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Canterbury: Three hours? or over night?

Hi from Wisconsin,
My wife and I will be in England/Wales for a few weeks. While in London we want to take a bus/train to Canterbury. Is this a location where three hours after arrival it is time to leave, or would an over night be a worthy of the time lost in London?

wayne iNWI

It's not really an overnight, but you'll want more than three hours. An easy day trip from London by train. Give yourself time to tour the cathedral then wander around the very attractive old city centre.

Posted by
2007 posts

We stayed over 3 nights, so 2 full days. Lovely city with lots to see and plenty to keep you busy if you enjoy English history and have the time. The Cathedral is the high point and you'll see gorgeous architecture in the Gothic style as well as beautiful stained glass and an inspiring nave, atrium, choir stalls, statues and effigies, etc. St. Augustine Abbey, St. Martin's (claiming to be the oldest church in England-small church, fascinating cemetery), and some other interesting sites are all within walking distance. The small city center is fun to walk around and we enjoyed a peaceful and entertaining river "cruise" on the River Stour. The Cathedral is truly awe-some! We had the time to spend though. If you don't, it's probably not going to be a place you want to spend a couple of days. Besides being truly inspiring inside and out, the Cathedral, all lighted up after dark, is quite amazing. We very much enjoyed our visit there.

Posted by
3597 posts

Spent several days there last year and think it is worth more than a quick in and out. Consider leaving London as early as possible so you will have most of the day on site. Stay overnight and then return to London late the next day. That should be enough time for the high points.

Posted by
1875 posts

You have 2 routes from London to Canterbury. 1. Victoria > Canterbury (East) which takes around 2 hours. Just checked the walk on fares for today (Saturday) = £25.50 return.

  1. St.Pancras > Canterbury (west) which takes around 1 hour 10 minutes using a high speed Javelin Train. The walk on fare today (Sat) is £30.90 return.

On both routes, higher fares apply on weekdays due to demand from commuters. Worse case looks like £39.40 return for the 9.09am from STP. You can check the times & fares at www.nationalrail.co.uk (Please note that if taking long trips, you will find it cheaper to pre-book advance specific trains about 11 weeks out. Best to do this with the train operator direct).
https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/tickets/more-ways-to-travel/high-speed

Posted by
54 posts

We did Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral in one day, but it was tight. I think we spent about 3 hours in Canterbury Cathedral alone and that seemed about right. Didn't have time to explore the town with that little time.

This Dover/Canterbury day trip was the highlight of our vacation. The Cathedral is just amazing, as is Dover Castle. Both amazingly preserved.