This station has become the busier of the city’s two stations, because it is served by the hi-speed ‘Javelin’ services to/from London and it also has the most convenient city centre access.
A legacy of when separate competing companies constructed Britain’s railways in the 19th century, Canterbury is blessed with two stations.
The city’s other station Canterbury East is used by trains to and from Chatham, Dover; and the fastest services between Canterbury and Victoria station in London.
This station, Canterbury West, has become the busier of the city’s two stations, because it is served by the hi-speed ‘Javelin’ services to/from London St Pancras International.
The two other services which call at Canterbury West are the trains which connect the city to Charing Cross station in central London, which also call at London Bridge and Waterloo East stations; and the slower of the two services which link Canterbury to Victoria station.
Canterbury West is also the station to use if you will be taking trains to or from Ashford, Bearsted (for Leeds Castle), Margate or Ramsgate.
Trains to London depart from platform (track) 1 which is besides the charming main station building, which dates back to 1846 and houses the ticket office and refreshment facilities.
It has level access to/from Station Road West, the street on which the station is located.
Trains from London arrive at the other platform (track) 2 - from here there are two routes to the exit, which is housed in the main station building, on the other side of the railway line.
If you require a step-free route or will have been seated towards the rear of the train, there is a footbridge which spans the station; the elevator access is behind the stairs.
For first-time users, the footbridge is the most visible means of exiting platform (track) 2, but towards the middle of the platform there is less obvious access to a subway, which runs under the railway lines.
Using this subway is often the quickest route to exiting the station, but it isn’t step-free.
Just before trains from London arrive at Canterbury West station, over to the right, they pass the magnificent sight of The Westgate Towers - and when accessing the city centre from the station, you need to head towards this landmark.
On exiting the front of the station, turn right on to Station Road West; though for those with an interest in gastronomy and railway history, a diversion to the leftinto The Goods Shed food market is highly recommended.
A factor which contributes to Canterbury being an easy day trip from London by train is that the walking route between Canterbury West station and the city centre is both level and comparatively short.
On the other side of The Westgate Towers, you will be walking along the charming High Street through the city centre, within seven minutes of exiting the station..
The quickest pedestrian route between Canterbury West station and the cathedral is to head for the High Street and walk along it until after you have passed over a branch of the river on a bridge. (you will have first crossed another bridge by The Westgate Towers).
Take the third street on the left after the bridge on the High Street, the street is named Mercery Lane, at the end of which is the historic gate which gives access to the cathedral grounds.
The walk to here from Canterbury West station will take 10 – 15 minutes.
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This is one of more than 100 train travel guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.