I’ve lived in Canterbury for some years and have come to appreciate how easy it is to travel from the city to resorts around East Kent and to villages and towns in the surrounding countryside. There’s the obvious option of driving, but that means finding a parking space at the destination, it is also easy to go by train – the railway line east from Canterbury East goes to Dover, the service from Canterbury West goes northeast to Ramsgate, although it’s possible to change trains to get to many other destinations. However, the easiest way to travel is by bus, and for those with a bus pass it’s the obvious choice, unless time is of the essence.
My friend and I have tried out many bus routes and visited many destinations since we’ve had our bus passes. Unfortunately she has to drive several miles to Canterbury for the start of our adventures whereas I only have a 5 minute drive to Wincheap Park and Ride. To save us both paying £4 for the car park I sometimes park in a nearby road so we can share the £4 parking fee. From the Park and Ride the bus takes 5-10 minutes to reach the bus station in the centre of Canterbury where we decide on our destination for the day, usually based on the weather and what buses are waiting ready to leave. With a bus pass the earliest bus one can catch is 9.30 am so around that time the bus station gets quite busy with people of a certain age all hoping to get the front seats on the top deck!
Canterbury bus station is in St Georges Lane (CT1 2TB), just inside the old city walls, where there are also entrances to large shops in the Whitefriars shopping centre – Fenwicks, Next, Boots etc. There are public toilets below the ground floor of some of the shops but access is from the bus station side, hidden under the covered way close to Zara; entrance is through a barrier and 20p is needed to get in. It’s quite a long way down but there is a disabled access toilet on the ground floor. There is a round building at the Fenwicks/exit end of the site that houses an enquiry office where you can find timetables and there are staff available to answer queries. There are Stagecoach buses going direct to all manner of destinations in East Kent or west to Faversham and there’s also a stop for National Express coaches for London or Dover. For those too young for a bus pass a Discovery or Dayrider ticket can be purchased using the Stagecoach app or contactless from the driver for a day’s travel (prices vary according to area covered). “Check on the Stagecoach website for Canterbury region for more details”:http://www.stagecoachbus.com
We once met a couple on the top deck of a bus coming back from Margate who said they come on holiday to Canterbury each year in their campervan, park it for a week on a pitch at the Canterbury Camping and Caravanning Campsite (www.campingandcaravanclub.co.uk) which is about a mile from the centre of Canterbury, and then travel everywhere by bus as there’s a bus stop right outside the campsite. They highlighted Faversham or Sandwich on market days as their favourite trips. Another option would be to stay in one of the many hotels or guest houses in the centre of Canterbury.
I will be following up with reviews of our favourite places visited by bus around Kent. (Our travel dates cover different months and some were pre-Covid.)