The stunning white cliffs of Dover are one of the country’s most spectacular natural features. They are one of the official icons of Britain and offer a perfect day trip from London.
Dover is a port town along the English coastline. The white cliffs tower 350 feet above the English Channel below. They are found at the point where Great Britain is closest to continental Europe and on a clear day you can see the French coast.
The cliffs have been symbolic in Britain’s history including in both world wars. It is one of the first or the last views for people coming into or leaving the country.
The cliffs are soft, white chalk from a very pure form of limestone and geologically very rare. The area is an area of Special Scientific Interest and also a Special Area of Conservation. The chalk cliffs of Normandy in France are part of the same geological system.
Getting There: We drove to Dover from London. The drive was quite easy and took us just under 2 hours. Be aware that the route may have toll charges depending on what route you take. There is a big car park near the entrance of the cliffs. Parking for a car costs £4.00 for the day.
You can also get a train from Kings Cross, Victoria or Charing Cross to the nearest station which is Dover Priory. It is quite a long walk to the cliffs through the town centre. You can also get a bus or taxi from the station to the cliffs. You can also get a National Express coach from Victoria Coach Station into Dover town centre.
Things to do and see: How much you can see and do really depends on the weather or season when you are visiting. Ideally it would be best to visit the cliffs during the summer months for the weather. However during the summer it can be quite busy. We actually visited in winter and although it was very windy and cold we wrapped up warm and explored the cliffs in peace.
The white cliffs are one of the best places for walking in England. There are different paths and walks along the cliff depending on your ability and how much you want to walk. There is even a wheelchair friendly path that leads to a great view point.
There are lots of amazing view points along the paths that provide far-reaching, stunning views of the cliffs, port and English Channel below. The changing views depend on the weather when you are visiting. On a clear, sunny day you can even see the coast of France.
There are also steps that lead down to the beach and two wreck sites at the base of the cliffs including a ship wreck site.
You can go on walking guided tours of the cliffs. You can also explore inside the cliffs including inside Fan Bay Deep Shelter, a tunnel complex within the chalk used in World War Two.
The National Trust took charge of the cliffs in 2016 and have worked hard to ensure the area is restored and protected. They also manage the visitor centre which offers information, maps, refreshments, and a shop selling gifts and souvenirs. If you need special assistance, the visitor centre can also help you accommodate your needs.
The cliffs provide a habitat for an array of different plants and animals including butterflies, falcons and skylarks.
Different events take place throughout the year including an annual walking festival in August.
This coastline has moved visitors for years and has even inspired a song and one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
South Foreland lighthouse can also be found along the cliffs. The light house is a Victorian-era lighthouse and has a really cosy tea room within it.
Walking along the trails provides great views of the port of Dover. Dover port is one of the world’s busiest passenger ports and you can sit and watch the constant hustle and bustle of the port.
In this post I am just focusing on the White Cliffs of Dover as we only visited for a few hours but if you are looking to stay for longer or overnight there are lots of hotels in the main town area. There is lots more to see and explore near by including Dover Castle and Dover Museum. There are also lots of other great places near by that you can visit including Folkstone or Canterbury.
Food: Along the cliffs we found two places where you can stop for some food. The first being the National Trust Visitor Centre where they have a lovely cosy little cafe where you can get some warm food, drinks and snacks. We went into the visitor centre and ate there. It was the perfect escape from the cold outside and very close to the car park so easy to access.
There is also the tea room in the South Foreland Lighthouse. I would recommend checking out the timings before going though as they vary depending on the season. You can also take a picnic with you as there are loads of places to sit and enjoy the view. If you drive down to the town then there are lots more options of places to eat from.
Prayer/Masjid: As always with natural open places you can pray anywhere. We found a quite place along the cliff side to just stop and pray Alhamdullilah. The feeling of praying outdoors with the ground under you, the wind rustling past and the waves crashing below you is incredible Subhanallah.
Final Thoughts: I would highly recommend visiting the White Cliffs of Dover, especially if are you living in London and looking for a quick yet incredible day trip away. The cliffs offer stunning views that you can explore and watch for hours. I would recommend checking opening timings for the different places including the car park and visitor centre. For more up to date information (including opening times and events) check out their official website -https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-white-cliffs-of-dover