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Via Francigena – Canterbury to Wisques 1/16

Walking Section 1 of 16

  • Dover-cliffs-England-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways
  • Canterbury-Cathedral-England-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways
  • Kent-England-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways
  • Calais-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways
  • Shepherdswell-Kent-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways
  • North-downs-way-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

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Via Francigena – Section 1: The first section of the Via Francigena spans two countries, England and France, from Canterbury to Wisques/St Omer. The county of Kent, ‘The Garden of England’ will be the first landscape you will pass through. This nickname refers to the large number of orchards and hop gardens you will see. After two days walking, you will cross the Channel and arrive in Calais. There, after a day walking along the Cote d’Opale, your walk towards the hinterland will be scattered with small villages within a very rural landscape until Wisques/St Omer.

Trip highlights

  • Start your pilgrim journey at Canterbury Cathedral
  • Be amazed by Dover's cliffs and castle
  • Cross the channel from England to France
  • Admire the stunning Abbey of Notre Dame of Wisques

1 Canterbury

Canterbury-Cathedral-England-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

You will start your Via Francigena walk in Canterbury, a city with a great amount of history, closely linked with religion. Its one thousand year old Cathedral, an amazing building that you can’t miss, has been chosen as one of the outstanding UNESCO World Heritage Sites, along with the St Martin Church and the ruins of the Augustine’s Abbey.

2 Canterbury to Shepherdswell - 17km

Shepherdswell-Kent-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

5h | +247m / -150m
Your first day walking will see you make your way along the North Downs Way, crossing over gentle hills. This is a historic way used by pilgrims travelling to holy shrines. Along the way you will pass through the small village of Patrixbourne where you can observe the beautiful stained glass windows of Saint Mary’s norman church. Your stage today is easy, passing through orchards, fields and hamlets on mostly pathways.

3 Shepherdswell to Dover - 15km

Dover-cliffs-England-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

4h30 | +158m / -267m
Today you will continue on the path of the North Downs Way before following minor roads into Dover, “The Lock and Key of England”. This is a peaceful part of the ‘Camino to Rome’ walking route along minor roads, passing fields and farms as you make your way downhill to the town of Dover. While there you can’t miss the 12th century Dover Castle, which is built on top of Dovers famous white cliffs. The castle itself has a vast military history, as the first place to repel invaders from mainland Europe.

4 Dover to Calais

Calais-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

Today is a break in your walking holiday because you will spend it on the ferry to Calais, crossing the English Channel. Almost the entire town of Calais was destroyed by heavy bombardments during world War II, and you can visit the war museum, located in the former German wartime military headquarters.

5 Calais to Wissant - 21km

Wissant-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

6h | +285m / -276m
Today, you will walk along the Cote d’Opale, with its long sandy beaches and high white cliffs. This route offers you magnificent views of the coast. Wissant, the end of your stage, has long been a fishing village. There you will find all the facilities you may need. Popular attractions in Wissant include the 15th century church of Saint Nicholas and the 17th century fortified manorhouses.

6 Wissant to Guines - 26km

Guines-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

6h 30 | +280m / -278m
Today you will follow the GR128 on farm tracks and small road until Guines. You will walk along the game reserve “Mont de Couple”. From the summit you will have a beautiful view of the English Channel.

7 Guines to Licques - 16km

Licques-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

6h | +232m / -163m
This section of the Via Francigena route follows farm tracks, forest tracks and minor roads. Licques, the end of your stage, doesn’t have as many facilities as the other stages but you can find some en-route. In Licques the culinary speciality is the turkey and the town organise some events involving them, like the Fête de la Dinde in December.

8 Licques to Wisques - 30km

Notre-Dame-de-Wisques-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

7h30 | +444m / -426m
Your day walking will be a very pleasant day on small country roads, through a number of villages and woodlands. As you are passing the small town of Acquin-Westbécourt admire the 13th century tower and chateau of Prieuré de Saint-Bertin. In Wisques you can see the two abbeys St Paul and Notre Dame. Wisques is only 4km from the town of St. Omer, a middle town where you can find all the facilities you need.

9 Wisques

Wisques-Abbaye-Saint-Paul-Via-Francigena-Francigena-ways

After breakfast you can enjoy the beautiful village of Wisques and the town of St. Omer.

We have handpicked our hotels on the Via Francigena based on their character, facilities and comfort. You will usually arrive at your accommodation in the afternoon giving you plenty of time for a refreshing shower and a visit to the local village, or maybe just to unwind and relax yourself. Please note: Accommodation is subject to availability. Hotel Upgrades are available in most cities and larger towns. Ask our team.

Canterbury - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Shepherdswell - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Dover - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Calais - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Wissant - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Guines - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Licques - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Wisques - Standard

We have hand-picked family-run hotels and guesthouses along the Via Francigena for their character and warm hospitality. Up to 3-stars, you will be staying in the centre of town and close to the trail.

Canterbury Average Temperature & Rainfall

canterbury-average-rainfall canterbury-average-temperature

Flying IN and OUT

How to get to Canterbury

Best option:  Manston, Kent’s International Airport (MSE / EGMH) 20kms
This airport has international flights from Manston, United Kingdom and is 20kms from the center of Canterbury, United Kingdom. Airport info www.manstonairport.com

Other option: London City Airport (LCY / EGLC) 77kms, which has international and domestic flights from London, United Kingdom and is 77kms from Canterbury, United Kingdom. Airport info www.londoncityairport.com

Other opton: London Southend Airport (SEN / EGMC) 113kms, has international and domestic flights from Southend-On-Sea, United Kingdom. Airport info www.southendairport.com

 

How to get back from Wisques/ St Omer

Best option:  Lille Airport, 100kms.
From Lille you can directly fly to a number of destinations in Europe. To get to St.Omer from Lille the train is the fastest (less than 1hr) and the cheapest (roughly £10 pp).

Other option: Paris airports: Roissy Charles de Gaulles airport, Beauvais airport, Orly airport.

Other option: London airports: Luton Airport, Gatwick, Stansted or Heathrow airports.

 

Gatwick airport

Heathrow airport

Stansted airport

Luton Airport

Transfers to and from Airport

How to get to Canterbury:

You have many options to get to Canterbury city center (bus transfer, taxi, underground) from any of the London’s Airports. See journey www.tfl.gov.uk to have an overview of your journey.

– By train: from Ramsgate station (8 minutes away from the airport with a taxi) to Canterbury : 30+ minutes, £4.60 off peak single £6.90 anytime single.High speed train is only one hour but costs £30pp, from London St Pancras (http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/).

– By bus: National express bus from Victoria Coach Station to Canterbury Bus Station. Takes about 2h for £16pp. See nationalexpress.com

– By taxi: From London to Canterbury: The bus takes roughly 2hours, £14pp. (http://www.nationalexpress.com/coach/).

 

How to get back from Wisques/St.Omar

To Lille Airport: take the national train to Lille (50min),look at uk.voyages-sncf.com , then take the shuttle bus just in front of the Euralille shopping centre, at the bus stop marked ‘Liaison Aéroport’ (20min), lille.aeroport.fr.

To Paris airports: take the national train station from St Omer to Paris (2h20) roughly for €45pp. You will arrive at Paris Nord Station.See en.voyages-sncf.com.

From there to get: see www.transilien.com

– Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, take the subway line B (RER B) towards Aeroport Charles de Gaulle (30min).

– Beauvais airport, at Gare du Nord in Paris take the train to Beauvais (1h15). See uk.voyages-sncf.com

– Orly airport, take the subway line B (RER B) towards Saiint-Rémy-les-Chevreuses. Stop at Antony station to take the bus towards Aeroport d’Orly sud (40min)

To London airports: you have two options to get to London. The first option is to use the national train from St Omer to London (around 3h with 1 or 2 changes) or you can take the national train to Calais and from there take the Eurostar (around 1 hour). You will arrive at St Pancras Station. See www.eurostar.com. From St Pancras Station see www.tfl.gov.uk to get around the airport where you flight from. To get more informations if your aiport provides any transport transfers, feel free to have a look on their website below:

Gatwick airport

Heathrow airport

Stansted airport

Luton Airport

Please select from our available tours below and proceed to booking. Contact the team if you have any special requests.


Select your trip

1. Tour options - Select your trip type

  • Stay in our hand-picked accommodation, all rooms en-suite. Price pp, half board.

    Single Room
    €1094
    Double/Twin Room
    €892

2. Select Date

3. No. of rooms

  • Single (1 bed)
  • Twin Rooms (2 beds)
  • Double (1 large bed for 2)

What's Included

  • Half-board accommodation
  • Luggage transferred from hotel to hotel
  • Rooms en-suite
  • Holiday Pack including: walking notes, maps, practical information and pilgrim passports

We also offer

  • Airport transfers, hotel upgrades (when available)