Canterbury Pilgrimage Family Chapter: Letter from the Organisers

Source: District of Great Britain

We need more people to sign up to the family chapter!

Dear Pilgrims,

When the Canterbury Pilgrimage resumed after COVID in 2021, we hit record numbers; 190 people walked into Canterbury. Since then, the numbers have kept rising involving changing campsites and hiring extra marquees to accommodate. Last year, 260 people walked into Canterbury.

Part of the improvements that we provided to encourage more pilgrims was the launch of the family chapter. They follow a separate walk which is much shorter and fully pram-proof, allowing young children to take part in the walk, and pregnant women or young babies to be on the pilgrimage. This made part of the success last year, in that 75 people walked on the family chapter. On this walk, the prayers, talks and meditations are adapted partly to couples and partly to young children.

This year however, some of the usual families who would walk with the family chapter have decided that their children are ready to walk the adult chapter. Consequently, the organisers are concerned that we will have a quarter of the numbers for the family chapter which wouldn’t be sustainable. If you are hesitating to join with your young family, please read the following FAQ:

How do I get to the Canterbury Pilgrimage with young children?

Joining the Canterbury Pilgrimage by public transport doesn’t really work if you have a young family. The easiest way to join is by car. This would involve two options. Firstly you can drive to Rochester, put all your belongings in the Luton vans which transport them to the campsite, and Dad or Mum drives to Canterbury to park the car, then takes a train back to Rochester. The second option involves Mum and Dad taking turns each half day to walk with the children or drive their car. This can give more flexibility. 

Do I need to bring any food to the pilgrimage when walking on the family chapter?

It is recommended that you bring snacks for the walk. All meals are provided. If you run out of snacks or need emergency equipment or food for your baby, we can go on shopping errands for you. The red jacket team, present along the walk, will be able to assist you at almost any time. 

What is it like camping with very young children?

The short answer is that the children love it, but you will find yourself with overtired children at the end of the pilgrimage. Generations of parents have done this pilgrimage with young children, and to be frank, it is more fun for the children than for the adults. For babies, we wouldn’t recommend under 6 months old. Beyond this, they can easily sleep in a travel cot inside a decent size tent. I have done this for all three of my children. The general rule is the older they are, the more fun they find it, and the less they sleep. It’s just part of the experience. 

Can my older children walk in the adult chapter while we walk in the family chapter?

This, in principle, is not a problem. They would need to be put under the responsibility of another adult in the adult chapter, a friend or a member of family. If you don’t know anyone walking with the adult chapter, you can contact us so that we can find an adult to keep on eye on your older children. 

I would love to go but I can’t afford it.

Simply donate via the "Sponsor a Pilgrim” form the amount that you can afford (if at all), and email the Canterbury Pilgrimage with the list of pilgrims you wish to register.  Affordability is not an objection to joining the pilgrim and we have plenty of donations to help your cause. 

I have more questions; how do I contact you?

You can fill out the form on the website, or email [email protected] 

For those who can’t join the canterbury pilgrimage, please consider supporting it by sponsoring a pilgrim via our website or donating to the cause via your parish priest. We count on these donations to allow people to be on the pilgrimage who can’t afford it, and to cover our costs. A mass is said on the pilgrimage for all those who have donated. 

See you on Friday 12 July, for vocations and the conversion of England!

Peter Bevan
Assistant Organiser

Please register on


Can’t make it? Please sponsor a pilgrim or donate via your parish priest.


Letter from the organisers regarding the family chapter


Hesitating to go? Have financial concerns? Please address any questions to [email protected]