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The Pilgrims' Way

To Canterbury from Winchester and London

This guidebook describes an ancient pilgrimage route in southern England from Winchester in Hampshire, or Southwark, London to Canterbury, a 138 mile walk through wood and farmland, with views across the Weald. Divided into stages of about 10 miles, with route summary and information on public transport, accommodation and places of interest.


Medieval pilgrims were hardy and often undertook the walk in winter but summer and autumn offer the chance of seeing hops, hillside vineyards, lavender fields and orchards bursting with growth.


Winchester, Alton, Farnham, Guildford, London, Dartford and Rochester, with plenty of accommodation and easy transport on the two routes.


The first pilgrims always sought the easiest route so while there are unavoidable rises in ground and sometimes steep hills there are also long flat stretches. No special equipment is required beyond a water bottle and sandwiches in case progress is slower than expected. The ancient rutted path can be partly flooded in wet winter months.

Must See

The Pilgrims' Way is often along a shelf on the side rather than the top of the North Downs but still high enough for long views. The downs are broken by valleys marked by chapels, castles and river crossings.
2 Feb 2017
20 Oct 2021
17.20 x 11.60 x 1.20cm

This guidebook details the Pilgrims' Way, a 138-mile historic pilgrimage route to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, home of the shrine of the martyred archbishop, St Thomas Becket. With relatively easy walking on ancient byways, it can be comfortably completed in under a fortnight.

  • The historic trail is presented in 15 stages, ranging from 5-14 miles
  • Described both from Winchester in Hampshire (138 miles) and London's Southwark Cathedral (90 miles), with an optional spur to Rochester Cathedral
  • The route from Southwark is described in 10 stages and includes a visit to the ruined Lesnes Abbey
  • Detailed route description is accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping
  • Practical information is also included such as when to walk, where to stay, waymarking to look out for and refreshments en route
  • Information on the historical background of the pilgrimage, key historical figures and local points of interest

Table of Contents
Leigh Hatts Cicerone author HATTS

By Leigh Hatts

Leigh Hatts has been walking the Thames towpath and exploring the river and Docklands since 1981, when he worked on the feasibility study that resulted in the decision to establish the route as a National Trail. He worked as a reporter with the walkers’ magazine TGO and as arts correspondent of the Catholic Herald. He is co-founder of Bankside Press.

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