Religion & PILGRIMAGE tour
Walking Pilgrimage TOUR of England
On arrival at London area airport, meet with your tour manager and transfer to your hotel in central London.
The rest of today will be free to rest and relax after the flight, or for independent sightseeing, shopping etc.
Your tour manager will provide orientation and advice on the local area.
This evening enjoy a get-together dinner in your hotel.
This morning there will be a guided sightseeing tour of London including such famous landmarks as Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminster Bridge, St. Paul's Cathedral and the West End. There will be a guided visit of Westminster Abbey.
This afternoon visit the iconic Tower of London.
Depart early this morning for a visit to the amazing ancient megalithic site of Stonehenge, the origins of which are still shrouded in mystery.
Continue on to the city of Salisbury, established in the 13th century, for lunch, followed by a visit to the beautiful Cathedral.
Salisbury Cathedral boasts the tallest church spire in Britain. You will have an opportunity to see the world's oldest working mechanical clock and one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta which is housed here.
After your visit, continue the journey to the city of Winchester, England's ancient capital and former seat of King Alfred the Great. Arrive in time to attend choral evensong in the glorious Winchester cathedral. (nb needs to be a week day, for the 5.30 pm evensong)
Depart after breakfast in the direction of Farnham, where you will begin walking one of the early sections of the North Downs Way & The Pilgrim's Way. Stride past landmarks and villages like Puttenham, which have inspired writers like Aldous Huxley over the years, and have remained little changed over time.
(Total Walking distance 11 miles)
Continue to Guildford for overnight.
Depart after breakfast for a relatively short walk from Guildford along The Pilgrim's Way, to St. Martha's Church. (Approximate distance 3-4 miles)
St Martha's Church occupies one of the most striking settings of any place of worship in Britain, perched on the crown of a hill 573 feet up and with no road leading to it. The story of St Martha's involves the Saxons, Normans and monks who worshiped here, the fabled Pilgrims Way, and the local men and women who, throughout a thousand years of history, were inspired by their faith to climb this lonely hill on the North Downs to worship God.
From this point, continue by coach to the charming market town of Dorking for lunch.
This afternoon, starting from the village of Westhumble, cross the stepping stones over the River Mole and climb the steep slope of Box Hill. There are stunning views to be enjoyed from the top. Following the Pilgrim's Way in the footsteps of historic travellers, descend through woods before climbing again to Brockham Hills, with views back towards Boxhill. Continue to the village of Betchworth.
(Approximate distance 5-6 miles)
Continue by coach to the town of Reigate.
Depart by coach this morning, travelling through the beautiful Kent Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
The walk today commences at the village of Detling and traces both ridges of the Downs and the Pilgrim's Way in the lower areas. Along the route lies Thurnham Castle, the remains of a Norman castle, sitting within White Horse Wood Country Park, a stunning area of rolling grassland and secluded woodland.
The sightseeing highlight in this area is Leeds Castle, where a visit will be included. It has often been described as the world's most beautiful castle.
Modern day travellers will once again be reminded of the historical significance of the Pilgrim's Way, as they pass the Pilgrim's Rest Sculpture - a wooden 'Brother Percival' taking his time on the way to Canterbury.
(Total Walking distance 9.3 miles)
After breakfast, depart by coach for the village of Boughton Lees where the so-called 'Canterbury Loop' commences.
'The King's Wood' blankets much of this section of the trail, where robbers once preyed on pilgrims. Soon, you'll emerge from the dense woodland, and just as pilgrims have for centuries, catch your first glimpse of splendid Canterbury Cathedral.
The Pilgrim's Way was originally the track which served many travellers on their way to commemorate the death of Thomas Beckett. However, the track later became the subject of Chaucer's famous 'Canterbury Tales' as pilgrimages turned into a leisure activity rather than an act of penance.
Continue on from the beautiful village of Chilham towards Canterbury, tracing the path of the pilgrims before you. Walk through an expanse of orchard, to be rewarded with another magnificent view of Canterbury Cathedral. Pass by St Dunstan's Church where weary travellers once paused to pray before making the final approach to Canterbury. It was here that King Henry II paid his penance for the murder of Thomas Becket.
(Maximum walking distance 13 miles)
After breakfast, meet in hotel lobby for transfer to the Canterbury Cathedral Welcome Centre.
Walk from Cathedral to the Church of St Martin, the oldest in England still in use as a parish church. Your visit here will include a short Taizé-style service.
Afterwards, visit St Augustine's Abbey, a ruined monastery which was originally founded in 598 AD. It was rebuilt in the Norman era and almost completely destroyed during the 'Dissolution of the Monasteries' (audio guided visit)
Free time in the city centre for independent lunch
Meet again at Canterbury Cathedral to watch a film on the history of the Cathedral, followed by a guided tour of Canterbury Cathedral, Mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Free time to explore the cathedral further, or the city centre
This evening enjoy a farewell dinner with your fellow travellers.
Depart Canterbury for the transfer to London area airport in time to check in for your flight.
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