Visiting the White Cliffs of Dover on a Day Trip from London!

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 on The Train Line – £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 really recommend using The Train Line as it’s easy to compare train times, journey lengths and prices as I did to get the best deal before you go to the White Cliffs of Dover, have a look at their site:

If you don’t fancy going from London to the White Cliffs of Dover by Train and by yourself, and you would rather go on an organised trip with a guide, I would recommend this day trip and you’ll get to see more of the Kent and Canterbury area too!


For more of my UK adventures see my UK blog posts here!

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’.

The train station.

Bunting makes the town look prettier!

If you want to SEE my trip to the White Cliffs of Dover, have a look at my YouTube video here:

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!

Dover’s beach!

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.

Look out for this!

I’ll take the pink house please?!

A glimpse of how big the port is!

Dover Castle in the distance.

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!

Ready to walk!

The English Countryside is gorgeous!

The positive about it being busy is that there’s plenty of people to take photos of you!

If you don’t fancy going from London to the White Cliffs of Dover by Train and by yourself, and you would rather go on an organised trip with a guide, I would recommend this day trip – White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Day Trip!

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.

The lighthouse in the distance.

Such a nice place to relax!

if you want a true English tea room experience then this is the place to visit!

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.

St Margarets Bay in the Distance.

St Margarets Beach.

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.

Highly Recommend this place!


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!

There’s plenty of places for pictures a long the edge!

What a view!

Pretending I’m not scared!

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 unless you have free European data as you might get charged.. even though you’re still in England!)

If you don’t fancy going from London to the White Cliffs of Dover by Train and by yourself, and you would rather go on an organised trip with a guide, I would recommend this day trip or another similar one from London and you’ll also get to see a lot more of the Kent area!


To book your train ticket to Dover and get the best train time and price, have a look at The Train Line like I did:

For more Day trip from London ideas have a look at these posts:

10 Things To Do in Brighton on a Day Trip from London in Rain & Shine!

Visiting the Seven Sisters Cliffs on a Day Trip from London!

Spending the Day in Margate on a Day Trip From London. My True Thoughts!

10 Things Not To Miss When Visiting Oxford on a Day Trip From London!

A Day Trip to Stonehenge & Bath from London!

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!

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  1. November 3, 2017 / 7:03 pm

    What a beautiful Sunday it looks like you had here! I agree with you on the trains – £6 to give you less travel time and more exploring time sounds like a good deal to me! The walk and views look stunning, defo try and visit the castle if you ever go again – I went maybe 10 years ago but recall the tunnels being interesting and a bit different. Looking forward to the next post 🙂

    • Sarah
      July 16, 2018 / 7:28 pm

      Hi!!! I’m so happy I found this. If my train leaves me there a 11h45 and leaves to go back to London at 15h58, do you think I would be alright? I usually walk pretty fast. Thank you 😀

      • July 16, 2018 / 7:31 pm

        Hello!! Yes totally! Just pass right through the town and straight up to the cliffs. You probably can’t go too far but the white cliffs show pretty straight away anyway so you’ll still get to see a good amount! Enjoy it 🙂

  2. Suzanne
    November 28, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    This looks like an amazing idea! I was just thinking of bringing my 12 year old brother there when he comes to visit in London. Do you think it would be too difficult for him? Also, do you have any recommendations as to how long we should spend there? 🙂

    any advice would be appreciated! thank u so much in advance!!

    • November 28, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Hello. It’s such a good day out of London. I would think he’ll be ok, there are a few steep hills but they aren’t too bad and you can see the cliffs pretty quickly from the start of the walk so after that it’s up to you how far you walk.
      I would say 3-5 hours is enough. Depends how quick you walk. There are quite a few restaurants in Dover so if you finish the walk and need to wait for the train you have places to wait!

      I hope that helps! 🙂

  3. Shobana
    December 28, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    Can you just walk from the train station to the cliffs or do you need to take a taxi to a certain point?

    • December 28, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      Hi Shobana, you can walk! You just walk towards the town centre from the train station, which isn’t that big or far and then it leads you straight onto the coast and harbour where you walk up to the cliffs 🙂

  4. Kitzia
    June 13, 2018 / 2:56 am

    Hi Ellie I was looking for unusual places to visit in London and I found your blog and loved this trip. Can yo please tell how many hour did you spend in Dover? So I can plan my trip (: it would be a lot of help. I saw you said 3-5hours? I imagine, since you got to Dover until you took the train back? Thank you!

    • June 13, 2018 / 7:26 am

      Hello. I’m glad you found this useful, it’s a great day trip to do! I was there for about 4 hours which was enough and yes I got the train there and back. There’s a fast train which only takes 1 hour from St Pancras station so book a train in the morning and then one back to London late afternoon 🙂

      • Kitzia
        June 13, 2018 / 10:36 pm

        Great!!!! Thanks a lot Ellie, I hope I get a good sunny day like yours

  5. July 16, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m planning a trip to Dover with my 7 and 8 year olds and want to include the castle. From your post, I can probably squeeze castle and cliffs in a single day if we don’t walk much along the coast. There are more places nearby that I’d like to visit but I figured that the train tickets from/to London are cheaper than one night in a bed & breakfast.
    Can’t wait to see what else I can find in your blog 🙂

    • July 16, 2018 / 7:35 pm

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you found it helpful. Yes absolutely you will be able to see the castle and cliffs in one day but yes, you probably won’t get that far along them but the white cliff experience can be seen pretty quickly into the wall anyway.
      That’s true, a day trip is plenty I think.
      I’ll be doing a few more day trips from London this summer so I hope they help you too! 🙂

      • July 24, 2018 / 7:44 pm

        Amazing! I just read your post about Margate and it looks perfect to take my children to splash on the sea. They never want to do anything else so the city itself doesn’t make much of a difference for us in that case. 🙂

        • July 24, 2018 / 8:28 pm

          Margate sounds great for them then! The beach and the sand there is really nice so it would be great for your children! Thank you for reading it 🙂

  6. Alessandra
    July 27, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Hi! I’ve been planning to spend a day away from London on Dover Cliffs and I would like to ask you for advice: do you think it workable to do the same path you did AND visit Dover Castle in the same day? Let’s say I take a very early train..? I would like to visit the castle very much but at the same time I don’t want to rush on the cliffs, I would like to take my time and enjoy the view! What do you think?

    Thank you for help!

    • July 27, 2018 / 5:31 pm

      Yes absolutely! If you take a bit of an earlier train I definitely think you can! It might be best to walk first and then head back and you’ll know how much time you have for the castle but you certainly can fit it in a full day!
      Have fun, hope you have great weather for it, you should do! 😀

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