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London to Canterbury

from £12.30
Looking to see the sights of Canterbury? Find the best route and fare for you with Railsmartr.

Available train operators on this journey

  • Southeastern

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What are the London to Canterbury train options?

You can't beat a visit to Canterbury. It's steeped in history, and it's the perfect place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. It's got two train stations, and it's served by two different rail lines. So, which is the best London to Canterbury train and how do you get the best fare? All of the London to Canterbury train services are operated by Southeastern. However, you can choose between Southeastern High Speed, or a 'Classic' train. Here's a summary of the trains that serve the city. Each route runs once per hour, and the average journey time is in brackets.

  • London Charing Cross - Canterbury West - (Ramsgate) via Tonbridge and Ashford (1h35m-1h45m)
  • London St Pancras - Canterbury West - (Margate) via High-Speed route (55m-1hr)
  • London Victoria - Canterbury East - (Dover Priory) via Faversham (1h30m-1h40m).

In a nutshell, the 'classic' routes from Charing Cross and Victoria are broadly similar, with the 'High Speed' route from St Pancras is much quicker.

Extra trains run during peak hours. The timetable might also be changed during planned engineering works. When you book with Railsmartr, you'll be able to see the latest confirmed timetable. If it changes, we'll drop you an email to let you know.

The Cost

So, how much do they cost? Here are the typical on-the-day fares for tickets that include travel on the faster High-Speed trains:

  • Anytime Return - £86.70
  • Anytime Day Return - £48.80
  • Off-Peak Return - £45.20
  • Off-Peak Day Return - £45.10
  • Super Off-Peak Day Return - £39.60.

Here are the fares if you want to stick to the slower, 'classic' London to Canterbury train services:

  • Anytime Return - £77.70
  • Anytime Day Return - £40.70
  • Off-Peak Return - £37.70
  • Off-Peak Day Return - £37.60
  • Super Off-Peak Day Return - £32.40.

All of the Off-Peak tickets above are valid after 09:30 on weekdays (any time weekends and Bank Holidays). The Super Off-Peak Day Return tickets are valid after 10:00 on weekdays (any time weekends and Bank Holidays).

How do I get the cheapest London to Canterbury train fare?

Well, you can do that with Railsmartr! Simply pop your journey details into our website, and we'll show you the best London to Canterbury train fare. Southeastern offers some cheaper Advance tickets for specific trains, if you're happy to commit to one. Let's see what we can find a week in advance:

railsmartr website showing london to canterbury train prices

As you can see, the prices are fairly similar. It's an extra couple of pounds to travel on the High-Speed route. Looking to know more about the differences between the two routes? We've written a short guide to Southeastern High Speed.

What are the trains like?

You'll have two kinds of trains to choose from if you're making a London to Canterbury train journey. It'll be an Electrostar train you get if you're using the 'classic' routes out of Charing Cross, London Bridge and Victoria. They (mostly) have 2+2 seating, and tables dotted around the carriage:

interior of a 'classic' electrostar train to canterbury

All of the trains are slowly being refurbished and are having power sockets added to every window seat. These sockets have a three-pin plug and two USB ports.

Certain trains on this route have 'high-density' 3+2 seating, instead. They still have groups of seats facing each other and power sockets, but the tables are smaller, and the seats are a little less comfortable. Don't worry though, in the areas behind the driver's cab, you'll find more comfortable seats and bigger tables! This used to be First Class, but Southeastern don't sell First Class tickets anymore.

Meanwhile, this is what the High-Speed trains are like:

interior of a high speed train to canterbury

All of the seats are in a 2+2 layout, and you'll find plenty of tables. There are power sockets under every pair of seats, too. These trains are being refurbished at the moment, and will soon have USB-C chargers fitted, which is a first for a British train.

Which Canterbury station do I need?

That all depends on where you want to go, and what you're hoping to do. Let's take a look at which station is nearest to different attractions:

Basically, West is best if you want to see the sights, East is the right beast for an onward journey by bus, or getting some shopping done.

Is there anything else I should know?

Feeling inspired? We've written about day trips by train across the country if you're after a car-free getaway. Unsure about the Capital? Don't worry. We're here to help with getting across London.

The final thing we’d recommend is using the Railsmartr website to book your London to Portsmouth train tickets. We’re completely independent, so we’re happy to ‘tell you like it is’ regarding rail fares. Not only that, but we’ll show you the slower, but cheaper options that some websites won’t.

Don’t forget that we don’t charge any fees, either. That includes if you change your mind and want to travel on a different day. If your ticket is refundable, we’ll refund it fee-free, too!

All fares stated on this page are for ONE adult with no Railcard discount and were correct at 13:00 05/09/2023. All information is issued in good faith. They’re subject to change at any time and Railsmartr are not responsible for any loss or disappointment incurred as a result of the information provided