The walk from Canterbury to Wisques will see you travel from England to France.
Walking mostly through the countryside and passing quiet villages, this walk will allow you time to slow your pace and experience the quintessentially south-east coast of England as well as the northwestern part of France, both its coast and charming countryside.
Arrival – Canterbury is today a popular tourist destination in England due to its historic cathedral set in the centre of this medieval town. Canterbury has also been an important place of pilgrimage for centuries. Not only for those heading on to Rome and merely passing through, but also for those visiting the shrine of Thomas Beckett, who was martyred in the Cathedral in 1170. In the Cathedral, you can receive a pilgrim’s blessing and pilgrim stamp for your Pilgrim Passport; simply inquire at the Welcome Office for this.
Today will provide a pleasant start to your journey. Leaving Canterbury, you will follow the North Downs Way through the English countryside and the small quintessentially English hamlets of Patrixbourne and Womenswold, before coming to your stop for the night, Shepherdswell. Here is the only place with a shop so setting out today we would advise having provisions for this short days walk. Shepherdswell also has a village pub where you will be able to get food and experience the charm of a small English village pub.
Leaving Sheperdswell you will make your way to the coast and Dover, your last stop in England. Walking through more of the English countryside and some woods, you will pass by Waldershare House set in sweeping green hills before heading onto Ashley. After Ashley, you will head south reaching Charlton Cemetary on the outskirts of Dover before following the road down into Dover. As with yesterday, there are no provisions along this section so it would be best to have some drinks and snacks to keep you going till you get to Dover. In Dover, you can visit the Castle or even see for yourself the White Cliffs of Dover.
Today you will get the Ferry from Dover to Calais which generally takes 1hr 30. Information on times and prices for this short crossing can be found on the following website here. In Calais, be sure to visit the Town Hall with its 74m-high belfry providing breath-taking views, and while here you will see Rodin’s famous bronze statue, Les Bourgeois de Calais.
Sigeric, Archbishop of Canterbury, who wrote down his return from Rome in AD 990 after receiving his pallium, would have crossed from Dover to Wissant. However, Wissant is now only a small town with Calais as the major port in the area. Today’s walk will be a short walk following the Canal de Calais to Guines.
An alternative option is available to give an extra days walking where instead of going directly to Guines you can walk along the coast to Wissant (21 kms). Then the following day you can walk east across to Guines (15 kms).
Today’s walk from Guînes will be gently uphill and go through the countryside, some woodlands, gravel paths, and small country lanes. Passing by small farmhouses, you will be able to appreciate the tranquillity of this area while surrounded by sweeping views of grassy fields with forests in the distance. Ending the day, you will descend down into the farming village of Licques, which will be visible for some distance before your arrival. From here, you will be collected and taken to your accommodation for the night in Tournehem Sur La Hem.
This morning you will be transferred from Tournehem Sur La Hem back to Licques. Leaving Licques, you will walk today through undulating countryside and villages such as Alquines, Bouvelinghem, and Acquin-Westbécourt, where you can avail of the café and bars to get a welcome bite to eat. Passing through the last village, Leulinghem, before your final stop today you will arrive into open countryside with panoramic views in all directions. Finally, you will wind your way down into the village of Wisques, which has two Benedictine Abbeys.
After breakfast we bid you farewell.
Any of the London airports will have links into London city where you can then get a train to Canterbury. The majority of major airlines will fly into one if not more of the London Airport.
Information on the train from London to Canterbury can be found on the following website here.
You have the option depending on where you are flying home to, to either fly from Brussels or Paris. It is possible to get a taxi from Wisques to St Omer where you can then get a train to either of these airports.
Train times from Wisques can be found on the following website here.
Private ground transfers from any London airport to Canterbury can be arranged.