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Day trip to Dover

Dover is a great idea for a day trip out of London if you’re looking to escape the busyness of the city 🙂 It’s a quiet town about an hour and a half train ride or drive away from London. The town has a major ferry port, an awesome castle, the famous white cliffs and faces France across the strait of Dover (the narrowest part of the English Channel). I admit I was allured by a pic of the cliffs that I stumbled upon online a while back and was never able to get off my mind. The White Cliffs Of Dover stretch along the coastline for 13 kms, spreading east and west from Dover, they reach up to 110 meters and owe their white appearance to chalk.

We were on a short trip to London and had planned a nice relaxing Sunday out in Dover. Our plans got changed by rail-works, as we had to get off the train at some point and continue by bus. All was well organised by the rail company, but it took us longer to get to Dover. It didn’t help that we also left the hostel later than planned 😛

So, by the time we finally got to the Dover Priory Station, we had to hurry to the castle since there wasn’t much time left before closing time. On our way there through the city streets, a sign caught our eyes. A restaurant boasted that on Sundays they served the full English breakfast all day long! We hadn’t had an English breakfast yet since landing, so this seemed like a good plan!

We finally got to the castle about an hour before closing time, which means we didn’t get to explore it properly, but we did get to see a pretty nice sunset from the castle 🙂

entrance to Dover Castle

Dover Castle is a medieval castle founded in the 11th century that has been described as the “Key to England” due to its defensive significance throughout history. The site is said to have been fortified with earthworks in the Iron Age or earlier. A roman lighthouse was later added to the site and still stands today. After that, a Saxon fort was built around the church of St Mary de Castro. And with lots of repairs and improvements over time it got to the present form. It seems it now is the largest castle in England. There is also a complex set of tunnels, first used as barracks, then air-raid shelter and then later turned into a military command center and an underground hospital. So there are loads to see when visiting it 🙂

We only took a short and fast tour of the grounds and some pics 🙂 There were also some exhibitions and I think also some interactive visits, but we didn’t have time for them 🙁 Make sure to plan at least a couple of hours for the castle is you plan on seeing everything.

view from the Dover Castle

After they closed the castle, we set google maps to take us to the cliffs and followed the suggested route. It did seem to have a certain point marked as the main White-Cliffs-Main-Viewing-Point-Thing and that’s what we decide to head to.

By this time it was starting to get darker and we started thinking of the flashlights that we had of course left at home… And we went on.

sunset over Dover

sunset over Dover as seen from the Castle

First we found the visitors center which was by then obviously closed. We did find a map next to it which showed some marked trails to the cliffs, but we didn’t really manage to figure out which were which. The cliff visiting area is a rather large one, with a few view points for the cliffs. It seemed like a great place to explore during day time.

During night-time, on the other hand … and with only our mobile phones as a light source, it was a bit more trickier. But we were able to follow one of the paths guided by both google maps and the moonlight 🙂

There seemed to be more lights on the other side of the channel, in France. So at least we got to admire some great views 😀

At some point, trying to check if we were getting closer to the cliffs or able to see what was bellow us, I managed to get unsafely close to the edge 😐

White Cliffs of Dover

first attempt of night pic with the cliffs

After a long while, we found a view of the cliffs, but, since the google maps White-Cliffs-Main-Viewing-Point-Thing seemed to be a bit farther away, we went on hoping to find an ever better view from there. Around a quarter of an hour later, when google maps showed we had reached the place, we were in a very uninteresting spot. I’m not sure what that pin was trying to point to, as we were able to see absolutely nothing of the cliffs from that point.

The trail continued farther ahead towards a lighthouse, but we decided to stop exploring as it was getting late and cold … and, as most of the time in the UK, it seemed it was maybe thinking of starting to rain.

We quickly returned to the first cliff viewing spot where we took eerie pics 😛

eerie pic

And also managed to take a great pic of the cliffs.

the awesome White Cliffs of Dover

And then we got back to town and retraced our steps to find the diner we spotted earlier! Where we ate the delicious full English breakfast for dinner (brinner?) 😀 Unfortunately I forgot how the place was called, but it was on the way to the castle from the train station 🙂

When did you last explore a site under the moonlight?

Useful info:

Center map
Get Directions

trip date: November 2016



  1. Eva · March 4, 2017 Reply

    Dover looks lovely, nice place to visit.

  2. Hannah · March 5, 2017 Reply

    Sounds like a perfect day trip! London is often the cheapest place for me to fly to so it’s great to get some ideas for things to see out of the city since I’ve been a few times now.

    • Irina · March 5, 2017 Reply

      Cool! I’ve also taken short trips to Bath, Windsor and Stonehenge close to London 🙂 Working on the articles for the blog now 🙂

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