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(Exactly) How to Get to Canterbury from London

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From the Canterbury Tales to the famous walls that surrounded this city, Canterbury is a popular day trip for London visitors and one of the most beautiful places in England.

Figuring out how to get to Canterbury from London is the most important part in pulling this day trip together, though.

In this guide, I’ll explain the major options you have when traveling to Canterbury from London, including the train, bus, and guided tours.

Don’t miss the Canterbury Cathedral and the rest of the magical things to do in Canterbury including a quaint boat ride down the river or a historic escape room!

Hey, sidenote! If you’re traveling to the UK or live in the UK, whether for a short period of time or as an expat, why don’t you join my Facebook group where you can ask questions, get advice or just look at pretty pictures of this part of the world! Just click here to request to join and I’ll add you!

You should also check out my ultimate course on visiting London with over 70 topics, including how to stay safe in the city, to help you make the most of your London trip here!

A river in between buildings in Canterbury
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Driving from Canterbury to London

The first option that I want to get out of the way is driving from London to Canterbury (or going the opposite way).

Driving in the UK isn’t necessary for visitors to London who just want to go on day trips, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

The drive from London to Canterbury can be 2 hours during good traffic times, and longer if you get stuck behind an accident or some other road blockage.

This is longer than it will take you by train, and also you’d have to deal with renting a car, paying for gas, and figuring out parking.

Not worth it!

Route driving from London to Canterbury
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How to Get from London to Canterbury on Public Transportation

The best way to travel to Canterbury from London is to use public transportation.

Public transportation is really popular in the UK as everything is so well connected, and you’ll find everyone from soccer moms to businesspeople on the trains and public buses.

This is in contrast to some parts of the world, like much of the US, that is car-heavy and doesn’t have much in the way of public transportation to speak of.

When in London, do as Londoners do and hop on some public transportation to enjoy beautiful views of the countryside as you travel and the knowledge that you can just sit back with your headphones and watch the world go by rather than panicking that you don’t understand how to use a roundabout.

A street in Canterbury with people walking along and the medieval gates in the background
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Taking the Train from London to Canterbury

The best way to get to Canterbury from London is to take the train.

I purchase my tickets using Trainline, which shows you all of the options for the time and date you plug in, including options both before and after your ideal time so you can compare prices.

The two main routes to Canterbury run from a few different train stations so pay close attention to which one you book from.

Options include London Victoria, London Charing Cross, London St. Pancras and London Bridge.

Tickets for a one way ticket from London to Canterbury can be as low as £11, but you need to purchase them in advance for the best deals – though, not usually more than 12 weeks in advance as the best deals often start then.

You can choose to have your tickets e-mailed to you or you can choose to pick them up at the train station so you don’t lose them.

Remember when buying tickets that there is a “single” ticket which is a one way ticket, a “return” ticket which is a round trip ticket, a “peak” ticket which is during the most expensive commuting hours and an “off peak” ticket which is outside of those hours.

It will say on your ticket if you have an assigned seat, but mostly it’s a free-for-all to sit where there is a free option.

London to Canterbury train route
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Greyfriars Gardens in Canterbury, with some old buildings on the other side of a river
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Getting the Bus from London to Canterbury

If you’re on a strict budget, the bus from London to Canterbury is cheaper than the train and you can get a one way ticket for about £5 through the National Express website.

The trip takes 2 hours, or a bit more if you’re stuck in traffic, and they leave from London Victoria Bus Station to Canterbury Bus Station.

I would still recommend the train to get to Canterbury faster, but this is a good budget option that doesn’t require you to drive.

St. Augustine's Abbey Canterbury with blue sky
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Taking a Guided Tour from London to Canterbury

If you want to take a guided tour to Canterbury, there are quite a few good options that stop at Canterbury while also showing you other areas in the south of England.

I particularly recommend this tour of Canterbury, Dover, and Leeds Castle, which takes you to all three places and you can see Canterbury Cathedral, the cliffs of Dover, and the stunning beauty of Leeds castle.

The front of Canterbury Cathedral with blue sky
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