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White Cliffs of Dover Walk: All You Need to Know

White Cliffs of Dover Walk: All You Need to Know

The Basics

As always, we bring you the basics at the start of this article to allow you a brief overall insight to the White Cliffs of Dover walk. For more details, please read on…

Length: 3-5 km

Route: Linear

Difficulty: Moderate – Hard

Starting Point: National Trust Visitor Centre – White Cliffs of Dover

Parking: Yes

Costs: Car Parking

Top Sights: The White Cliffs!

Snack Stops: Yes

More Useful Info

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Why Walk the White Cliffs of Dover?

One of the UK’s most famous icons, walking the White Cliffs of Dover is a bucket list must that many people want to tick off their trail tallies!

Of course doing so will also allow you to see these cliffs at close range and also enjoy stunning views across the tiny gap of the Channel to France.

You’ll also get a good dose of sea air and a lovely undulating walk along the top of these white chalk giants that makes for a great afternoon stride out.

If you’re already in Dover (or other nearby parts of Kent), the White Cliffs of Dover make a great accompaniment to some of the castle and town sightseeing you’re likely to be doing here.

And finally, the White Cliffs of Dover walk is also an easy day trip from London, so if you’re looking to tick an iconic English trail off your list whilst also getting out of the city, this could be a great option.

How Long is the White Cliffs of Dover Walk?

The end of the White Cliffs of Dover walk is not super clear-cut.

Technically you’re on the English coastal path here, so theoretically you could walk right round the country if you carried on going!

However most people don’t make it this far and either walk to South Foreland Lighthouse or on slightly further to St Margaret’s Bay, before turning back and retracing steps along to the car park.

If you head to the Lighthouse then you’re looking at about 3km one way (6km return to the car park and back).

If you head to Margaret’s Bay, then the route is about 5km one way (10km return to the car park and back).

If you want to push it even further, then carrying on all the way to Deal (a lovely, historic town in Kent) then it’s about 14km on way.

Difficulty Rating

Being managed by the National Trust, the White Cliffs of Dover walk is well-signed and the path is well-maintained, which makes it very possible to enjoy this trail without a map and having to keep looking at your phone.

However, as this is clifftop walking, it’s definitely worth pointing there’s some steep sections.

Although we wouldn’t rate these as tough, there aren’t suitable for those with mobility issues or small children.

For people for are wheelchairs users or might have kids in pushchairs, then it’s good to know the National Trust have constructed an easy access short path to a lookout over the sea and the cliffs – this is a key way that all can enjoy the scenery.

Where Does this Walk Start and End?

The White Cliffs of Dover Walk unsurprisingly starts at the White Cliffs of Dover!

The cliffs are set slightly out of the town of Dover, beyond the busy harbour here.

You can learn more about how to get to the start of the cliffs from Dover Station and town later in this article, so for now, the key point of info is that the walk starts from a National Trust – White Cliffs of Dover Visitor Centre.

Here you’ll find car parking and a café.

Because the White Cliffs of Dover walk is linear, you’ll also end back at the car park, unless someone picks you up at the other end.

This means leaving your car makes sense for most people, especially those who are National Trust members, because they get free parking!

Otherwise for those aren’t members, you can either sign up to become one when you arrive here (and get free parking included in your immediate membership) or you can pay the costs for your one-off stay at the parking meters onsite.


Aside from car parking and any money you might spend on food or drinks along the way, the White Cliffs of Dover are free to walk – there’s no entrance fee.

Things to See Along the Way

Well mostly the cliffs to be honest! Which is no bad thing as they are very impressive in all their white glory, which contrasts boldly against the sea and the sky!

Also the views across to France are magnificent from the cliffs – the distance between the 2 countries is at its shortest here and on a clear day you can make out some buildings on France.

There’s also plenty of lovely chalky grassland to walk across here at the White Cliffs and a great many, insects, birds and butterflies to spot.

Of course the South Foreland Lighthouse is worth a look and, if you head that far, St Margaret’s Bay is a lovely quaint coastal village to wander too.

Finally in Dover, don’t miss the Fan Deep Shelter or Dover Castle if you’re looking to enjoy more of the area before or after the White Cliffs Walk.

Food and Drink Stops

Mrs Knott’s tea room, which is located at the South Foreland Lighthouse makes for a great pitstop.

Otherwise there’s a National Trust café in the car park at the start of the walk where you can grab a coffee to fuel you up and use the bathrooms.

Beyond these 2 options, there’s a couple of lovely café in St Margaret’s at Cliffe and a fab pub at St Margaret’s Bay called the Coastguard – highly recommended if you’re making this the halfway point, or the end of your walk.

Possible Dangers

No surprise that the cliff edge is the greatest danger here.

Please watch your step, especially in windy conditions.

How to Get to White Cliffs of Dover

By Train

Regular trains arrive at Dover Priory, with the most popular route being from London St Pancras – part of a highspeed service.

In order to get the best prices, I always recommend booking your train tickets at least a few days in advance, preferably a bit more, and using the excellent website Trainline. 

By Bus

Otherwise, you can get also get a coach to Dover from London.

Regular National Express coaches ply the route between the capital and Dover Priory and can also be booked using Trainline – making it really easy to compare coach and rail fares as well as journey times.

In general, coaches are much cheaper – some journeys as low as £5 – but they do take longer at around 3 to 3.5hrs.

If you’re heading to Dover for a day trip, this may not be the best option for you, but if you have longer it could work.

From Dover Priory to the White Cliffs

If you don’t have your own car, it’s best to get a taxi to take you the 10 minute drive from Dover Priory to the National Trust White Cliffs Car Park – sadly there are no buses plying this route.

There is a taxi rank outside the train station, but Uber is probably your best bet!

Alternatively, you can walk to the White Cliffs of Dover National Trust car park from Dover Priory – it takes around half an hour, but is all uphill!

By Car

Alternatively, you can easily drive to Dover too, via the M20 and Maidstone, which takes around under 2 hours from London.

If you’re looking to rent a vehicle in the UK, I recommend Thrifty Car Hire as they offer some great rates and are highly reputable.

With a car you can also drive right to the White Cliffs of Dover car park, which is owned by the National Trust.

Recommended Gear for this Walk

  • Windproof & waterproof jacket
  • Good hiking boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Hiking trousers / leggings
  • Sun or warm hat – depending on the season!
  • Camera
  • Day pack to carry water, snacks and camera!

Where to Stay in Dover

  • Castle House Guesthouse
  • Best Western Plus Dover Marina Hotel & Spa
  • Hubert House

More Walking Ideas Near the White Cliffs of Dover?

  • Dover to Deal
  • Oyster Bay Trail
  • Crab & Winkle Way

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