, and has plenty of inns and eateries in which to rest after an active day.
We have gone out of our way to make sure that all the inns, hotels and guesthouses we use welcome walkers. You will find them to be friendly, with comfortable bedrooms. All bookings include breakfast. In Canterbury, we use the following.
Canterbury has a range of cafes, tearooms and restaurants to suit all tastes. Most of the inns and hotels we use have restaurants where we can book you a table for the evening meal if you wish, or we can recommend somewhere locally. A few of our suggestions include the Foundry Brew Pub craft brewery, distillery, restaurant and bar in Canterbury, the well-reviewed Woolpack Inn in Chilham and the Whitstable Oyster Company and Old Neptune seaside pub in Whitstable.
The grade of this tour is moderate; the walks are suitable for all abilities.
As well as wonderful walks, there are plenty of experiences you can try around Canterbury.
Hire a bike and explore one of the many cycle routes in this area, including the Crab & Winkle Way, the Great Stour Way (between Canterbury and Chartham), the Cathedral to Coast Cycle Ride (Canterbury to Dover) or the Viking Coastal trail (Reculver to Margate).
Regular train services run from London St Pancras and London Victoria to Canterbury. National Express coaches also serve the city. It is accessible by road via M25/M2/A2.
These walks are moderate and suitable for all abilities. Walking boots are required for countryside walks as it can be muddy.
We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.
Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside
Click here to access the interactive map
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.