Via Francigena from Canterbury to Wisques

Stage 1 of 16


8 days


Popular time


Starting from




13.5 min | 28.2km average | 45.5 max


35.9 min |304.7m average | 603.7 max


2   3.8   5

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The first section of the Via Francigena consists of walking through the countryside and passing quiet villages. During this section, experience the quintessentially English south-east coast of England and the north-western coast and charming countryside of France. You cross on the ferry from Dover to Calais, a unique experience for pilgrimage routes in Europe.

Canterbury Cathedral

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 on their way to holy sites. The Cathedral is large yet detailed and full of striking architectural flair. The stained glass windows are massive and spill coloured light across the various rooms within. Vaulted ceilings overhead curve out from the tall stone columns along the main hall, forming secret areas. Explore the hidden corners to find the tombs of several well-known bishops and noblemen. Let yourself be carried away by this ancestral monument into a vivid past brought to life.

Cliffs of Dover

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 up to 110m high 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 the beaches in France! The Cliffs are synonymous with Great Britain around the world. Every year thousands of people walk along the 13km stretch of cliffs that surround Dover. You will be captured by the ocean reaching out in all directions, and by the crisp white rock.

Calais Town Hall

Calais Town Hall

At 74m tall, the Belfry of Calais can be seen from kilometres 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 the towns 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’s lord in order to show off how rich they were to surrounding areas and to compete with another lord in the area.

Via Francigena from Canterbury to Wisques

Starting from € 1022



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Included in this package

Bed & Breakfast

Specially Hand-Picked Accommodation

Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack

24/7 Customer Service

Virtual Face-to-Face Pre-Departure Briefing


Premium Accommodation

Airport Pick-Up

Additional Nights


Luggage Transfers from Hotel to Hotel

Day Tours to Local Sites of Interest

Not included: Flights/trains, Insurance, Drinks/Lunch






Canterbury is a popular tourist destination in England due to its historic cathedral set in the centre of this hallowed mediaeval town. Canterbury has also been an important place of pilgrimage for centuries. This importance goes beyond those heading on to Rome and merely passing through but also for those visiting the shrine of Thomas Becket, who was martyred in the Cathedral in 1170. In the cathedral, you can receive a pilgrim’s blessing and stamp for your Pilgrim Passport; simply inquire at the Welcome Office.



16.8 km


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 day’s walk. Shepherdswell has an excellent village pub where you will be able to experience the charm of small-town England.



13.5 km


Leaving Shepherdswell you will make your way to the coast and Dover, your last stop in England. You walk today is through the English countryside and woodands, and you will pass by Waldershare House, set in sweeping green hillside, before heading onto Ashley. After Ashley, you will head south, reaching Charlton Cemetery on the outskirts of Dover before following the road down into town. As with yesterday, there are no places to stock up on 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 the White Cliffs.



45.5 km


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 crossing can be found on the following website. 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.



43.3 km


Today’s walk will be a short one following the Canal de Calais to Guines. This is a scenic route through typical French countryside, following the path of the canal the entire way.
An alternative option is available 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 (a detour of 21 km). Then the following day you can walk east across to Guines (a total of 15 km).



15.4 km


Today’s walk from Guînes is a gentle uphill and through the countryside, 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 the nearby Tournehem Sur La Hem.



34.9 km


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 before your walk finishes, 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.





After breakfast, we bid you farewell. The Benedictine abbeys in Wisques are well worth visiting, as is a ‘Grand Château’ in the town dating from the 14th Century. Otherwise, you can simply rest and reflect on your amazing trip.

How to Get There

Getting to Canterbury, United Kingdom

To begin your Camino, it is best to fly into one of the airports in London: Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, or Stansted.

Fly into London Gatwick

London Gatwick is served by many major airlines from cities in Ireland, the UK, and across Europe. This includes budget options such as Ryanair. From Gatwick Airport, you catch a train into London St Pancras station, and then switch trains heading for Canterbury West. This journey will take you just under 2 hours.

    Fly into London Heathrow

    Heathrow is served by major airlines, like Aer Lingus from Dublin, and others in cities around Ireland, the UK, and across Europe. From Heathrow Airport, catch a train on the Elizabeth Line to Farringdon Without, then transfer to Farringdon station. This line will take you into London St Pancras, and then switch trains on to Canterbury West. Your trip will take you just over 2 hours.

      Fly into London Luton

      London Luton is served by many major airlines from cities in Ireland, the UK, and across Europe. This includes budget options such as Ryanair. Go to the main bus stop in Luton Airport, and journey to Luton Station Interchange (Stand 12). Then, get on a train bound for London St Pancras station, and then switch lines for Canterbury West. Following this route will take around 2 hours.

        Fly into London Stansted

        London Stansted is served by major airlines from cities in Ireland, as well as the UK and across Europe. This includes budget options such as Ryanair. From Stansted, get on a train for Islington. Get off at Tottenham Hale and switch lines to London Victoria. At London Victoria station, you change trains a last time and head for Canterbury East. This journey takes about 3 hours.

          Getting home from Wisques, France

          It is easiest to return from Wisques via Lille Airport.

          Fly home from Lille

          In Wisques, catch the bus to St Omer – Quai A. Then, switch to the local train station and catch the line heading for Lille Flandres. When in the centre of Lille, the bus to the airport runs from Avenue Le Corbusier. This journey takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.

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            The walk from Canterbury to Wisques will see you travel from England to France.
            January Off season
            February Off season
            March Good time
            April Good time
            May Good time
            October Good time
            November Off season
            December Off season