Home U.KEngland How To Visit The White Cliffs of Dover From London On A Day Trip!

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

by TheWanderingQuinn

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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 from London had been on my bucket list for over a year before after moving to London. When I spotted a nice sunny weekend in my weather app I decided this weekend would be the time I finally went so here’s my White Cliffs of Dover Travel Blog on how to go from London to the Cliffs of Dover on a day trip!

White Cliffs of Dover from London

White Cliffs of Dover from London
Keep reading for all the information on how to travel to the White Cliffs of Dover from London!

White Cliffs of Dover Tours 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 and by yourself, or even if you are a local Londoner and feel this way, I would recommend that you go on an organised trip with a guide like this!

This way your White Cliffs of Dover from London experience will be easy and stressfree and not only that 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!


London to Dover 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 how to do a day trip to the White Cliffs of Dover by 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:

How to Walk from 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 Town
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, Sign
Look out for this to the White Cliffs of Dover!
White Cliffs of Dover from London, 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
Add Dover Castle onto your list of things to do in Dover!

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, Walking Trails
The English Countryside is gorgeous!
White Cliffs of Dover from London, Ellie Quinn on cliffs
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!

South Foreland Lighthouse

A good place to walk to 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, Lighthouse
The Lighthouse is a good place to sit down and have a break!
White Cliffs of Dover from London, Mrs Knotts Cafe
if you want a true English tea room experience then this is the place to visit!

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 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 at St Margarets 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 Britains 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
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 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!

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 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!

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Have a look on Booking.com here to see what accommodation you can book for a discounted price for this trip and any other trips you plan to take until January next year!

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



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23 comments

Rachel 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 🙂

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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 😀

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TheWanderingQuinn 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 🙂

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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!!

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TheWanderingQuinn 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! 🙂

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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?

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TheWanderingQuinn 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 🙂

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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!

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TheWanderingQuinn 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 🙂

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Kitzia June 13, 2018 - 10:36 pm

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

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TheWanderingQuinn 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 🙂

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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!

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TheWanderingQuinn 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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Barbara April 6, 2019 - 5:17 pm

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

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TheWanderingQuinn April 6, 2019 - 11:28 pm

You should, it would be a great way to spend your last day. Especially if you’re there already! Canterbury is a great idea too! 🙂

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Craig April 10, 2019 - 5:01 pm

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.

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TheWanderingQuinn April 11, 2019 - 2:40 am

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 🙂

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Sook April 23, 2019 - 10:48 am

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?

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TheWanderingQuinn April 23, 2019 - 11:56 am

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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Jack July 22, 2019 - 11:20 pm

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!

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TheWanderingQuinn July 23, 2019 - 7:32 am

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!

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Locksley September 7, 2020 - 10:15 am

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!

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TheWanderingQuinn September 7, 2020 - 5:26 pm

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! 🙂

Reply

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