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Guided Tours to Canterbury and is it worth it . How long on a train trip?

Guided Tours to Canterbury and is it worth it . How long on a train trip?

Dec 15th, 1999, 02:34 AM
  #1  
Sophie
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Guided Tours to Canterbury and is it worth it . How long on a train trip?

Does any one know of any tours that take you to Canterbury or tours once you get there?
 
Dec 15th, 1999, 05:57 AM
  #2  
Bill Irving
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A few years back, we took an EVANS-EVANS bus tour from London, which included Leeds Castle, Canterbury, & Dover. But it this tour had about only 2 hrs in Canterbury, enough to walk you to the Cathedral & stop for a bite to eat. This particular tour spent more time at Leeds(worth it), & at Dover Castle (1 of my favorite castles) & some time on the beaches.
 
Dec 15th, 1999, 03:29 PM
  #3  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

Canterbury is well worth a day. I've noticed no day trips, but the city centre is tiny, and the tourist office is good. The day return rail ticket from London costs 20 pounds 30 pence if you leave London Victoria at 0935, 1005, or each half hour thereafter on a weekday, or any time on Saturday or Sunday. If you leave Victoria at 0935 you arrive at Canterbury at 1101. As you leave the station you can ask directions for the way to the tourist information office, half a mile away along the city walls, and there can learn what there is to see (too much for oneday: you'll have to select) and the time of Evensong. I recommend lunch in Queen Elizabeth's Guest Room on the High Street: it's sixteenth century. And if you like Spanish food I recommend supper in the tapas restaurant just behind the Kings School grounds. In the Cathedral my favourite place is the chapel of the twentieth century martyrs: you'll need to ask your way.

The tourist office runs guided walking tours, but I don't know whether daily, and I don't know what times -- probably 10am and 2pm. In summer there are two tours by boat, from the Weavers Inn and from the West Gate: the tourist office can brief you.

Please write if I can help further. Welcome to England.

Ben Haines, London

 
Dec 15th, 1999, 04:03 PM
  #4  
s.fowler
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Mr. Haines is on the money here. Canterbury is doable by yourself. It is a short train ride from London and IMHO it's a town with a lovely center
 
Dec 15th, 1999, 06:15 PM
  #5  
Sophie
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Dear All
Many thanks for the replies.It been a great help. How much does the Evans &Evans tour cost & do they have a website. I have not been to Dover or Leeds . I will have my 12 year old who prefers to listen rather than read and a good guide would be fantastic. He will be studying the Canterbury Tales next year. Thanks again and Ben I appreciate the personal email
 
Dec 16th, 1999, 04:02 AM
  #6  
Ben Haines
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Fodors

I'm sorry I forgot to ask Evan Evans whether they've a web site, but I'm sure that they have. Their phone is 0044 171 950 1777. Sundays excepted, their bus leaves Victoria coach station at 0900 and returns at 1830. The tour of Leeds Castle, Cnterbury and Dover costs 47 pounds for an adult and 42 pounds for a boy aged 12. This fare does not include lunch. The longish stops are Leeds Castle and Canterbury: they stop at Dover just 15 minutes.

You can phone Dover Castle on 0044 130 421 1067. Guided tours visit the World War Two tunnels hourly on the hour, and take 55 minutes. You tour the 1216 siege basement and the medieval tunnels with headsets. You have to read labels for the Roman lighthouse, the Saxon church, the upper Castle exhibtion, the museum of the Prince of Wales' Royal Regiment, and the Admiralty World War Two Lookout. The castle has a restaurant and a cafeteria -- and it has a website.

I think you've a conflict of interest coming up. You may well want the beauties of Canterbury Cathedral, Evensong, the Roman House at Canterbury, and so on. Your boy would like the so-called "Canterbury Experience" in Canterbury, a mock-up with a lot of reference to the Canterbury Tales, I'm told slightly kitsch. But were I twelve years old (and in fact I'm 63) I'd chuck the lot for a whole day in the castle, imagining myself as a medieval knight, as theBritish general awaiting Napoleon (who never came), or as Churchill looking out to Calais, wondering when Hitler's army would come over. Even the ordinary streets take life when you know that they were subjected to shelling from over the water, and the railway station when you think of men in bloody bandages piling into trains, marked with the scum of the oily sea of Dunkerque. (Perhaps you need me as guide !).

If you can't find two days, then I'd say buy a day return ticket for Dover, take a packed breakfast and an early train from Victoria at 0735 on a weekday or 0805 on Sunday, get to Dover at 0931 or 0956, speed up to the castle (taxi to avoid the slow climb ?), about one oclock buy sandwiches and coffee at the Dover Priory station buffet, leave at 1320 or 1325, eat on the train, come to Canterbury in half an hour, tour selectively there, leave when things close about 1700, and so back to Victoria at 1917 or so.

To miss Leeds Castle is no great pain. None of the furniture and fittings are original: a rich woman bought everything at auction, this century.

If you can find two days, you could do the coach our one day (expensive though it is) and Dover another.

I look forward to your next question, or to hearing what you decide. If you write again, can you please say when you're in England? I mean, I wouldn't try a boat tour of Canterbury in February !

Ben Haines

I never use these bus tours. They cost a lot, they take an hour to get out of London, they make rushed visits o places, and they are less comfortable and spacious than trains. There's no advantage in prebooking. You can book places by phone with a credit card from your London hotel desk. Trains need no prebooking: you just turn up at Victoria and buy a ticket.

Please write again if I can help further.

Ben Haines

 
Dec 21st, 1999, 06:50 PM
  #7  
L. Hart
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I took the Leeds, Canterbury & Dover tour as it was a freebie from Virgin Airways. Don't remember the name of the tour company. It was OK but we were not "Guided". We had to tour on our own once arriving at the area to see
and did not spend enough time at any place to really do anything but watch the time so we wouldn't miss the bus.
Dover was especially disappointing as we were there about 15 minutes.
Much better to do a little research and do it on your on.
I plan to do this the next time I visit England & have printed Mr Haines suggestions for reference. Thank You Mr. Haines.
 

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