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Walking the Via Francigena from Canterbury to Wisques

8 days
Starting From

Canterbury to Wisques Map
The first section of the Via Francigena consists of walking through the countryside and passing quiet villages. During this section, experience the quintessentially English southeast coast of England and the north western coast and charming countryside of France.


Canterbury Cathedral

One of the oldest Christian structures in Europe, the Cathedral was founded in the 6th century. It quickly became an important stop for pilgrims from around England. The Cathedral is large yet detailed and full of striking architecture. The stained glass windows are massive and spill coloured light across the various rooms. Vaulted ceilings overhead curve out from the tall stone columns along the main hall, hugging the space below. Explore the hidden corners to find the tombs of several well-known bishops and noblemen.
Let yourself be carried away by this ancestral monument.

Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover stand tall along a stretch of the English coastline that faces the Strait of Dover and France. They reach 110m and owe their white appearance to the chalk in the soil. On a clear day, if you are lucky, you can even see them from France! The Cliffs are synonymous with Great Britain around the world.

Every year thousands of people walk along the 13km of Cliffs that surround Dover. You will be captured by the ocean reaching out in all directions, and by the crisp white cliffs.

Calais Town Hall

At 74m tall the Belfry of Calais can be seen from kilometers away. The belfry is attached to the city hall, a brick and stone building built in the neo-flemish style. It was built between 1911 and 1925 to commemorate the merging of Calais and Saint Pierre in 1885. Today you can walk around the main square and explore the reception rooms.

Like many architectural achievements, the original Belfry was built by the town Lord in order to show off how rich they were to surrounding areas and to compete with another Lord.

Canterbury to Wisques
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Included in this package
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Specially chosen 2-3* hotels or equivalent
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
  • Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Additional Night
  • Dinners
  • Day Tours Available
Not included
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch


Day 1


Arrival – Canterbury today is 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.

Day 2


Leaving Canterbury, you will follow the North Downs Way through the English countryside. You will visit the small quintessentially English hamlets of Patrixbourne and Womenswold, before coming to your stop for the night, Shepherdswell. Canterbury is the only place you will pass today with a shop, so we would advise having provisions for this short days walk. Shepherdswell has an excellent village pub where you will be able to eat and experience the charm of small-town England.

Day 3


Leaving Shepherdswell you will make your way to the coast and Dover, your last stop in England. You walk is through the English countryside and some woods, and 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.

Day 4


Today you will get the Ferry from Dover to Calais which generally takes one and a half hours. 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 there you can see Rodin’s famous bronze statue, Les Bourgeois de Calais.

Day 5


Today’s walk will be a short one following the Canal de Calais to Guines. An alternative option is available here if you want to add an extra day of walking here. 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).

Day 6


Today’s walk from Guînes is a gentle uphill and through the countryside, some woodlands, gravel paths, and small country lanes. Passing 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 into the farming village of Licques, which will be visible for some distance before you arrive. From here, you will be collected and taken to your accommodation for the night in Tournehem Sur La Hem.

Day 7


You will be transferred from Tournehem Sur La Hem back to Licques this morning. Leaving Licques, you will walk through undulating countryside and villages such as Alquines, Bouvelinghem, and Acquin-Westbécourt. Take a break here to visit the cafés and bars for a welcome bite to eat. Passing through the last village, Leulinghem, you will step 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.

Day 8


After breakfast, we bid you farewell. If you would like to extend your stay anywhere along the walk please get in touch with us. If you would like to continue on the Via Francigena, the next section starts here.

Canterbury to Wisques Elevation

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