Car-free adventures aroundCanterburyKent
Before embarking on our car-free adventures around Canterbury, whizz through through the countryside on a comfortable high speed train - cheaper if you book in advance. Walk a short way along Canterbury's city walls and through riverside gardens or stride along the North Downs Way. Make a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral or to see the original Bagpuss and the Clangers in the wonderful Beaney museum. For a trip out of town, visit the animals at Wildwood near Herne Bay - there's a bus there from Canterbury every fifteen minutes and a 50% discount for people who arrive car-free.
1. How to get to Canterbury car-free
It generally took pilgrims, like the ones in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, about four days to reach Canterbury on horseback from London. And you could still walk there today along routes like the North Downs Way. But a much speedier modern day pilgrimage is available. The high speed train from London St Pancras takes less than an hour, whizzing through some lovely Kent countryside and over the River Medway. Look out for apple blossom in spring!
- Southeastern‘s Javelin trains can travel at 140mph while you sit back with a cup of tea and admire the scenery outside.
- Trains are regular with other, slightly slower trains in between times. There are also slower, cheaper trains from Victoria or Charing Cross.
- To reach the centre of town from Canterbury West station, where the high speed trains arrive, is simple: turn right out of the station, left into St Dunstan’s Street and under the impressive Westgate Towers.
2. Stroll to the Beaney and other city sights
Walking under the Westgate Towers, which have guarded the road from London for centuries, go on along St Dunstans and High Street, past the Eastbridge Hospital. Founded soon after Archbishop Thomas à Becket was murdered in the cathedral in 1170, the building gave shelter to pilgrims arriving to visit the place where St Thomas was martyred. Don’t miss riverside Greyfriars Garden behind the hospital with its chapel over the river and ancient trees.
- Returning to High Street, a fine Victorian building on the left houses the library and tourist info and the interesting Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, a museum and art gallery with everything from medieval paintings to the original Bagpuss!
- How to get to the Beaney car-free: See the map below for directions from Canterbury’s West and East stations (about 1/2 mile from each). The whole route makes a good city walk with scenic shopping streets and age-old walls.
- The BAFTA-winning creators of Bagpuss, the Clangers and Noggin the Nog, Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate, filmed these well-loved children’s classics in a barn just outside Canterbury. Peter Firmin has loaned the museum several other original film props along with Bagpuss.