“We were delighted to find this pilgrimage having completed the last section of the Camino de Santiago some years as a group of friends and determined to repeat our positive group experience here in the UK. Andrew’s varied and enlightening route plan, together with recommended accommodation and personal baggage collection, more than met our brief! Spending our first night at fabulous Aylesford Priory really set the tone, allowing us ample time to explore the amazing art and architecture at this uplifting place. We also thoroughly enjoyed the contrast between our other overnight stays at two farmhouses and a hotel on the actual Pilgrim’s Way. Andrew’s helpful daily hints and tips via our very own WhatsApp group set us off on the right foot each day and we certainly felt his guiding presence via his distinctive Augustine Camino stickers at critical points. A blessing from the Canon at Rochester Cathedral set us on our way and the exquisite blessing from Canon Jo at our final destination, Canterbury Cathedral, lifted our hearts. Thank you for your care and attention, Andrew, and best of luck to other pilgrims on the Augustine Camino!”
Maura, Norma, Janet (and Penny!), September 2021
“I have often heard of walking a Camino being on people’s ‘bucket lists’, but it was not one of mine. When my friend asked if I would join her, I thought ‘why not’ I liked walking and it was a great way to get away from the ‘Zoom life’ we have developed during Covid, I enjoy walking and it was a chance to see an area of the UK I have not explored before and spend some quality time with my friend after such a rotten year personally. So, I took on this journey with no expectations.
The journey was one massive history lesson for me. Andrew was a fountain of knowledge which added so much interest to what we were seeing, where we were walking and who had trodden these paths over centuries.
The accommodation was better than expected. There were a few hiccups in being able to get some meals, but this was due to the current situation of the pandemic, so I would recommend carrying a few snacks should you need a regular boost of energy.
Seeing Canterbury Cathedral was a highlight, as well as seeing an alter frontal designed and created by some of my peers from the Royal School of Needlework at the Eve song service making the experience more special.
We were blessed with ideal walking weather, and it was lovely meeting new people, all having different goals in why they were participating, but all with a shared love of walking and getting away from life’s busyness.
Thank you to Andrew for making the journey a memorable one, and to Paula for what she contributed ‘in the background’. I hope to be able join another time to walk the first half we missed from Rochester.
If you are one like me being a bit hesitant about walking a Camino I would say like Nike, ‘Just do it!’.
Angela, Nottingham, Sept 2021
“I walked the Camino as my first long distance walk and what an amazing experience it was. Andrew has organised a route which is beautiful and scenic, whilst being informative historically and religiously.
Andrew is extremely knowledgeable about the history of this beautiful part of England, and he is keen to share this knowledge. It was a great pleasure to be able to be able to follow his route and learn about the history of English Christianity, to see amazing old churches, exceptional countryside and have lots of very good local food.
I would heartily recommend anyone considering the Camino to do it. You will not regret it.”
Thomas, Lincoln, Sept 2021
Barbara, Greenwich, Aug 2021
“Saint Augustine’s Camino from Rochester Cathedral to St Augustine’s in Ramsgate was such a lovely way to explore the Kent countryside. We went in July 2021 when the weather went from unbelievably hot to storms in one week. So thankful the storms & torrential rain missed us. I learnt so much about the Kent countryside, the land there and the history of St. Augustine & his impact on the spread of Christianity. Highlights were many but the blessing in Canterbury Cathedral was very moving and then evensong especially as there so few people & it was the first week of singing post-covid. There was a wonderful stretch near Boughton where we walked through blackcurrant bushes, up through a small wood then down through wheat fields seeing the church in the distance. So beautiful.
Andrew was amazing re tips and information. Absolutely recommend using his services. The places we stayed in were great & varied & the tours and info made the trip. It was so helpful knowing where to eat/stop. Aylesford Priory was amazing and so quiet (again due to covid). You do need the gpx file as the path doesn’t always match due to farmers ploughing over footpaths and some paths overgrown. Thanks Andrew & Paula – we will be back to see the short stretch we missed & the few places not open due to covid e.g. Minster Abbey.”
Claire, Horsham, July 2021
“Seven of us have just walked the route between Rochester and Canterbury. We had a great time . There were lots of interesting sites to see on the way including beautiful churches but the best thing for us, coming from London, was the chance to immerse ourselves in the country and tread the route that medieval pilgrims took. The accommodation was comfortable and varied and the gpx file was invaluable as some of the footpaths had disappeared under crops. Arranging to have our bags transported made all the difference to our enjoyment
Andrew has been great. The trip had to be changed twice because of lockdowns and he did all the extra admin without complaint . His daily bulletins pointed out places of interest on the way. The high point was arriving at the Cathedral and attending evensong which he also arranged. The Seven Sisters – a name we came up with on the route – thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
Cecilia, London, July 2021
“A friend and I walked the Camino over 7 days which I feel is about the right duration : the walking is not challenging but finding the route can prove so occasionally ! We were very grateful for the app Andrew provided and indeed his support throughout . Our accommodation was comfortable and on most days we found lovely places to eat . A highlight was the ploughman’s at the George and Dragon in Fordwich and breakfast at the Sun Inn . From a spiritual perspective we felt a deep sense of peace at Aylesford Priory and walking across Stodmarsh Nature Reserve : a sublime experience . We recommend the pilgrimage highly whether you are seeking spiritual refreshment or a week of escape from the busyness of the world . Andrew made it happen and we are grateful to him”
Anne Harvey , Dunbar , July 2021
“A belated email of thanks for organising our Camino walk in August. Neil and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, it definitely enhanced the walk to visit Rochester and Canterbury Cathedral’s, and St Augustine’s shrine in Ramsgate. Many thanks for arranging these for us. Everything went extremely well and your organisation was first-class. The places you chose to stay were great, comfortable and welcoming and spaced just right along the route. Each leg was easily achievable and allowed us to enjoy the route and take advantage of the recommendations in the guidebook. We are also impressed that you kept us so well-informed throughout the journey. We would both very highly recommend you. It was also quite amazing how we managed to bump into each other a number of times with no forward planning. It was very good to meet you and have the opportunity to have said thank you face-to-face.”
– Chris Owen and Neil Parsonage
“I’ve just completed the Augustine Camino (Sept. 2020) and at first I hesitated to use Andrew’s services as my job is to organise logistics so I did think about the DIY approach BUT I am so pleased I did get him on board and would (and have) recommend using his services to anyone. Andrew is deeply knowledgeable not only about the path walked but also about the nice places to stay, eat, places to visit and I found it a great help to have someone with that knowledge when on the road. Also getting the visits to the cathedral and evensong booked was really useful. The route itself is lovely and varied (and mainly flat!) and I enjoyed walking through this beautiful countryside. I definitely plan to go back to some of the places I visited. Also in this time of C19, I want to say that I’ve found all places I’ve gone (food / lodgings) to be very respectful of guidelines, which is reassuring.”
– Severine Robitaille
“I did the Augustine Camino in August 2019, starting over the bank holiday weekend. Before the actual trip Andrew was very helpful, answering all manner of emails and helping me to get ready. He gave me a wonderful tour of Rochester Cathedral at the start of the trip and I made it to Canterbury 5 days later (although my boots didn’t!) This walking pilgrimage is the perfect antidote to modern living: peace and quiet! There are plenty of churches/sites of interest to see as you go, together with some excellent pub fare and some original places to stay the night. Aylesford Priory I shall remember for a long time to come. All in all, it’s an excellent mix of culture, history, exercise and the beautiful outdoors with a healthy opportunity to pause and take stock.”
– Heloise Plumley
“We had a great time on our pilgrimage, everything was organised perfectly and the accommodation was excellent. We particularly found the blessing in Canterbury Cathedral crypt very moving.”
– Barry Holt
“Saint Augustine’s Camino goes from Rochester Cathedral to the shrine of St Augustine in Ramsgate, via Canterbury, a total of 67miles (108 Km) spread over seven days using the suggested stages. Although recently developed, the walk visits places rich in pilgrim history, current centres of contemplation and passes through some stunning Kent countryside. Highlights for me included enjoying a filling breakfast in the medieval pilgrim hall at Aylesford priory, walking alongside reedbeds and waterways alive with frog and bird calls in the Stodmarsh nature reserve, sitting in the deep candle lit silence in Canterbury Cathedral Crypt and seeing the largest vineyard in England being created in the shelter of the North Downs. There’s a guidebook and pilgrim passport available from augustinecamino.co.uk which has colour photos, large scale maps and clear route descriptions that mostly succeed in the difficult task of giving enough information without getting bogged down in detail. The route is almost entirely on public footpaths with some walking on minor roads here and there. In some places these paths are little used and might need a bit of opening up. I used GPS several times while crossing large fields where the path had been ploughed away and for deciding on unmarked woodland paths. There is a GPX file available for download from the excellent British Pilgrimage Trust website, though this differs from the guidebook route in places so it’s a good idea to compare them before setting off. The challenge with most English routes is the lack of pilgrim orientated infrastructure and this is no exception, though there are some budget accommodation options. Unusually there is also the possibility of bag transport, support and pre booking of places to stay available via the website. I enjoyed walking this very much and would like to thank Andrew and Paula Kelly for all their work in developing and supporting the route.”
– Matthew Needham
“We walked the St Augustine Camino over 4 days from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday 2019 and were blessed with summer weather. The countryside was outstanding, the cathedrals, churches, priories and abbeys made the pilgrimage more authentic as did accommodation in old taverns and hotels. We appreciated Andrew’s assistance to visit historic places such as the Hospital Church of St Nicholas before reaching Canterbury and the church of St Martin which would otherwise have been closed at the time of our walk. In truly ecumenical spirit we were acknowledged as Christian pilgrims in both Canterbury Cathedral (where we participated in Evensong) and later on in the evening, at Mass in St Thomas Becket Roman Catholic Church.”
– Rituccia and James Portelli, Malta
“I chose to walk the Augustine Camino in winter, which was still beautiful. Andrew was a stellar guide and helped to tailor the journey to my interests. If you can take extra days to sketch or journal, do! There are many natural, manmade, and spiritual treasures to reflect upon along the route”
– Amanda J Sisk, USA
“I was lucky to walk the Augustine Camino during 5 crispy spring days. It was a very relaxing walk along this old pilgrimage route, passing through beautiful English countryside. We were guided by Andrew Kelly and his wife Paula’s expertise. I’d recommend it to anyone in need of a change or a break.”
– Tina Elmefjäll, Sweden
“Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable, well paced and interesting walk. Excellent company, leadership and booklet. I’m really looking forward to the next one!”
– Margaret Marchant
“Walking the St Augustine Camino in early April was a relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Our journey through the gentle Kent countryside took us across farmland, ancient orchards and tranquil Spring woodlands. Andrew our excellent guide, led us at a leisurely pace and described the places of historical importance along the way. His knowledge of Kentish life over the centuries added another layer of discovery to our walk. Taking part in the walk offers the chance to escape the rigours of modern life for just a few days and also the opportunity to enjoy the experience that a shared walk offers. Our arrival at Canterbury Cathedral with a Pilgrim’s welcome from Canon Clare was a very special end to our 5 day camino.”
– Melanie Broadhead, Cornwall
“I decided to walk just a day of the Augustine Camino having seen the recent Pilgrimage programme on BBC television. Never having done a walk with anybody except my husband and our dogs, I had an open mind but hoped I would enjoy it. I think April was a good choice as the weather was kind to us – neither too hot nor too cold. It was really lovely to chat to the other pilgrims who were all happy to share their thoughts and reasons for walking the Camino as a group. Some had walked other well-known pilgrim routes and shared some of their experiences. I found the walk to be a nice mix of history, countryside and companionship with like-minded people – I imagine it to be a typical modern day pilgrimage. We did stop at several really interesting local churches and the Shrine of St Jude in Faversham, where we were lucky enough to meet a Carmelite monk. I really enjoyed the experience and at the end wished I could have walked one more day to finish in Canterbury and be greeted by Canon Clare at the Cathedral. I would love to do either another part of the Camino or perhaps the whole walk next time!”
– Sue, Ashford
“For anyone who enjoys walking in beautiful countryside, with sweeping rolling hills, and would like a bit extra in terms of English culture and history, I can enthusiastically recommend this trip. The local beer proved popular as well. Kent is famous for hops and beer making.”
– Katlin, London
“I went on a group tour with the Augustine Camino that was led by Andrew. It was a FANTASTIC experience. Such beautiful countryside. It was hard to believe we were just an hour or two away from the hustle and bustle of London as we walked through fields, forests, and more. Such great history too. So many highlights, but getting to see where the pilgrims from the 1300s — including Geoffrey Chaucer — stayed was a highlight. The private pilgrim tour of Canterbury Cathedral was quite memorable too. Our guide, Andrew, was perfect. He’s a born tour guide and knows both the trails and the history inside and out. I highly recommend taking a walking trip on the Augustine Camino. Ideally do 5-7 days. Or even just a 2-3 day weekend will really recharge your batteries.”
– Victor Prince, Indianapolis USA