Pilgrimage and Self Discovery in the Kent Downs

Take some time to learn more about yourself by taking a journey with special meaning to you either on your own or with others.

We're working with experts and identifying routes that ancient pilgrims used to reach special destinations including Canterbury Cathedral, stone henges and natural wells and springs with spiritual significance. Our new experiences will encourage you to do the same with a combination of mindfulness, heritage immersion and of course really connecting to the restorative power of nature.

When guidelines allow we'd love for you to join us on these paths of self-discovery, to use historic experiences to help shape our future and work together to protect our beautiful countryside.

Please sign-up below and follow our social media channels to find out more and be first to book a place on these exciting tours with local experts.

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P66-77 North Downs Way pilgrim trail, UK

Fancy something a bit different?

Visit this page to see all of our upcoming experience themes or choose one of these:

Learn about what's to come

We looking to connect pilgrimage leaders with Kent visitors and locals so whether your religious or not you'll soon be able to enjoy a transformational journey into Kent's Countryside.

Creative Pilgrims

Creative Pilgrims are a group of artists who meet to walk and reflect the history and landscape of their areas through art projects, talks, exhibitions and workshops. Experiences are being developed to reflect the changing seasons and will involve walks of 2 to 3 miles giving visitors the chance to slow down away from digital screens and find spaces within using mark making and journaling.

Kent Outdoor Explorers

Kent Outdoor Explorers is a friendly and welcoming walking group meeting weekly across Kent for guided walks. They now want to enhance them by allowing visitors to engage with places on the route that are linked to the local area, the season and can help create unique and lasting memories.

Palace Farm

Palace Farm is a small mixed arable and grassland farm which has diversified to provide accommodation and camping. They'd like to create experiences that introduce customers to the life of North Kent Downs villages past and present with a combination of self led or guided tours of the local area highlighting history, local businesses and industry along with a short introduction to map reading wildlife identification and an insight into dowsing.

Start your Kent Journey

If we've already whetted your pilgrimage appetite then take a look at some of these walks and locations where you can start to discover incredible views and yourself along the way.

North Downs Way National Trail

The North Downs Way features two ancient Pilgrims routes. The historic Pilgrim’s Way route runs from Winchester to the shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent. Thomas Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until he was murdered in 1170, for more than 200 years his shrine at Canterbury became the most important in the UK. The route between the Port of Dover “the Gateway to England” and Canterbury retraces the steps of Archbishop Segeric who travelled this route in 990AD from Rome to Canterbury on what is now known as The Via Francigena, the UK’s only European Cultural Route.

Read More at National Trails

Pilgrims Cycle Trail

Will outstanding views your 47 mile bike ride will take you along the path followed by generations of pilgrims before you. The cycle trail begins at the historic Rochester cathedral, past Anglo-Saxon graves and Roman house remains at Detling, past the pretty villages of Charing and Westwell and finishes at Canterbury Cathedral. The full route is designed for more experienced cyclists, but it can be completed in sections to make an ideal day out for families too.

Read More at Explore Kent

The Way of St Augustine

Travel in the footsteps of St Augustine and visit the birth of Christianity in England on this 19 mile route in the beautiful Stour Valley from Ramsgate to Canterbury passing 11 churches, abbeys and cathedrals. Don’t forget to pick up a pilgrim passport at the Welcome Centre in Canterbury Cathedral or the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate, and to get it stamped along the way to claim a discount pubs, restaurants and accommodation on the way.

Read More at Explore Kent

Augustine Camino

The Augustine Camino is a week long walking pilgrimage route from Rochester Cathedral to the Shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate (the “ideal” church of leading Gothic Revival architect and designer of Big Ben, Augustus Pugin). It features living monasteries, cathedrals and village churches, visiting shrines to four of England’s greatest saints as well as the final resting place of the head of Thomas More. It is one of four Caminos in Kent and its pilgrim stamps are valid on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Read More at Augustine Camino

Via Francigena

Follow the #RoadtoRome and walk or cycle in the footsteps and hoofprints of Pilgrims along this 3,200km route travelling all the way from Canterbury to Rome. The pilgrim’s passport are available in the information centre inside the cathedral. On 16th June we'll see a group of modern day Pilgrims take this journey with their pilgrims stick to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the formation of European Association of the Via Francigena ways. Of course you don't have to walk the full route, there are several shorter versions along the North Downs Way.

Read More at Via Francigena EU

Discover More Pilgrimage Spots

We've collated a range of routes and trails where you can get outside and explore, just visit our activity page for places you can visit within the Kent Downs AONB. For more inspiration and routes across Kent and the UK check-out some of our partners below.

Explore Kent

Discover 100's of pre-planned routes suitable for all abilities and activities with full information including route description, distance, parking locations, travel options and of course downloadable maps! Click here.

Produced in Kent

Discover wonderful artisan crafters busy making beautiful things for your home and garden and serving wonderful produce. Soon you'll find workshops, courses and events on offer too as lockdown easing continues, we're soooo excited!

Visit Kent

The place to visit to find Kent's best attractions, local events, taste sensations and of course featuring all of the best and beautiful locations across our favourite county. You'll find inspiration and information to help make your next visit easy.

North Downs Way

With not 1 but 2 National Trails in Kent, the North Downs Way and England Coast Path, you're bound to find something to tickle your outdoor tastebuds. Plan your own itinerary and book some time for some of Kent's top attractions and perhaps a pub or 2 along the way.

Green Pilgrimage

Find out more about our Green Pilgrimage project and some of the pilgrimage activities we've been working on and the partners we continue to work with to highlight this important area of self-discovery and mindfulness.

New Pilgrims Festival

We are inviting quotes to deliver a modern-day pilgrimage festival to celebrate Kent’s rich pilgrim heritage. The festival will celebrate diverse interpretations of pilgrimage including concepts of rest, recovery, wellbeing and will encourage diverse participation from people of no faith and people of many different faiths. Interested in running the event? Apply here.

Please Visit Safely

We want you to have a great time in the great outdoors so please see below for some top tips and advice to ensure your visit is safe and countryside-friendly...

  • Remember the Countryside Code
  • Check opening times and facilities before you go
  • Follow the latest Government Covid guidance
  • Take extra care on the coast
  • Access our public rights of way network
  • Make your trip sustainable

    The Kent Downs and North Downs Way is well connected by rail, bike and bus and you won't need to worry about finding a parking space either. Here are a few tips...

  • Go by Train, Southeastern have some handy tips on travelling with confidence. Click Here
  • Buy a family Discovery Bus Ticket for all day travel across the county and beyond. Click Here
  • Get on your bike, it's great exercise and environmentally friendly too. Find out more from Cycling UK.
  • Visit Kent Connected to find the best ways to travel for you and the environment. Click Here.
  • For more information on low impact travel to the Kent Downs Click Here.
  • You might also like...

    Sign-up to receive information about multiple Kent experience themes by completing our survey or choose your favourite below...

    Culture & Heritage

    Learn about Kent's heritage and visit some of the iconic locations that shaped our county.

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    Escape for some rest and relaxation in some of Kent's most beautiful places.

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    Food & Drink

    Discover new tastes and treats from wonderful artisans across the county.

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    Arts & Crafts

    Find your inner artist and share in the passion and knowledge of local experts.

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    Outdoor Activities

    Blow away the cobwebs in our gorgeous woodlands, grasslands and coastline.

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    Nature & Wildlife

    Learn more about the nature and animals around you, perfect for little and big ones!

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    Family Fun

    Reconnect with the outdoors and your favourite people with family focussed activities.

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    Farming & Nature

    Visit a local farm, boost your nature knowledge, learn new skills and make memories.

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    Help us build experiences...

    Do you have an activity or business along our routes that you'd like to promote to Walkers and Cyclists? We have a package of support and help available so please get in touch.

    Help us create a new Pilgrims Festival

    If you or a business you know is interested in planning, organising and delivering our next Pilgrims Festival in Kent please send your proposal by 21st May. Click below to register your interest and to apply.

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