First view of Canterbury Cathedral

Chilham to Canterbury walk

01-May-16 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

book1 walk28 walkicon swcwalks

Old tree

05-Jun-04 • Catherine Ames on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk28

Gate to Canterbury Cathedral

20-Dec-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk28

Canterbury Cathedral Gate

20-Dec-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk28

Canterbury Cathedral

20-Dec-04 • Peter Conway on Flickr

swcwalks book1 walk28

Book 1 Walk 28 Chilham to Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral on a VERY wet Saturday 2010 ignore date at side it's wrong!

14-Jan-06 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

1 book swc walk28

Chilham to Canterbury

View of Canterbury and its cathedral from near the university campus to the north west. D.Allen Vivitar 5199 5mp

01-Apr-06 • magyardave2002 on Flickr

out kent time canterbury book1 walkers swc chilham walk28 swcwalks

Chilham to Canterbury walk


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Updated: Fri, 23-Apr-21

Date # Post
Fri, 19-Apr-19 17

Good Friday - Chilham to Canterbury - a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral via the Great Stour River, woods, apple orchards and hop fields

Book 1, Walk 28 - Chilham to Canterbury

Length: 20.1 km (12.5 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

London St Pancras: 10-09 hrs Margate service
Arrive Ashford International: 10-47 hrs Change trains
Leave Ashford International: 11-05 hrs Canterbury West service
Arrive Chilham: 11-17 hrs

London Victoria: 09-25 hrs Canterbury West service Bromley South: 09-42 hrs
Arrive Chilham: 11-17 hrs


Canterbury West to St Pancras: 25 mins past the hour direct; 42 mins past the hour, changing at Ashford International

Canterbury East to Victoria: 09 and 47 mins past the hour

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Canterbury stations

My fellow walk poster has posted a Pewsey Circular walk for today, so for a change SWC walkers have a choice of walks on Good Friday.

Going back some years now I have sent you off on this Canterbury pilgrimage on Good Friday, although last year we tried Ely Circular, with dubious success. So it's back to Canterbury this year. Evensong in the Cathedral is at 17-30 hrs, which should leave time for tea first in Canterbury. Entrance to the Cathedral for those attending the service is free. Please note due to the various services held on Good Friday the Cathedral is closed today for sight seeing and general visiting.

Back to the walk: starting in Chilham you head for Chartham where you have the option of an early lunch at the Artichoke pub. Otherwise, following the unfortunate closure of the Chapter Arms in Chartham Hatch, your lunch options before you arrive in Canterbury are limited. With the recent closure of the Blean tavern some 9 miles into the walk, you can continue up the road to the Royal Oak pub at Blean Common, but having walked as far as Blean, it is probably best to continue into Canterbury and dine there.

During the morning you enjoy a variety of terrain - woods, farmland, apple orchards, hop fields, plus a walk beside the Great River Stour. Later, after Blean Woods, you walk through the grounds of the University of Kent, then uphill to the University itself. You pass through the university buildings and come out onto a plateau - with a magnificent view of Canterbury Cathedral down below. If you are lucky this vista might be enhanced by early bluebells on the grassy slopes above the Cathedral.

Down into the City, for those heading for the West railway station, your recommended tea stop is the Goods Shed. For those venturing deeper into the City, you are spoilt for choice for tea stops - SWC walkers seem to like Cafe Boho.

Saturday Walk option: if, like me, you have church (or maybe family) commitments on Good Friday, for many a year now I have embarked on this walk on the following day - the Saturday - which this year is 20 April. Travel - as per Good Friday - but an hour earlier, allowing for lunch late into the walk. St Pancras 9-09 hrs, Margate service, changing at Ashford International and arriving at Chilham 10-17 hrs. If anyone would like to join me I should welcome their company.
Walk Directions here: L=1.28

I will leave the "walk numbers" and "weather" fields blank, in case a Good Friday walker wishes to post a report on their walk.
My Saturday version of the walk was superb glorious sunny weather, warm to hot with a cooling breeze. There were lambs in the fields early in the walk. In the woods between the two railway lines before the village of Chartham Hatch, there was one full on bluebell wood just to the right of the footpath, on the hill slope a picturesque sea of blue. By contrast, the bluebells in the woods above Canterbury Cathedral were circa 65 % out they too should be full on later this week.
The Blean Woods Nature Reserve is a bit of a desert and a blank when it comes to flowers and anything interesting for most of the year but today there were lots of "wooden M's" particularly in the northern part of the woods, fully open in the sunshine. Likewise, in the woods en route to and just below the University building, there were lots more wood anemones, and patches of bluebells. The feel good factor all day was enhanced by clumps of primroses and loads of Spring flowers and butterflies.
The descent from the University to the City down below was as enjoyable as always. The Goods Shed market hall and restaurant next to Canterbury West railway station was busy, but I managed to find a stall to serve me a pint of beer, both refreshing after a warm day's walking and pure nectar after a period of Lentern abstinence.
I hope the Good Friday walkers had an equally enjoyable day.

About 17 or 18 people plus one dog at Chilham. lovely sunny and hot weather, some discombobulation about lack of lunchtime pub with about 3 ? people going to the very early one in walk. one largish group ate sandwiches next to a child's outdoor play area, some reindeers and donkeys came to greet us shortly after behind an adjacent fence...what a treat, may have been an animal sanctuary or someone's private collection.. Nice countryside and orchards with blossom just starting to sprout. woodland walks where bluebells could be seen, although not at their peak yet. At least a couple of train crossings where no one stopped, looked and listened 😱 unfortunately quite of lot of tarmac walking, tough going in the heat and also proved too much for some walkers who caught buses for the last section; Blean into Canterbury. some walkers went to evensong in the cathedral. Blean woods nature reserve was lovely and quiet with a variety of trees, you could tell it was very old woodland. walk a bit marred by a fair bit of road walking but you can't have everything! good one 😃
warm and sunny 17
Wed, 25-Jul-18 8

Wednesday Walk - Great Stour Valley and North Downs: Chilham to Canterbury

Length: 20.1 km (12.5 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 315/322m
Net Walking Time: ca. 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10
Take the 10.08 Margate train from St. Pancras (10.15 Stratford I’nal), change Ashford (10.46/11.05), arriving Chilham at 11.17.
Return trains: Plenty --- from 58 minutes to St. Pancras (C’bury West) and from 93 minutes to Victoria (C’bury East).

This walk starts beside the Great Stour River and its attendant lakes, visits the church and green at Chartham and passes through hop fields and apple orchards to Chartham Hatch.
From there the way is through Church Wood and Blean Woods Nature Reserve to the parklands of the University of Kent, with fine views down over Canterbury Cathedral. The entrance to the city is along the River Stour, through the Norman Westgate and down the medieval high street and alleys, entering the cathedral precincts through its ornate Christ Church Gate.
For walk directions, a map, a height profile, gpx/kml files, and photos click here.
Lunch: The Artichoke in Chartham (4.7 km, food 12.00-15.00).
Tea: Plenty of options in Canterbury. See the webpage for details.
I mentioned some years ago a vineyard started by a co volunteer at the RA in Kent. It’s now up and running and you can taste & buy excellent English wines. (Tattinger has bought a large plot 3 m away, the ground is so good for wine production). I suggest to contact them on 01233 813709 or 07905 911186 or beforehand if you want that because they are quite small and I would think it needs pre booking. I went on 2 July with the RA (with lunch, you can try!) and it’s a great place, right between Chilham and Canterbury. ça vaut a petit detour.

8 walkers in hot and sunny weather with some respite from the sun early afternoon due to some light clouds and then from long stretches of walking through woods. All visited The Artichoke pub for a drink, although only 2 ordered food. Some ate their sandwiches in the pub garden (now, now!), others moved on after a drink to eat at the next best picnic spot. The 3 fast walkers turned right to the station upon reaching Canterbury, foregoing the route through the ancient centre and popped into The Goods Shed, right next to the station, a rather glorious licensed indoor farmer's market. We met most of the rest of the group on the platform in time for the 16.41.
Memo to walk author: the Chartham Hatch pub is still closed, with the pub sign taken down, but with signs of being lived in. It may never come back as a pub, despite some apparent local campaigning for it to open again as one.
Fri, 14-Apr-17 39

Good Friday Walk - a Pilgrimage to Canterbury

Book 1 Walk 28 - Chilham to Canterbury

Length: 17.7 km (11 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

Either London Victoria: 09-22 hrs Canterbury West train
Arrive Chilham: 11-17 hrs

Or London St Pancras: 10-08 hrs Margate train
Arrive Ashford International: 10-46 hrs
Change and leave on train from Victoria to Canterbury West: 11-05 hrs
Arrive Chilham: 11-17 hrs


From Canterbury West: 25 mins past the hour direct to St Pancras
47 mins past the hour, changing at Ashford International, for St Pancras
47 mins past the hour direct to Victoria
From Canterbury East to Victoria: 25 mins past the hour, direct (1 hr 39 mins)

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Canterbury stations
You will need to pay the high speed supplement if travelling from or to St Pancras

We always used to post this walk over Easter in bygone years, but it is four years since it has had an outing on Easter Sunday, and seven years since a posting on Good Friday. If you have no family, church, or other commitments today, why not give yourselves a real treat and come on this lovely walk in the Kent countryside, which terminates in the cathedral city of Canterbury.

Leaving Chilham you soon head across fields and farmland to Chartham village where you follow the Stour Valley walk beside the Great River Stour. You then detour to avoid a closed railway crossing before heading up an apple orchard, through woods and more orchards to the village of Chartham Hatch, and lunch at the (usually excellent) Chapter Arms. Please 'phone ahead with numbers (your e.t.a is 1 pm) 01227-738340.

After lunch you walk through more woods and orchards before you cross over the A2 road on a footbridge and enter Church Wood. At the top of the wood a new detour avoids the calf deep, muddy and at times impassable path through Luckett's Farm, and you enter Blean Woods Nature Reserve and the extensive grounds of the University of Kent, before walking between the university buildings. You now find yourself on a hill with a fine view below of Canterbury Cathedral. You now descend into the City of Canterbury. If you wish to head home without visiting the City the directions take you to Canterbury West railway station. Otherwise, the directions take you on a mini-tour of the City to the Cathedral. Being Good Friday the Cathedral is closed today to visitors (usual entry fee £ 12) but is open - at no cost - to anyone wishing to attend one of today's services: Choral Evensong is at 5-30 pm, and lasts approx.30 mins, allowing you plenty of time to take tea before the service.

After your tour of the City, the directions are easy to follow to Canterbury East railway station, or back to Canterbury West for your journey back to London.

Walk Directions here: L=1.28

Next Week, Tuesday 18 April: a new walk from Amberley, heading westwards - jfk.
beware the goats!
39 on this walk, possibly a couple more. A nice surprise was that it was fairly sunny in the morning though cloudier later. Another nice surprise was that the apple blossom was full out, and so was one bluebell wood before lunch, which had a really intense carpet of flowers. A couple of other bluebell woods in the afternoon were rather less advanced however and the many wood anemones on this walk (it would be a great WA walk) were on the way out.

The pub coped well with around half the group stopping for lunch. We had phoned ahead, which they appreciated. Alas they had made up a table for us inside, so only the sandwich eaters having their post prandial drinks got to enjoy the lovely garden out back with a view of the orchards.

I found the walk less scenic in the afternoon. The attraction of apple orchards began to fail when we got lost in one vast tract of them. And apart from lots of lily in the valley in one spot not a flower I ever see growing wild otherwise the supposed charm of Blean Woods eluded me. But the last descent into Canterbury is always nice. Someone found a charming tea spot the Boho Cafe? which is oppposite the Patisserie Valerie. A good number of walkers then surprised me by rushing off to Evensong in the Cathedral.

Six of us stopped for dinner at a pub called the Parrot and caught the 8.25 train back to St P. What a surprise to get home after a Saturday Walk and find that it is Saturday tomorrow and we can do it all over again.
Many thanks to Marcus for posting such a great walk and to all of the walkers who helped with the map reading.
A most enjoyable day.
Happy Easter to all 🐣.
Sat, 30-Apr-16 14

Saturday First Walk - A bluebell pilgrimage to Canterbury

Book 1 Walk 28 Chilham to Canterbury
Length 17.7km (11 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.22 train from Victoria (9.39 Bromley South) to Chilham, arriving 11.15


10.08 Southeastern High Speed train from St Pancras International to Ashford International, arriving 10.46, changing there to the above train, which departs Ashford at 11.03

Buy a day return to Canterbury

For walk directions click here

Blean Woods, in the afternoon of this walk, is reputed to have fine bluebells, and the suggested lunch pub in Chartham Hatch was surrounded by apple orchards last time I was there (though this was years ago and apple orchards have a regretable habit these days of disappearing). The bluebells should, touch wood, be at best and the apple orchards may be in flower, though given the subarctic weather we have had this week I am less confident about that.

Since it is a long time since I did this walk I have no up to date information on the lunch options - if anyone has, maybe they could post a comment. Recent "fully booked" debacles have made me wary of saying anything and it is with a heavy heart that I have to report that at least one 26-strong Meet Up Group is known to be in this area today (but starting from a different station and much earlier in the day). However, I note that two options are given in the walk directions (a third pub mentioned in the book, the Plough in Upper Harbledown, is now closed) and so hopefully one will do. If someone wants to be public spirited and make an initial booking for 6-8 people, that would be nice.

At the end of this walk you arrive in cheerful, bustling Canterbury which is groaning with tea, drink and dinner options (and tourists). See walk directions for some suggestions.

Trains back:

- Those who have paid the high speed supplement will skip happily to Canterbury West, where the 25 past takes you directly to St Pancras in 56 minutes, or the 45 past requires a change at Ashford for a journey time of 1hr 09 minutes

- Otherwise, the fastest trains are:
- the 09 from Canterbury East to Victoria (1hr 44 mins)
- the 45 past from Canterbury West to Charing Cross (1hr 37 mins)
- the 48 past from Canterbury East to Victoria (1 hr 33 mins)

I have not checked these ad nauseam into the evening, so perhaps cross check with your smartphone app before you travel.

For those that don't know the city, Canterbury West station is to the north of the centre and Canterbury East is to the south. Why they are not called Canterbury North and Canterbury South is a mystery to me.

This is a fantastic walk and the reviews of this pub at Chartham Hatch on trip adviser are great but the best thing are the views from the Terrace over the orchards if the weather is kind. Remembering this from 20 years ago when doing this walk with Kensington and chelsea ramblers you will definitely need to book and I hope to join you if I'm not working.
14 on this walk on a day of warm sun. There were fearsome clouds always to the west, and as we approached Canterbury to the north also, but only while at tea did it rain. It clouded up during lunch on the idyllic garden terrace of the Chapter Arms but these dissipated afterwards. After weeks of fully booked pubs, this one was mysteriously empty. I can't imagine why as it is a lovely place with beautiful orchard views and nice food. They huffed and puffed a bit about serving us food in the garden but managed it.

All seemed very springlike. I saw one swallow, several butterflies including three orange tips, and there were lots of wood anemones. But why is this considered a bluebell walk? Only a few very small patches in Blean Woods and a nice area of bluebell and stitchwort in the grounds of the University of Kent. Just before this we also found a perfect little bluebell wood but this was off piste, a little way to the left of the walk route. Otherwise zilch The apple blossom was also not out but at least one could see lots of orchards where it soon would be.

One could forgive everythingvin the lovely sunshine, however everything except the 300 metres of mud hell as you exit Blean Woods truly the worst mud experience on any SWC walk and this when the rest of the route was baked dry and hard. What this ghastly quagmire is like in winter God knows. As it is one of our party sank in up to her knees and nearly lost a boot. A blot on an otherwise very pleasant day.
Further to above report the boot was actually lost to the mud and had to be retrieved manually. In order not to repeat the terrifying experience 2 walkers tried a detour viz a wooded copse where they encountered a pair of mating goats. The male full of testosterone tried to attack and was only held off by holding its horns rodeo style wedged between a tree and the legs of our brave pair. No amount of thrashing with a branch and shouting deterred it until distracted by the bootless walker on the other side of the barbed wire it attempted to chge the fence lifting it's posts.
Wed, 22-Jul-15 13

Midweek day walk Chilham to Canterbury

Chilham to Canterbury

A pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral via the Great Stour River, hop fields and orchards

Book 1 Walk 28

Length : 18 km or 11 miles

Toughness : 3 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:08 am train from London St. Pancras to Chilham (10:15 from Stratford International) change at Ashford from platform 5 to 6 to catch the 11:03 to Chilham

Meeting point : Chilham Station at 11:14 am

Tickets : Buy a cheap day return to Canterbury

Brief Description

You may find full details here

Suggested Lunch stops

The Chapter Arms at Chartham Hatch (tel. 01227 738 340)

Suggested Tea stops

Canterbury has many tea options and these may be found in the full details (click the full details link above). Do feel free to post any recommendations you may have.


OS Explorer maps : 137 and 150

Return train times

Fast trains to London St. Pancras return from Canterbury West at 25 mins past the hour, journey time just under an hour.
There are also trains from Canterbury East at 16 and 41 mins past the hour, these return to London Victoria with a journey time of just over an hour and a half.
There are other slower trains too.
Will take the bus from the university to Canterbury (point 60 in directions) and go to Choral evensong at the Cathedral 17.30 to 18.15,then have a Pizza in Pizza Express [ 4 Best Lane] at 6.30, which is in an old foundry which made many of the leaded windows in the town and has many interesting features including 14th century fireplaces, a view on to the river Stour, and a garden. Print offers/vouchers from Pizza express website. Please note that only one offer per table! Any interest? Direct rains take one hour 19.25 and 20.25.
13 on this walk weather was Cloudy with some sunny breaks and quite humid. The high speeders got to share a train packed with clergy off to see the consecration of a new Bishop Rachael Treweek at Canterbury. A pleasant walk through orchards and hop fields with lunch at the Chapter Arms. Happy Birthday to one walker, who, with her partner diligently checked out the other pubs on the walk. The tired folk caught the 5:25 HST back to London and others set off to check out Canterbury and the Cathedral ....
On this walking day jane from Kew recently back from her 4oo kilometre St James da compostella walking trip as far as Moissac
was priveleged to witness the procession at Canterbury Cathedral in respect of the consacration of the two new women Bishops.
An historic and interesting event.
Sat, 05-Jul-14 10 Chilham to Canterbury
Sun, 31-Mar-13 9 Chilham to Canterbury
Sat, 19-May-12 Chilham to Canterbury
Sun, 08-Apr-12 Chilham to Canterbury
Sat, 09-Jul-11 Chilham to Canterbury
Sat, 14-Aug-10 Chilham to Canterbury
Fri, 02-Apr-10 Chilham to Canterbury
Sat, 11-Jul-09 Chilham to Canterbury
Fri, 10-Apr-09 Chilham to Canterbury
Sat, 12-Jul-08 Chilham to Canterbury
Fri, 21-Mar-08 Chilham to Canterbury
Sat, 14-Jul-07 Chilham to Canterbury
Sun, 08-Apr-07 Chilham to Canterbury