Dover is a port town in the South of England which is home to some very iconic white cliffs.. The White Cliffs of Dover.
Visiting these cliffs had been on my mental bucket list since moving to London last year. I knew I had to fit in a trip this summer but I was also holding out for a nice summers day.. quite tricky when the British summer is notorious for being bad!
I had Dover’s weather downloaded on my phone and kept checking it until one Friday in August I realised it would indeed be sunny on the Sunday. So i booked my train tickets – £31.80 return from Kings Cross/St Pancras to Dover Priory with South Eastern and by paying £31.80 instead of £26.00 return I was able to get on the fast train that only takes 1hr 5 minutes instead of 2 hours! I’m a bargain hunter but I’ll pay an extra £6.00 to save myself 2 hours, that’s for sure!
I boarded the train on a Sunny Sunday morning, by the looks of people’s footwear I wasn’t the only one-off to do some walking. Before I knew it we were speeding our way through tunnels out of London city and into the depths of Kent.
I’d heard mixed things about Dover as a town and I can confirm that it’s nothing too special, it’s fairly small with plenty of high street shops, a very English town that could do with a facelift, but luckily once arriving at Dover Priory train station you only need to pass through the town very briefly until you reach the coast and the ‘beach’.
I say ‘beach’ because it is a stone beach and only very small with a huge amount of council looking flats a long with a Premier Inn building behind it but I would recommend heading down here to start your walk as when you look out to the sea on a nice day you could well be anywhere in the world!
From Marine Parade, aka, the beach, I carried on up the footpath towards the port and white cliffs, crossed over the main road and then followed the footpath around the back of some houses. This pathway then started to incline and confirmed I was on my way to the Cliffs. Dover Port is actually huge so the first part of the walk is walking a long side it but it’s quite interesting to see all of the boats and the hustle and bustle beneath you.
You’ll notice that Dover Castle is to the right of you. I didn’t visit but in hindsight maybe I should have as I have heard it’s quite a cool castle, the War Tunnels further a long are also a popular place for people to visit as part of their day in Dover. However if you’re just there for the walk, as I was, just keep on walking up the pathway.
What I really loved is that the path splits off quite a lot on this walk, you can walk right on the coasts edge for a lot of the walk, or on a designated path, or even on the small lanes that also line the coast from further back. This means that on a busy day not everyone is following each other and it won’t feel as busy. As I said, I went on a beautiful sunny Sunday in August during the school holidays and it was busy but it wasn’t horribly busy.
There is a National Trust visitor centre towards the start of the walk too in case you want any information but I just carried on walking past the port until I really started to see these oh so famous White Cliffs!
A good place to walk to is the South Foreland Lighthouse, you can’t really miss it as it’s a gorgeous white lighthouse. It has a Tea Room inside called Mrs Knotts and a nice lawn to sit on and relax.
I would think that a lot of people use this point as their turnaround point as it took me just over an hour to walk to from the port, however I decided to keep on walking a bit.
This time you’re taken away from the coast as there’s private property that lines the coast (lucky them!) so you need to walk down a small lane but before you know it there’s a gate and you can cross back over to the edge of the coast and see all the way to the next town – St Margarets Bay. I continued to walk down to the town as I thought it would be nice to see the beach. The beach isn’t overly nice but this is a good spot to get some lunch, use the free public toilets and have a breather.
There is a good-sized pub right by the beach called Coastguard. This seemed really popular and sells your usual pub food, Fish and Chips is probably one of their most popular dishes I would think. There was also a cafe/shack selling ice cream, drinks, bacon and egg baps etc.
I went for lunch at The Pine Gardens Tea Room, it’s just slightly away from the coast and it was really nice. The staff were really friendly and they had a selection of drinks, cakes, baguettes and some slightly more substantial lunches so I would recommend popping in here if you’re hungry.
It was then time to start the walk back. I think St Margarets Bay is the perfect turn around point, it’s far enough, but not too far! The walk of course was just as gorgeous on the way back and I spent some time just chilling on the edge, although it was quite scary!
I’m so glad there aren’t barriers a long the coast as it would ruin it but at the same time I’m kind of surprised as some people get so close to the edge and it’s a long way down!
It took me about 2 hours to walk back into Dover town, I believe you can get a bus from St Margaret’s town if you want to. I rushed through the town on the way back as I wanted to catch the fast train back to London and within an hour I was back in the busyness of London town wondering if those cliffs and that bright blue sea were all just a dream!
I had such a good day there and I’m so glad I ticked it off my bucket list. I saw so many families and friends having picnics on the grass by the side of the cliffs so I hope I can go back another day and do the same thing as the view is so incredible! On a clear day you can see France and it’s pretty cool to see all the huge boats going in and out of the port.
(On the subject of France though, my phone did pick up a French mobile phone carrier so make sure you don’t have roaming on as you might get charged.. even though you’re still in England!)
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below or by tweeting me!
To SEE my trip to Dover, check out my Vlog here!