Updated 2019: 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 the White Cliffs of Dover had been on my bucket list since moving to London. 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 – I paid £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 on a train, 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 recommend these day trips and this way you’ll get to see more of the Kent and Canterbury area too in just one day!
I boarded the train to Dover from London and the looks of people’s footwear I wasn’t the only one-off to do some walking in South England and 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. It’s 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.
If you walk all the way to the coast from Dover town you’ll come across a beach, however it is only a small stone beach with council flats and a Premier Inn Hotel (which is a great location in Dover if you want to stay the night or are heading to Dover Port!) behind it so it’s nothing hugely special but I would recommend heading down here to start your walk to the White Cliffs of Dover.
From Marine Parade, aka, the beach, I carried on up the footpath towards Dover port and White Cliffs, I crossed over the main road and 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 I should have as I have heard Dover Castle is a really good Castle to visit in England. The War Tunnels further a long are also a popular place for people to visit in Dover. However if you’re just there for the walk like I was, keep on walking up the pathway.
For advance purchase tickets to Dover Castle, have a look here!
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 along the cliffs, on a designated path, or even on the small lanes that 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.
There is a National Trust visitor centre towards the start of the walk to the White Cliffs in case you want any information but I just carried on walking past the port until I finally started to see those oh so famous White Cliffs!
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 to see not only the White Cliffs of Dover but more of Kent too!
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 one hour to walk to from the port of Dover to the Lighthouse, however I decided to keep on walking a bit further.
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 where 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 from the Lighthouse to St Margarets Bay as I thought it would be nice to see the beach and get some lunch. To be honest, St Margarets 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 pub in St Margarets Beach called Coastguard. This seemed really popular and sells your usual Bitish 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 to Dover town from St Margarets Bay. I think St Margarets Bay is the perfect turn around point when walking the White Cliffs of Dover on a Day Trip from London because it’s far enough to give you a good hike, 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!
It took me about 2 hours to walk back into Dover Town and I believe you can get a bus from St Margaret’s Town to Dover 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. I caught it 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 on my Day Trip from London by train to the White Cliffs of Dover 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:
To SEE my trip to Dover, check out my Vlog!