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A day trip to Canterbury, Leeds Castle, Greenwich, Dover Cliff

A day trip to Canterbury, Leeds Castle, Greenwich, Dover Cliff

Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 04:39 PM
  #1  
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A day trip to Canterbury, Leeds Castle, Greenwich, Dover Cliff

Hello everyone,

My husband and I are planning to have one day trip to visit Canterbury, Leeds Castle, Greenwich, Dover Cliff by car (self drive) in mid June. Do you think we give ourselves enough time to visit and get a taste of these places?
We are planning to rent a car for the day, will the trip be too tiring? (we're not really sure how far are these places from London)
Do you know a good company to rent a car in London?

By the way, my husband and I are in our early 40s and we like to explore new places and take great pictures.

Thanks in advance for your input.
worldtravellers is offline  
Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 04:53 PM
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That is a route for guided coach tours that makes next to no sense (I'm assuming you saw a description of one of the commercial tours and are trying to duplicate it on your own). For a self-drive tour it makes even LESS sense.

Greenwich is IN London and taking a car there is totally unnecessary.

Leeds Castle has very pretty gardens/grounds - but the castle itself is basically a wedding/conference centre.

Canterbury is great but easily accessible by train from central London

Dover Cliff - the best views of the White cliffs is from a boat out on the channel. Dover Castle is magnificent, but takes at least half a day by itself.

I wouldn't do any of this by car from London. What you could do is take the train to Dover, taxi up to the castle and spend 4+ hours there, taxi back to the station, train to Canterbury in the afternoon, train back to London.

Now, IF you were staying in Kent for a few days, touring by car would work. But not from London.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 05:02 PM
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hi wt, I do think that you are trying to cram too much into one day.

you might manage Canterbury, Leeds Castle and Dover in a day, but even so, it's going to be hard to get round them all during opening hours, when you allow for travel, parking, eating, etc.

Canterbury Cathedral opens from 9 am to 17.30 , Dover Castle, [including access to the tunnels] from 10 - 18.00 and Leeds Castle from 10.30 to 16.00. [last entry at 15.00]. so if you were going to do Leeds Castle last, [which looks the most obvious route] you'd be very rushed indeed.

Personally I might make it into an overnight trip - drive to Canterbury on the morning of Day 1, see the cathedral and stay over night. in the morning, drive to Dover, spend the morning there.

grab a quick lunch and drive to Leeds Castle.

not only is there a lot to see at these places but they are very expensive - Canterbury Cathedral seeks a "donation" of £9, Dover Castle is £16, and Leeds Castle is £18. When you are spending that sort of money you want to get value for money by not just spending 30 minuted there then rushing off.
annhig is online now  
Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:07 PM
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I can confirm/agree with the opinions above. So--short answer to "Do you think we give ourselves enough time to visit and get a taste of these places?" is absolutely not. You might be able to wave at the outside of these sites but you wouldn't see any of them.

We had an absolutely stunning day in Dover; we rode from London on a train, made our way to the Whitle Cliffs National Trust property and walked along the edge for a morning, walked to the Castle and spent several hours, ate dinner, and rode the train back. Many do say that seeing the Cliffs is best from the water, but we enjoyed immensely seeing them from our walk on them (well, near the edge of them but not too near). It was a lovely clear day and we could see across the Channel. I think it would also be very possible to exchange the Cliffs for Canterbury--train to Dover, see the castle, train to Canterbury and see at least the Cathedral, and train back to London. Another year we drove (already had the car) from a hotel a bit southeast of London to Canterbury, spent several hours, and drove to Dover to spend the night.

Making a 2 day trip of it would be a good option, depending on how much time you do actually have.

We went to Greenwich for a half a day from London. It was also great.

As for distance, try using googlemaps--it isn't perfect but it gives a great estimate.
texasbookworm is offline  
Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:18 PM
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You have time only for drive bys. Greenwich is good for half a day. Dover Castle is interesting - but again, a half a day. Canterbury too is at least half a day. (With a car you might do a quick version of Dover Castle and Canterbury in one long day.)

Not sure Leeds is worth the time - although very pretty on the outside.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 03:50 AM
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Not sure Leeds is worth the time - although very pretty on the outside.>>

I would normally agree except the OP is travelling in June when the roses will be out - the Rose gardens at Leeds are outstanding, and worth the trip by themselves, IMO.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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Thanks everyone for all your input. They are very helpful.

JanisJ you were right I copy the route from a commercial tour. We wanted to do it on our own because I saw a few comments saying they were not given enough time to explore the places.

Based on Annhig input, we may skip Leeds Castle. Just do Dover Cliff and Canterbury in a day and do Greenwich another day (we are stayin in a hotel near Piccadilly). Thanks to texasbookworm.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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"Based on Annhig input, we may skip Leeds Castle. Just do Dover Cliff and Canterbury in a day"

Great -- but again - not by car. From London that will be complicated and take longer than the trains. Early morning train to Dover, mid afternoon train to Canterbury, evening train back to London.

You've mentioned twice Dover 'Cliff'. Do you mean just seeing the White Cliffs of Dover, which are certainly worth a bit of time -- or do you mean to include Dover Castle, which is the main reason for visiting Dover??

If you want roses -- in June visit Queen Mary's Rose Garden in Regents Park. Magnificent.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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If you end up trying to go to both Dover and Canterbury via train to and from London on the same day, then you can't do both Castle and Cliffs in Dover. In this case, I'd say to only try to enjoy a few hours in the Castle.

If you decide to see Greenwich one (half) day while in London, did you know there's a tunnel under the Thames that is an interesting way to cross the river? However, it's been under repair work, it seems, for months and I don't see reliable current info about its opening/closure. But you could check for update closer to your trip if such a thing interests you. We enjoyed doing this.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Oh, wait, to clarify--I may have misread the dates on some info about the Greenwich Foot Tunnel--maybe it IS back open. Anyway, it's not what your original question was about really, but I hate to post any wrong or confusing info.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 10:24 AM
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I just want to add that parking in Canterbury is a nightmare. You need to park outside the City centre and then take the park and ride bus to the centre (bus station) the cost of this is £2:50 per car. Do not attempt to find parking in the city centre it's expensive and almost impossible. Park and ride is clearly signposted.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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We did Dover (Castle) and Canterbury by car and had no problem. (In Canterbury you just pay to put the car in a garage - costs more but saves time.)

Caveat: To a NYer putting the car in a garage is the obvious thing and $30 or more is the usual rate. There was free parking at Dover Castle.
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Old Mar 24th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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Yes - absolutely one can do Canterbury and Dover by car. But not if one is starting in central London. Just the drive from say W1 to Dover to Canterbury and back to London would take between 5 and 6 hours w/o any stops. Just not practical.
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