LONDON TO CANTERBURY TRAINS
Canterbury Kent is every London daytripper’s dream! London to Canterbury trains run frequently from several major railway stations and make a day trip to Canterbury easy and pleasant.
The Cathedral town of Canterbury is one of the most visited travel destinations in England and offers plenty of things to do. From ancient buildings, steep in history and culture, stunning cathedral, and extraordinary scenic landscape. Canterbury is a destination not to miss in your England itinerary.
CANTERBURY IS AN IDEAL DAY TRIP DESTINATION FROM LONDON
It is no surprise that London, given its millennia of history is one of the world’s most visited destinations. “The Big Smoke” has something for everyone, both magical and weird in some ways. History, culture, and fine foods, along with some outstanding landmarks such as the Big Ben, London Eye and the Tower of London offer incomparable experiences. However, it is the outskirts of London where some of the best experiences can be enjoyed for timeless memories. There are many picturesque destinations one can head-out to, and the Cathedral City of Canterbury in the county of Kent, England is one such destination.
WHAT MAKES CANTERBURY A SPECIAL DESTINATION TO VISIT?
Canterbury is one of the most beautiful cities with a strong historical significance in England. It was in Canterbury, that St Augustine established a firm Christian presence in 597 AD at St Martin’s Church, thereafter founding St Augustine’s Abbey. St Martin’s and St Augustine’s Abbey along with the evocative monument, Canterbury Cathedral have been prescribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Canterbury is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the Church of England and in the Anglican Communion, the leader of its mother church. The Archbishop of Canterbury has the unique privilege of crowning the kings and queens of Britain.
Canterbury has consistently attracted ‘visitors’ since the 12th century. Canterbury Cathedral became a major focus of pilgrimage following the murder of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket in 1170. Pilgrims flocked the city from far and wide visiting Becket’s shrine and praying for miracles. The increasing number of Becket miracles made Canterbury Cathedral one of the great pilgrimage sites of Europe.
Today, Canterbury is a remarkable city for a day trip from London and is absolutely worth visiting. Canterbury is a beautiful city with a splendid cathedral, atmospheric medieval streets, and a lively scene partly due to the student population, attracting pilgrims and visitors alike. There are a plethora of things to do in Canterbury city for a day along with many more in the nearby seaside towns, if you choose to stay a little longer in this wonderful city. Whitstable for delicious oysters, Herne Bay for a perfect picnic on a sunny day or for that awesome sunset in the evenings, while Dover and Dover Castle makes for a superb dayouts with family.
SOME BASICS TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING A VISIT FROM LONDON TO CANTERBURY
1 | Best time to visit Canterbury
Most people will say that the best time to visit Canterbury is between mid-May and mid-September – they are correct! However, I do believe that the best of Canterbury can also be relished out of these times. The months of May through to mid-September represent high-season for tourism. If you do not want to meander through the crowds and prefer not to queue for attractions, then I would highly recommend an off-season travel.
2 | Distance from London to Canterbury
The distance from London to Canterbury depends very much on the mode of travel – by road or rail.
The distance by road is about 98 km (60.8 m) via the A2 and M2. The driving time is 1 hr 45 minutes. This can take longer depending on traffic and road work.
The distance by rail is about 87 km (54m). Travel duration by trains ranges from under an hour to 3 hours.
3 | The cheapest and the fastest way to reach Canterbury from London
The cheapest way to travel from London to Canterbury is by bus.
The fastest way to travel from London to Canterbury is by train.
4 | Independent travel or guided tours
Canterbury is a city that is easy to explore independently. When I visited Canterbury on a day trip from London, I explored the city with a guided map and pretty much experienced most of the historic city. The only guided tour I joined was at the Cathedral which I recommend you do. The guided tour championed by volunteers is informative, thorough, and unhurried with plenty of opportunities to ask questions. However, this may not be suitable for everyone who does not have the full day to dedicate to one city. In this instance, you may want to consider seeing more of England in one day by joining an organised tour departing from London.
Would you like to see more of England in one day?
Here are some ideas for you to explore. All trips are from London:
Hop aboard a superior air-conditioned coach with free wi-fi and enjoy the ride to all the attractions:
LONDON TO CANTERBURY TRAINS — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
London to Canterbury trains offer great flexibility, convenience and a smarter way to travel. It is easy to travel to Canterbury by train from wherever you are in the UK. To travel on the trains, a valid train ticket that covers the entire journey is required. Oyster PAYG is not a valid option for travels beyond the London travel Zones 1-9.
* You will need to buy a valid train ticket from London to Canterbury even if you access a station such as London Stratford with your Oyster card.
Here are some information you may like to know to make an informed decision:
1 | Canterbury Railway Stations — Which Station is best for Canterbury
Canterbury has two main railway stations – Canterbury East and Canterbury West. Both railway stations and rail services are operated by Southeastern.
The ticket office at Canterbury West Railway Station is a charming Grade II listed building.
In relation to which of the two stations is best, you may want to consider the duration of your journey, the costs of the tickets and which station in London is convenient to you. You may also want to think about the frequency of the trains from Canterbury if you wish to return to London at a particular time.
Canterbury East and Canterbury West railway stations are located at approximately 10 minutes walking distance to Christchurch Gate, the city centre.
Canterbury West is the busier of the two railway stations in Canterbury, Kent. Trains are more frequent and provide options for either London Victoria or London St Pancras International. Canterbury West is served by both mainline and high speed trains by Southeastern.
2 | Is there a direct train to Canterbury?
Yes, there are direct London to Canterbury trains every weekday and on weekends. There are at least 55 direct trains from London to Canterbury during the weekdays and more frequent departures on weekends.
3 | London to Canterbury train schedule/times
On a weekday, the earliest train to Canterbury leaves London at around 05:12 and the last train at about 23:12
On weekends, the first London to Canterbury trains leave at around 05:22 and the final departure at about 23:12
The first Canterbury to London train leaves at 04:13
The last Canterbury to London train leaves at 23:19
**Please note that trains that depart very early in the morning or very late at night may be sleeper services. Times and services may vary during weekends, holidays and severe weather conditions.
HOW TO REACH CANTERBURY FROM LONDON BY TRAIN
London is connected to Canterbury by convenient and regular passenger trains departing from London Bridge, London Victoria and St Pancras International.
Travelling by train from London to Canterbury is one of the best ways to travel. Trains depart regularly from Kings Cross St Pancras International to Canterbury West; London Victoria Station to Canterbury East; and London Bridge to Canterbury East.
Journey time by train from London to Canterbury varies depending on time of day and point of departure.
1 | From London Victoria to Canterbury East
There are about 22 trains from London Victoria station to Canterbury East with an average journey time of 1 hr 45 minutes. Tickets from London Victoria to Canterbury East cost from £11.60 for a standard class single journey when booked in advance.
Check train times and tickets availability:
2 | From London Bridge to Canterbury
London Bridge station offers fewer daily direct services. Usually there are 8 trains per day from London Bridge to Canterbury West with a journey time averaging 1 hr 36 minutes. Tickets from London Bridge to Canterbury West cost from £11.60 for a standard class single journey when booked in advance.
There are 3 train services daily from London Bridge to Canterbury East with an average time of 1hr 42 minutes. Tickets for this journey start at £11.60 for a standard class when booked in advance.
Check train times and tickets availability:
3 | London St Pancras International to Canterbury West
There are 42 direct train services from London St Pancras International to Canterbury West daily. Tickets for this journey can start from as little as £11.60 but the costs vary depending on the time of day, the class you book and how in advance you book.
Trains from London St Pancras International to Canterbury West are the speedy Javelin trains managed by Southeastern Railways. It takes approximately 54 minutes to get from London St Pancras to Canterbury West, with stops at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet International and Ashford International.
Trains from London St Pancras to Canterbury West offer the shortest journey time possible and is an ideal option for a day trip to Canterbury from London. I personally recommend this option.
Check trains and tickets availability:
TTS Pro tip: Whatever time or day of the week you wish to travel, plan ahead and avoid disappointment. Save money by travelling off-peak or take advantage of advance ticket deals.
OTHER WAYS TO REACH CANTERBURY FROM LONDON
1.2 | From London to Canterbury by Car
Travelling by car from central London to Canterbury is a little tricky. If you are doing so, then plan ahead and consider departing early to avoid navigating London traffic. Return late when the commuters have left the city. It is certainly doable.
The route itself is pretty straightforward. Follow the old A2 which is a dual-carriageway, then it is the M2 for the remainder of the journey. Parking in Canterbury is plentiful. Check the official Canterbury City Council for the best options.
1.3 | From London to Canterbury by Bus
Taking the bus from London to Canterbury is a viable option. Journey time is around two hours each way. National Express buses depart regularly from Victoria Coach Stations.
Advance booking and off-peak travel will certainly lead to some savings.
Here are some suggestions for you to consider if you are planning on staying a few days in or around Canterbury.
1 | Stay at the Canterbury Cathedral Lodge — a contemporary building with the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral.
2 | ABode Canterbury
A historical and quirky property located just steps away from the Cathedral. Renowned for its refined cuisine and highly rated for a comfortable stay.
3 | The Pilgrims Hotel, Canterbury
A charming 16th century historic building situated within the Roman City Walls is an ideal place to if you wish to catch a show at Marlowe’s (located just around the corner) and explore the city. The Cathedral is just 5 minutes away. Family run.
4 | The Victoria Hotel, Canterbury
Located a little out of the Canterbury city centre, the Victoria Hotel is set amidst quaint gardens and offers plenty of parking spaces. About 15 minutes walk to Canterbury City centre.
When you have more than a day in Canterbury, consider the following places to visit.
1 | Chilham
A picturesque village in Kent Downs, Chilham is great for outdoor activities. There are many footpaths, bridalways and country lanes to explore. If outdoors is not your theme, you may like the exceptional views across Stour Valley and the medieval gem of timber framed Tudor houses along with a 16th century church. Chilham Castle is open to the public in the summer months.
Distance from Canterbury: 8 km /5m | Driving time: 13 minutes
2 | Whistable
Whistable is a seaside town acclaimed for its fresh oysters and a farmer’s market. There is an oyster festival every July.
Distance from Canterbury: 9.6 km/6m | Driving time: 19 minutes
3 | White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle
Explore the iconic White Cliffs of Dover and the mighty Dover Castle with its wartime secret tunnels on an exciting day out.
Distance from Canterbury: 31 km/19.4 m | Driving time: 27 minutes
4 | Deal
Deal offers scenic views over the English Channel, along with fisherman’s cottages and Georgina houses.
Distance from Canterbury: 39 km/24.2m | Driving time: 34 minutes
5 | Maidstone and Leeds Castle
Maidstone is known as the main city of Kent and offers a mix of artisan stores and high street favourites.
Just 6 km (4 m) south of Maidstone is Leeds Castle, one of the most preserved historic castles. Leeds Castle is known for its beautiful landscaped gardens, and medieval gatehouses.
Distance from Canterbury: 38 km/23.7m | Driving time: 38 minutes
6 | Hever Castle
Hever Castle is a little further away but it is well worth a visit. Famously known for being the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, the wife of Henry VIII, Hever Castle is a magnificent 13th century moated castle. The stunning grounds are home to statues, fountains and a Loggia at the Lake.
Have a splendid time in Canterbury, Kent.
Pin ‘London to Canterbury Trains’ for later
London to Canterbury Trains first published at timelesstravelsteps.com