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How To Visit White Cliffs of Dover From London On A Day Trip!

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Visiting the White Cliffs of Dover from London is one of the best day trips from London! I remember wondering if it was possible to do a day trip to the white cliffs of Dover from London or not and I can confirm that yes, it is very possible to do in one day!

Here’s my complete guide on how to visit Dover and the White Cliffs of Dover from London on a tour, by driving and by train.

I have mainly focused on how to visit the White cliffs of Dover from London by train as I know like me, most people living in London don’t have a car, or maybe you’re visiting London from overseas and want to visit this iconic place in England!

White Cliffs of Dover from London

white cliffs of dover from London
Keep reading for how to get to the White Cliffs of Dover from London!

A few months later, I knew I had to see the Chalky Seven Sister Cliffs from London which are also amazing!

White Cliffs of Dover Day Trip Options:

1 – White Cliffs of Dover Day Tour from London

If you are a tourist in London and you don’t fancy going from London to the White Cliffs of Dover by train, by car and by yourself, I would recommend going on an organised day tour from London to the White Cliffs of Dover!

Even if you are a local Londoner and feel this way, I would recommend that you go on a day tour like this with a guide!

This way your White Cliffs of Dover from London experience will be easy and stress-free. Not only that but on a White Cliffs of Dover tour like the ones below, but you’ll get to see more of the Kent and Canterbury area in just one day!

2 – Driving to White Cliffs of Dover from London

If you have a car then you can certainly do a White Cliffs of Dover day trip by car and have enough time to explore the cliffs.

It’s roughly a 1 hour 45 minute drive from Central London to Dover via the M2 and A2, or you can go via the M20.

Dover Parking

When you arrive in Dover there are many car parks to park in so you can do the White Cliffs of Dover walk.

If you want to visit Dover Castle then you can park in Dover Castle Car Park.

There are many car parks located near Dover Port and Dover Town Centre which will enable you to walk a bit up the coast to the White Cliffs which is all part of the experience of seeing the White Cliffs – Townwall Street Car Park, Woolcomber Street Car Park, Marine Parade Car Park, St James Retail and Leisure Park.

After you’ve parked up, follow my directions below on how to visit the White Cliffs of Dover on a day trip!

3 – White Cliffs of Dover From London by Train

I decided to travel to the White Cliffs of Dover from London by train as it’s one of the popular day trips from London by train that you can do, so here’s all the information you need to know on how to do a day trip to the White Cliffs of Dover by train!

London to Dover Train

There is a London to Dover fast train that takes 1 hour 5 minutes and there is a slower London to Dover train which takes 2 hours.

Even though the fast train will probably cost a bit more money, I would recommend taking it if you can to save time on your White Cliffs of Dover from London Day Trip!

The trains leave from Kings Cross/St Pancras to Dover Priory Station with South Eastern Railway.

For the cheapest train price, it’s best to book as early in advance as you can and avoid commuting times if you visit during the week!

I booked this ticket and all of my tickets on The Train Line as I find it really useful when comparing train times, journey lengths and prices like this. Have a look into tickets here!

white cliffs of dover from London, Dover Priory Train Station
It’s really easy to go from Dover Priory to the White Cliffs!

London to White Cliffs of Dover by Train

I am going to focus the rest of the post on how to get from London to the White Cliffs of Dover by train as this s what I did and I know many Londoners don’t have a car so the train is the best option, and it’s very accessible to do by train, just wear comfy footwear!

Dover Train Station to the White Cliffs of Dover

Dover Priory Train Station is very close to Dover Town which is why it makes it so easy to visit the White Cliffs of Dover from London by train!

I’d heard mixed things about Dover as a town and I can confirm that it’s nothing 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.

white cliffs of dover from London, Dover High Street
Dover Town is where you’ll pass through first on your White Cliffs of Dover from London day trip!

If you walk all the way to the coast from Dover town you’ll come across a beach known as Marine Parade.

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.

white cliffs of dover from London, Dover Beach
From Dover Town, head to Dover Beach!

From Marine Parade 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 alongside it but it’s quite interesting to see all of the boats and the hustle and bustle beneath you.

white cliffs of dover from London, Dover Cliffs and National Trust sign
Look out for this to the White Cliffs of Dover!
white cliffs of dover from London, view over Dover Port
On your London to White Cliffs of Dover day trip, you’ll have to pass past Dover Port which is huge!

Things To Do in Dover

Dover Castle & War Tunnels

You’ll notice that Dover Castle is to the right of you. I didn’t visit on my trip from London to White Cliffs of Dover 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 along, 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 which are a good idea when it’s busy, have a look here for Dover Castle Tickets!

white cliffs of dover from London, Dover Castle in distance
Add Dover Castle to your list of things to do in Dover!

Cliffs of Dover Walk

What I really loved is that the path splits off quite a lot on this walk, you can walk on the edge of the coast 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 on the same path 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 during your White Cliffs of Dover from London trip but I just carried on walking past the port until I finally started to see those oh so famous White Cliffs!

white cliffs of dover from London, fields along white cliffs
The English Countryside is gorgeous!
white cliffs of dover from London, woman at the white cliffs of dover
If you can do this White Cliffs of Dover from London Trip on a sunny day, I recommend it!

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!

white cliffs of dover from London, boots and the view of white cliffs of dover
What a view to sit down and enjoy!

South Foreland Lighthouse

A good place to walk towards on this London to White Cliffs of Dover day trip 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.

white cliffs of dover from London, the lighthouse cafe at the white cliffs of dover
The Lighthouse is a good place to sit down and have a break!

St Margarets Bay

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 Margaret’s 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 at St Margaret’s Bay called The Coastguard. This seemed really popular and sells your usual British Pub food- Fish and Chips is probably one of their most popular dishes I would think. It’s also Britain’s nearest pub to France apparently!

When I went in the Summer there was also a cafe/shack selling ice cream, drinks, bacon and egg baps etc.

white cliffs of dover from London, St Margarets Bay Beach at the white cliffs of dover
St Margarets Beach is a good place to turn around on this White Cliffs of Dover from London Day Trip I think!

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 with indoor and outdoor seating so I would recommend popping in here for lunch on your White Cliffs of Dover from London trip!

How to get from the White Cliffs of Dover to Dover Town

It was then time to start the walk back to Dover town from St Margarets Bay.

I think St Margarets Bay is the perfect turnaround 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!

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!

white cliffs of dover from London, view of white cliffs of dover

I booked this ticket and all of my tickets on The Train Line as I find it really useful when comparing train times, journey lengths and prices like this. Have a look into tickets here!

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 to see not only the White Cliffs of Dover but more of Kent too!

FAQ About The White Cliffs of Dover

How long does it take to walk the White Cliffs of Dover?

You can walk as far or as little as you like along the coastal path once you are on top of the White Cliffs. The ideal walk is around 3 hours and this will ensure you see a lot of the Cliffs between Dover Castle and St Margarets Bay.

Are the Cliffs of Dover worth seeing?

Yes! They are a really famous place in the UK and a beautiful place in the UK to witness for yourself, especially on a clear and sunny day!

What is the best way to see the White Cliffs of Dover?

Head towards South Foreland Lighthouse and Dover Castle and from here you will see the coastal path that takes you to the edge to see the White Cliffs of Dover.

Can you walk along the White Cliffs of Dover?

Yes! There is a coastal path running along the cliff tops so you can see the White Cliffs ahead of you and behind you.

How do you get to the White Cliffs of Dover?

Head to Dover by car or by train. Once in Dover head towards Dover Port and follow the footpath up the hill and onto the cliff top.


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



Sarah

Wednesday 26th of October 2022

I can confirm that the castle is well worth as visit but be warned, as it was built to be defensive, dominate the town and to have a good view of the Channel and anything coming from France it's on the top of a VERY steep hill.

Locksley

Monday 7th of September 2020

Hi Ellie, I came across your blog when I was researching on Dover. Your blog was super informative. We visited Dover last week (less crowded than usual). We went off the beaten path and loved it! One thing we realised is that there was a much shorter route (for those who want to avoid steps and inclines) right in front of the Visitor center (my BIL had visited last year and mentioned there were maps available in the center) Unfortunately, we didn't go there and did the longer route. We had a couple of excellent spots to click snaps of the Cliffs (Cliffs as well as the small beach, beautiful view) since we took the scenic route. On the way back, we found the shorter route which gave us enough time to grab a coffee and sit on one of the slab seats overlooking the port (peaceful!). And yes, we did walk the waterfront around the pier which was an added bonus on our way back. Keep traveling and writing!

TheWanderingQuinn

Monday 7th of September 2020

Hello, I'm so glad you did the walk recently and enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the advice about the shorter way, I bet it was nice to walk that way back and have time for a coffee like you said. Thank you so much for the info! :)

Jack

Monday 22nd of July 2019

Hello. We are taking a cruise from Dover to Scotland. We need to go from London to Dover to meet our ship which sails at 6pm. We're staying in Kensington so is St. Pancras the best station for us to catch a train? Also, my wife can't walk a lot so what is the best way to take her to see the cliffs? Many thanks!

TheWanderingQuinn

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

Hi Jack, Direct Trains also leave London Victoria station which is closer to you in Kensington. They take 2 hours so I would suggest leaving from there instead of St Pancras as it’s easier to get to :).

Enjoy it!

Sook

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

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?

TheWanderingQuinn

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

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? :)

Craig

Wednesday 10th of April 2019

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.

TheWanderingQuinn

Thursday 11th of April 2019

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 :)