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daytrip by train to Canterbury and Dover

Visiting London in July, I 'd like to take one day to visit Canterbury and Dover. My questions are 1) will I have enough time traveling by train to see both Canterbury Cathedral and Dover White Cliffs and get back to London in one day ?
2) can I buy a London to Dover day return ticket and hop off at Canterbury for a few hours' visit?
Any input will be highly appreciated.

Posted by
9110 posts


Yes. It's a couple of hours, maybe a bit less, from London (depending on the departure station and arrival station) to Canterbury and less than a half hour from Canterbury to Dover. I'd suspect that the departure stations would be Victoria, Charring Cross, and St Pancras and that each would wind up at only one Canterbury station.

From either Canterbury station, it's a ten-minute walk to the cathedral. From Dover Priory it'd take about a half hour by bus and walking to get up to the castle which has a pretty good view of the cliffs.

What I don't know is if it's Canterbury East or West where you hop the train to Dover, but I'd bet it's not both.

You'd probably spend a couple of hours poking around the cathedral and about the same amount of time if you nose around the castle instead of just gaping at the chalk and flint.


Beats me, the Natives will know. They'll also know about the Canterbury stations. Fess up to where you're staying in London and they'll also give you the best departure station.

Posted by
3416 posts

If you just buy a regular 'day of' or even an 'advance' ticket to Dover, you CAN NOT just 'hop off at Canterbury' and then get another train to London. These tickets are for specific times/trains and can not be used on other services. However, if you have a Brit Rail Pass you can do that, as it effectively acts as any number of tickets on the given day you are using it. Not sure if there is a travel anytime ticket that would cover your envisioned trip. And I suspect it would be the most expensive option, too. If Nigel (a native Brit that works for one of the rail companies and is very knowledgeable about them) doesn't post on this thread in a day or two, check some other England threads and find one of his posts, and send him a private message.

As to the feasibility, yes you can do it. We did it. There is much more to Dover than the cliffs, though. The castle is well worth your time (especially in summer when they often have special events - we saw a falconry program!). And there are the WWII tunnels, etc. I'd plan on at least 3 or 4 hours there minimum. Then Canterbury is a lovely town, worth a wander around. If it is market day, the market was very nice!!!

Posted by
4521 posts

A day return ticket allows break of journey on each leg as you wish. What you will need if travelling on the high speed services (St Pancras) is a ticket that is valid on that route, or pay the supplement.

Posted by
1838 posts

You would need to buy 3 tickets. Go to and put in for a journey from London > Canterbury. Up will come a choice of London departure stations such as Victoria, Charing Cross & St.Pancras along with prices. Then put in for Canterbury > Dover Priory & it will show you the services. Finally do Dover > London. (It is probably a more expensive way of doing the journey as the single leg tickets are likely to be just a smidge less than returns.

You will see great differences in the timings. This is because it is only the St.Pancras services that are high speed (140mph). If you are staying near the other London stations, it might be more convenient to use the slower trains.