Via Francigena is the ancient route from Canterbury to Rome, followed by archbishops travelling to receive from the pope their symbols of authority as well as ordinary pilgrims en route to Rome or onward to Jerusalem. It was originally described by Archbishop Sigeric in AD990 and his route has been adopted by the Council of Europe Institute of Cultural Routes as the definitive way from Canterbury to Rome.
Today people of all ages and beliefs enjoy the physical challenge of this 1,200 mile journey. Starting at Canterbury Cathedral the entire journey will take approxinately 12 weeks on foot, based on an average of between 15 and 25 miles per day. Crossing England, France, Switzerland and Italy you will climb to heights above 8,000 feet and be exposed to a wide range of weather conditions.
You can obtain a Via Francigena passport which will be stamped at the Information Centre in the cathedral precincts. The first part of the route will require you to exit the cathedral via the Christchurch gate, turning left onto Burgate and continuing along Church Street and Longport, beside St Augustine's Abbey.
After passing North Holmes Road and St Martin's Church, turn right onto Pilgrim's Way and begin to follow the signs for the North Downs Way.
The pathway to Dover is nearly 20 miles and will take between seven and eight hours on foot.
To find out more about the Via Francigena visit the website www.viefrancigene.org/en/