White Cliffs of Dover

See the historic and legendary gateway to England that defended the country in wartime. Today the cliffs greet home-comers arriving at the busy Dover port.

The dramatic and distinctive White Cliffs of Dover are a symbol of national pride for the English. Wander atop the immense white chalk cliffs to experience this historic and beautiful area at your own pace.

A walking track extends from the east side of Dover over the grassy cliff tops to South Foreland Lighthouse. The walk offers beautiful views of the dramatic landscape and the English Channel. Spot some of the birds, butterflies and wildflowers, including the unique pyramidal orchid, which can be found throughout the chalk grasslands. Visit the pebbly beaches of Langdon Bay and Crab Bay below and get a closer look at the soft white chalk flecked with flint and quartz. Descending the cliff face on steep stairways is not for the faint of heart. Visitors are instructed to keep well away from the cliff edge since some parts occasionally crumble into the sea.

The landscape is made even more dramatic by the area’s wartime history. The cliffs were a vital point of defense in both world wars. Still visible along the coast are the slit trenches dug by soldiers in the 1940s. Check the signposts along the way to the lighthouse and learn about the history and significance of the area.

Finish your cliff-top stroll at the South Foreland Lighthouse café. Relax with a pot of tea and a plate of fresh fruit scones with jam and cream. This walk is best enjoyed on a sunny, warm day, since winds on the cliffs can be quite strong and cold.

The White Cliffs walking trail spans approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) from the Dover town center to the lighthouse. For a shorter stroll, start your walk at the National Trust White Cliffs of Dover visitor center, located 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from the lighthouse. Bring a bottle of water and some snacks to enjoy while you take in the breathtaking view that stretches across the sea to the French coastline on a clear day.

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