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

August 20, 2017

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.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

The train station.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Bunting makes the town look prettier!

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.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Dover’s beach!

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.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Look out for this!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

A glimpse of how big the port is!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Dover Castle in the distance.

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!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Ready to walk!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

The English Countryside is gorgeous!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

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 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.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Such a nice place to relax!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

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 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.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

St Margarets Bay in the Distance.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

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.

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Highly Recommend this place!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Yum!

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!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london

Pretending I’m not scared!

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:

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!


To SEE my trip to Dover, check out my Vlog!

day trip to white cliffs of dover from london pinerest pin

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22 responses to “Visiting the White Cliffs of Dover on a Day Trip from London!”

  1. Rachel says:

    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 says:

      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 😀

      • 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 says:

    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!!

    • 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 says:

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

    • 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 says:

    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!

    • 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 🙂

  5. Renata says:

    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 🙂

    • 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! 🙂

      • Renata says:

        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. 🙂

  6. Alessandra says:

    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!

    • 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! 😀

  7. Barbara says:

    Great information – cruising out of Dover in July and we wanted to take in a ‘tour’ on our last day and heading to the airport. This looks great, and we will probably book it. Also going to Canterbury
    Thanks again

  8. Craig says:

    Trying to get idea of leisurely day. From central london hotel…how much time would be needed from leaving hotel until back at hotel (I know, it’s open ended).
    We want to hike around the area a bit, enjoy lunch, and don’t care when we get back to London…but want a rough idea on your suggestion of a total time for the day.
    Thanks and great post.

    • Hi Craig. The train takes just over one hour if you get the fast train so I’d say to leave London at 9:30-10:30, get there by 11:30 at least, you can start walking to the cliffs, pick up some lunch in town or by the time it’s really lunchtime you’ll be near the cafe at the lighthouse, spend the afternoon walking and head back to London about 4:30ish. That would work well 🙂

  9. Sook says:

    HI, I was trying to buy the expresses train tickets fr the link you’ve provided; however, the only trains shown are the 2hr 36mins ones.

    Did I miss something? can you please advise?

    • Maybe they aren’t running on the dates you’re looking at or the times. I use the train line for all of my trains in the UK as it shows every train. Are you looking from all London stations? 🙂

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Hello!
My Name's Ellie Quinn.

I'm a complete travel addict and have been since I took my first backpacking trip in 2010.

Since then I've visited 50+ Countries on various trips! I created this blog to share my travel tips to help you travel better!

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