If you’re travelling on a budget, or simply want to get to Canterbury as soon as is physically possible without teleporting, there are a variety of options for you when visiting the cathedral city.
Despite being rather a small city, Canterbury has two stations — Canterbury West and Canterbury East. Canterbury West is the most popular station, with high speed trains running 57 minute services to London St. Pancras.
Trains from London Victoria to Canterbury vary in cost, but often range between £10-30 for a single journey depending on-peak/off-peak times, whether you have a railcard, and the time of year. You can save a great deal of money by booking in advance and using websites like Trainline.com to suss out the best deals. Trainline charge a £0.75 booking fee, so if you want to be really sneaky you can look at the best times and prices on the site and then switch over to South Eastern Railway to get the best deals without paying the fee.
The slow train from Charing Cross to Canterbury will often be cheaper, but takes 1 hour and 45 minutes — the same amount of time as the coach. Often it is better to get a coach ticket as you are guaranteed a seat and the tickets often cost slightly less than the train.
With advance booking, a National Express coach can cost as little as £5 for a single journey. Journeys take 1 hour and 45 minutes from London Victoria.
Tip: If you are travelling from further afield than London, it is often cheaper to get a train from your location to London and then a coach from London to Canterbury. For example, a next-day train from Bristol Temple Meads to London will cost £32.50. A next-day train from Bristol Temple Meads to Canterbury West will cost £69.10. A next day coach booking will cost as little as £8.
Train + Coach = £40.50
Train + Train = £69.10
Saving = £28.60
If you are under 26, a Young Person’s Coachcard with National Express will save you a 1/3 on standard fares and only costs £10.
We have to be honest; during peak seasons it can be a little tricky to get a parking space in Canterbury. When they built the intricate streets within the city walls, they didn’t have cars in mind. The best option if you are driving is to catch the Park and Ride from Wincheap, New Dover Road, or Sturry Road, which will deliver you directly to the bus station in the city centre. From there it’s only a swift, 10 minute walk to the Cathedral gate. It’s cheaper than paying for all day parking and you won’t have to worry about popping back to top-up your ticket.
From Monday to Saturday, the Park and Ride services operate approximately every 8 minutes. On Sundays they operate every 15 minutes. Park and Ride costs £3 per day for a car and up to six people where the arrival time is before 4pm. If you arrive to park after 4pm, you will only need to pay £1 to stay until midnight.
If that doesn’t take your fancy, there are a whole host of car parks available in the city centre, with many of them offering free parking from 9pm-7am.
Although a 10-15 minute walk away from the city centre, Kingsmead Leisure Centre is the cheapest car park option available in Canterbury at £0.80 for 2 hours and £2.20 for 24 hours*.
*According to the website Parkopedia. Please contact Kingsmead Leisure Centre for more details