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London to Santiago best route?

jimbobjimma

Self confessed addict
Time of past OR future Camino
London-SdC 2023
Hello fellow addicts, i have finally decided after walking a number of ways over the years to leave from my "home" just outside london, i'm probably going to leave mid March and plan on about 100 days of walking give or take, i think from Tours or Paris i have a way to plan the walk with good stage guides but still lacking information on way marking and route finding...does anyone have any ideas about the best northern french port to start in, seems dieppe is a good idea, but would love some input....
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Try the local Associations websites to get an idea of the route(s) available.

Route from Dieppe


Route from Tours


Or take the train to Paris and start the Voie de Tours GR655


Pic of the sign outside Chartres Cathedral.
 

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I would agree that Dieppe is probably "best", though the option via Canterbury then Dover is obviously a good one too.

Apart from waymarkers, I'd suggest getting the mapy.cz app. Which is free, including the offline maps.

It does not have every Camino route, but it has many of them, and it's good for many things, including route planning.

Look at the website version first to get a sense of it.
 
If your are aiming for Paris and Voie Tours, try Dieppe then GR218 to Rouen then GR2 to Paris. These are marked on the IGN maps available on https://www.geoportail.gouv.fr/ (there is also an app form too).Alternatively have a look at the cycle route Avenue Vert from London to Paris which may give some other ideas.
I haven't done any of these as my route is from Ireland so I did Cherbourg to Mont St Michel then onto Voie des Capitales. From Voie Capitales (see Bretagne Amis website) there are 2 options either connect to Voie Tours at Saintes or head to Royan and Voie Littoral to Bayonne.
Lots of options!
 
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The walk from Paris to Chartres is glorious, though if I could do it over again, I would go Paris > Chartres > Orléans > Tours, as just from hitch-hiking, some years later, it was clear to me that the walk along the Loire from Orléans is equal to the walk into Chartres.

But if it's a straightforward Chartres/Orléans comparison, then Chartres hands down.
 
Hello fellow addicts, i have finally decided after walking a number of ways over the years to leave from my "home" just outside london, i'm probably going to leave mid March and plan on about 100 days of walking give or take, i think from Tours or Paris i have a way to plan the walk with good stage guides but still lacking information on way marking and route finding...does anyone have any ideas about the best northern french port to start in, seems dieppe is a good idea, but would love some input....
I just walked Reading to Southampton (recovering from an injury that happened on the Frances) and loved the route, especially Dummer to Eastleigh. I highly recommend, though be aware that there's not much infrastructure, it's hard to get a stamp and lodging is fairly spotty right along the path.

A few observations:
1. The Confraternity of St James' turn-by-turn guide of the St James Way is very good. I used the Kindle edition.
2. The path is fairly well-marked, but having the guide is still necessary.
3. The Ordinance Survey Maps (available online) are very helpful.
4. If you are planning to get a Compostella for the Ingles, getting a stamp is a chore. Not all churches have one, and there is very limited community knowledge of the route, as the St James Way is only newly revived. Walk later in the day, since the few pubs that have a stamp only open at noon.
5. Very few toilet opportunities make your meal choices important.

Feel free to reach out to me, and I'm very curious about the route that you choose!
 
If you plan to walk to Paris directly from home, then here's my suggestion (having walked or cycled each element):
Thames towpath to Reading;
(newly waymarked) St James Way which goes to Southampton but junctions with both the Wayfarers Walk near Alresford, or alternatively the Pilgrims Way at Winchester, to divert to the ferry port at Portsmouth;
Ferry to Caen or St Malo;
Saint Malo via signposted lanes to Mont St Michel then Veloscenic OR
Caen via Greenway and lanes to Domfront-en-Poireau;
Veloscenic Greenway into the heart of Paris.
Each of those amount to roughly 250km walking, or about 9 or 10 days including the ferry time.

There are certainly alternatives via Dieppe, but I haven't explored them (yet!).

There is a waymarked historic Compostelle path to Tours from Caen, via Le Mans (thus avoiding Paris), but not via Chartres which would be a pity to miss.

From Dieppe there is a route marked on the IGN Compostelle map via Rouen and Chartres to Tours, but I have no idea as to waymarking or facilities.

Enjoy, both the planning and the walking!
 
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Jimbojimma, unless you have a tight time schedule, you might consider walking Via Canterbury, then following the Via Francigena as far as, perhaps, Précy-Saint-Martin. You will then be less than 90 miles/150 km from Vézelay. From Précy-Saint-Martin, you can walk through the Forêt d'Orient natural park, and then will pass interesting small towns such as Chaorce, well known for its cheese and for the wonderful medieval statues in the church crypt. On reaching Vézelay, you can follow the Voie de Vézelay, of course, and then the Camino Francés.

As an alternative to the Francés, you could turn northwards from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the Irún Link, to reach the start of the Camino del Norte. Or you could turn northwards from Pamplona onto the Via Verde Plazaola to San Sebastián, joining the Norte there. Both the links to the Norte make for fabulous walking of about four days. On the Norte, you later have the choice of the Primitivo, as you no doubt know.

A somewhat long way around, of course, but some excellent walking and great variety. If you would like information about the two links mentioned above, message me and I will give you the necessary details.

Whatever you decide, buen Camino! Tom
 
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Hello, I walked from home ( south London) to Santiago a few years ago . I walked to Portsmouth and took the ferry to Cherbourg. I then followed Le Chemin de Mont St Michel to Mont St Michel and from there the Voie des Plantaganets from Mont St Michel to Aulnay where it joined the route from Paris.
Im sure you can get a GPX trace for these routes. Mont St Michel is a great place to visit on your way, you can walk over the sands to the island as Vacajoe has done recently.

 
Hello fellow addicts, i have finally decided after walking a number of ways over the years to leave from my "home" just outside london, i'm probably going to leave mid March and plan on about 100 days of walking give or take, i think from Tours or Paris i have a way to plan the walk with good stage guides but still lacking information on way marking and route finding...does anyone have any ideas about the best northern french port to start in, seems dieppe is a good idea, but would love some input....
Are UK residents limited to 90 days under the Schengen Agreement? As an Australian I had to leave the Schengen area in 2010 when walking from Le Puy so I had to change my plans.
 
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Hello, I walked from home ( south London) to Santiago a few years ago . I walked to Portsmouth and took the ferry to Cherbourg. I then followed Le Chemin de Mont St Michel to Mont St Michel and from there the Voie des Plantaganets from Mont St Michel to Aulnay where it joined the route from Paris.
Im sure you can get a GPX trace for these routes. Mont St Michel is a great place to visit on your way, you can walk over the sands to the island as Vacajoe has done recently.


The consensus seems to be Portsmouth and then to Mont St Michel.

Like others I have tried the three (closer) options for crossing - Dover, Newhaven and Portsmouth. Only the latter actually takes you in the direction of Santiago.

The Avenue Verte as mentioned above is actually a cycle / road route - if you like tarmac. It routes past the front door of London Gatwick. If overseas visitors enter via that way, then the AV would make sense. Otherwise Portsmouth. See pics

Edit: To answer @aussieannie above. It's UK citizens that are limited. Those residents with EU or dual UK/EU nationality don't have a limit.
 

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Yes. One of the privileges of freedom ;)
Try the local Associations websites to get an idea of the route(s) available.

Route from Dieppe


Route from Tours


Or take the train to Paris and start the Voie de Tours GR655


Pic of the sign outside Chartres Cathedral.
Hi Corned Beef, thanks for the info, like everyone else on here there seems to be enough now for me to get my teeth stuck into!
 

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