Culture and the Canada-US Border
ARRIVING IN THE UK
a) make your way to central London and take a train, or
b) catch a National Express coach at the airport. (Almost all journeys will involve at least 1 change of bus, usually at London Victoria coach station, where you will pick up the bus for Canterbury.) Click here for details of timetables and fares.
(If you are planning to hire a car at the airport, see Travelling by Road.)
From Heathrow Airport to Central London
The Piccadilly underground line(dark blue on the maps) serves all Heathrow terminals. Change to a District Line train (dark green) at Earls Court (this should be a matter of getting out of one train and crossing the platform to catch another), and alight at Victoria underground station. Follows signs to the mainline rail station. For more information about the London Underground, and maps, click here.
The Heathrow Express is a fast rail connection into Paddington Station, in central London, after which, take the Circle Line underground to London Victoria rail station.
Taxis are also available, but are obviously more expensive and, depending on the time of day and the levels of traffic, they can be a lot slower.
More information about travel options from Heathrow Airport is available here.
From Gatwick Airport to Central London
The Gatwick Express runs directly from Gatwick Airport to London Victoria rail station. It is slightly more expensive than other rail journeys from Gatwick, and not significantly faster. However, it is more convenient in that one can buy tickets on the train.
Southern Trains also runs services to London Victoria.
More information about travel options from Gatwick Airport is available here.
From Manchester Airport to Central London
There is a regular train service between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly rail station. Mainline trains from Manchester Piccadilly arrive at Euston Station in London.
From Stansted Airport to Central London
The Stansted Express runs between Stansted Airport rail station and London Liverpool Street. (There are other local rail services, but they don’t run directly into central London.)
There is a frequent National Express coach service from Stansted Airport to London Victoria coach station. Click here for a map of the pedestrian route between the coach station and London Victoria rail station.
More information about travel options from Stansted Airport is available here.
TRAVELLING TO CANTERBURY BY RAIL or COACH
There is a regular direct service from London Victoria railway station to Canterbury East railway station, running approximately twice an hour, and running well into the evening, with the journey taking about an hour and 30 minutes. Canterbury East station has a taxi rank, and is close to the bus route serving the university campus. Late afternoon/early evening trains may be crowded with commuters, which can cause difficulties if you have bulky luggage.
Canterbury has a second station, Canterbury West, which is served by trains from London Charing Cross.
Although the map shows that Canterbury West is closer to the university campus, those planning to walk from the station should be advised that it is a stiff uphill walk, even for the very fit, unencumbered by luggage, and you would be best advised to take a taxi or catch a bus to the campus.
However, London Charing Cross is probably more convenient if you are arriving from Manchester or from Stansted airport. (From Euston, take the Northern Line (black on the tube maps) to Charing Cross. From Liverpool Street, take the Central line (red on the tube map) to Tottenham Court Road, change to the Northern Line and go to Charing Cross.)
You need to be more cautious about taking a train from Charing Cross to Canterbury West during the day and early evening, as the trains often divide en route, usually at Ashford International, with one portion of the train travelling via Canterbury, the other portion via Folkestone and Dover. This is not actually as complicated as it sounds, so long as you pay attention to onboard announcements and displays. and make sure you are in the correct part of the train (ticket checkers are usually helpful, as are fellow passengers), but for those unfamiliar with the system, it can be a little confusing at first.
(If you do end up on the wrong part of the train, don’t panic. Continue to Dover Priory, change there and catch the next train to Canterbury East.)
Although the service between London Charing Cross and Canterbury West drops to one train an hour during the evening, it is generally a direct train and this confusion no longer arises!
The trains will routinely be extremely crowded in the late afternoon/early evening, as this is a primary commuter route to the Kent coast, and this can be a problem if you have bulky luggage.
From the north, south, west, all roads lead eventually to the M25.
From the north, join the M25, heading towards the Dartford Crossing, and to Junction 2 of the M25, the A2. Follow signs for M2 (the A2 becomes the M2 at Rochester), and Canterbury. Click here for a map and more detailed instructions.
From the south and west, join the M25, initially following signs for Gatwick, Dartford Crossing, then follow signs for M26/M20. Once on the M20, leave the motorway at Junction 7, joining the A249 and following signs for Dover/Canterbury/A2. Join the M2, travelling towards Dover. Click here for a map and more detailed instructions.
All routes: the M2 joins the A2 at Faversham, at a large roundabout. Take the fourth exit to remain on the A2, heading towards Canterbury. After about 8 miles, at Harbledown, there will be a slip road signposted for Canterbury. Take this and follow it until you reach a roundabout. Take the second turning (the first turning is a slip road/entrance to the pub on the corner), onto London Road. Keep on London Road until you reach another roundabout. Turn left again.
You are now on Whitstable Road, and will shortly be travelling uphill. Keep on this road. The turning for the University Road is approximately half a mile further on, on the right hand side and clearly marked. Click here for a map and detailed instructions.
If you drive from Heathrow airport, you have a choice of turning left at the M25 or right at the M25. The Heathrow motorway junctions are almost equidistant with Junction 2, and journey times are almost identical, depending on the state of roadworks on any portion of the motorway at any time.
Following the southerly route, round the bottom of the M25, avoids the necessity of crossing the Dartford Bridge, which is a toll bridge. Orient yourself by following signs for Gatwick, and then for the Dartford Crossing and M26/M20. Click here for a map and more detailed instructions.
If you are driving from Gatwick airport, follow signs for the Dartford Crossing and M26/M20. Click here for a map and more detailed instructions.
Buses: there is a regular bus service from Canterbury bus station to the university campus, which passes close to both rail stations. The no. 4 bus leaves the bus station (stops B1/B2) at quarter past the hour, and quarter to the hour. It calls at Canterbury East bus station two or three minutes later, at the Canterbury West bus stop five or so minutes later, depending on the traffic. The timetable is available here (pdf document).
To locate the bus stop at Canterbury East rail station, click here for a map.
For those arriving at Canterbury West station, leave the station, turn right, walk to the main road, cross via the zebra crossing, and walk back a few yards towards the city centre. The bus stop is close to the curtain shop. Click here for a map.
The bus will turn right onto the campus. There are theoretically three bus stops on the University Road, although two are rarely used – the one you will need is the third, Keynes College; it is easily recognisable as the bus will pull onto a slip road with two bus shelters.
Taxis: there are usually taxis waiting outside the rail stations. If not, phone one of the following taxi firms:
Z Cars 01227 789100
Lynx 01227 464232
City 01227 454445
Cab Co 01227 455455
Longleys 01227 710777
There is also a taxi rank at the bus station, outside Riceman’s (on your left with the bus station behind you).