Latest News: Y 100 Sir Fynwy Read more

Latest News: Change to election of Officers for 2021 Read more

Pilgrims Way

Hampshire, Kent, Surrey

214 km / 133 miles
The Pilgrims Way is an ancient track between Winchester and Canterbury. It is an historic pilgrimage route to Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, home of the shrine of the martyred archbishop, St Thomas Becket. It follows a major chalk ridge through scenic countryside, taking in characterful towns and villages and historic churches. Though not itself a single promoted long distance path, it is approximated by two promoted routes, the St Swithun's and North Downs Ways (links below for these routes).

From Winchester the St Swithun's Way seeks to trace the pilgrim routes to Farnham in what is now a busy transport corridor.

From Farnham the Pilgrims Way is mainly coincident with much of the North Downs Way National Trail. The North Downs Way follows the crest of the southern escarpment of the North Downs or footpaths and tracks along their lower slopes while the Pilgrims Way often keeps to the spingline. There are views over the Weald to the South Downs and several steepish ascents where the ridge is cut by valleys, notably those of the Mole at Box Hill, the Darent at Otford, the Medway at Rochester, and the Stour near Wye.

These routes mostly provides fairly easy walking through woods, over chalk grassland, minor roads and, especially in Kent, through orchards and farmland.

The Cicerone book below by Leigh Hatts describes both a route from Winchester in Hampshire (138 miles) and from London's Southwark Cathedral (90 miles), with an optional spur to Rochester Cathedral. With relatively easy walking on ancient byways, the route from Winchester is presented in 15 stages. The route from Southwark is described in 10 stages and includes a visit to the ruined Lesnes Abbey.

The route's naming varies in using an apostrophe (or none) - as Pilgrims' or Pilgrim's or Pilgrims. The latter form is used here for consistency with road names of which there are many. The Aurum (Colin Saunders) book below covers (on page 24) the history and origins of this route and its extension into Europe, the Via Francigena to Rome, and the North Downs Way signposts from Canterbury to Dover include the logo of the Via Francigena: a pilgrim.


Path Type: Other Paths
Attributes: Average Gradients
Start: SU482292 - Winchester, Hampshire View on StreetMap
Finish: TR151579 - Canterbury, Kent View on StreetMap
Web Sites: History of the Pilgrims Way Jackie McAll - Pilgrim's Way [blog]

Publications, Badges and Certificates:

Guidebook Walking the Pilgrims' Way : to Canterbury from Winchester and London  (Cicerone Press  - 2017 )
Guidebook North Downs Way : National Trail Guide  (Aurum Press (an imprint of Quarto)  - 2016 )
Guidebook Exploring the Pilgrims' Way  (Countryside Books  - 1990 )
Guidebook Pub walks along the Pilgrims' Way  (Countryside Books  - 1998 )
Guidebook Guide to the Pilgrims' Way and North Downs Way  (Constable and Robinson (an imprint of Little, Brown)  - 1993 )
Other Pilgrims Passport  (Dean & Chapter of Canterbury )

Click to showhide 2 more Publications, Badges and Certificates


You can use the interactive controls to zoom in and out and to move around the map, or click on a path or a marker for more info.(interactive map help)

Show Connected Path Outlines
E Routes
National Trails (England & Wales)
Paths Marked on OS mapping
Other Paths
Anytime Challenges

Show Accommodation
Hostel Accommodation
Camping Barn
Bunk House
Group Accommodation

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2016.
© OpenStreetMap contributors under Open Database Licence.
Rights of way data from selected Local Authorities.
Large scale digital mapping is provided by John Thorn.
At high zoom levels the route is indicative only.
Purchase Ordnance Survey Maps:
OS Landranger 177, 178, 179, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189
OS Landranger Active 177, 178, 179, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189
OS Explorer 32, 33, 137, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 163
OS Explorer Active 32, 33, 137, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 163

Walking Support Providers:

Support Providers
Support Providers
Baggage Handling and Self-Guided Walks (Walk & Cycle Britain Limited)
Support Providers
Baggage Handling and Self-Guided Walks (Great British Walks Limited)
Support Providers
Baggage Handling (Eco Friendly Deliveries)

Accommodation within 5 km of this Path:

Hostel Accommodation
3 km
80 km
Bunk House
5 km
85 km
Group Accommodation
1 km
92 km
Hostel Accommodation
1 km
214 km

Click to show 4 more Accommodations

Connected Paths:


Route Profile:

213.4 km (132.6 miles)
3,658 m (12,001 ft) ascent
240 m (787 ft)  maximum height

This website uses cookies

To comply with EU Directives we are informing you that our website uses cookies for services such as memberships and Google Analytics.

Your data is completely safe and we do not record any personally identifiable information.

Please click the button to acknowledge and approve our use of cookies during your visit.

Learn more about the Cookie Law