Begin with visit to Gateway to White Cliffs Visitor Center that introduces cliffs & surrounding coast & countryside with interpretation panels & information. Next, walk across down-land towards South Foreland Lighthouse for visit. Best view, which is worth 73-step climb, is from balcony of lighthouse & gives 360-degree pano of East Kent, English Channel & North Sea. Return to visitor center enjoying views of White Cliffs along downward pathway. Note: Tour involves strenuous 4-mile hike/walk (approx 2.5 hrs) over uneven, varying terrain with 75+ steps at lighthouse. Tour not recommended for walkers or wheelchairs. See full description for important & complete notes.
The famous White Cliffs of Dover stand guard at the Gateway to England where millions pass each year on their journey to or from the Continent. In some places over 300 feet high, the White Cliffs are a symbol of the nation’s strength against enemies and a reassuring sight to returning travellers; they have been immortalised in song, in literature and in art. Enjoy a walk along the cliffs that will take you for a visit at the South Foreland and then to the White Cliffs visitor centre with plenty photo opportunities.
~ White Cliffs of Dover
~ the South Foreland Lighthouse
~ White Cliffs visitor centre
The famous White Cliffs of Dover stand guard at the Gateway to England where millions pass each year on their journey to or from the Continent. In some places over 300 feet high, the White Cliffs are a symbol of the nation’s strength against enemies and a reassuring sight to returning travellers; they have been immortalised in song, in literature and in art.
Made up of millions of small sea creatures and coral from the bottom of an ancient tropical ocean the chalk is porous, soft and easily worn by the action of the waves and the cliffs are continuously eroding. Much of the chalk down-land along the cliff tops is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and part of the Heritage Coast with interesting and rare flora and fauna.
Our walk will take us across the down-land towards the South Foreland Lighthouse which we visit. Whilst the White Cliffs of Dover offer a beautiful and inspiring sight from the land, by sea they are a perilous affair. At first beacons were lit along the cliff top to warn mariners away from the cliffs and the treacherous Goodwin Sands. The Romans replaced these with lighthouses to guide sailors into port. Today a striking landmark on the White Cliffs of Dover, this historic Victorian building was part of the national system of light signals operated by Trinity House to guide shipping. It was also the site of Faraday’s work in pioneering the use of electricity in lighthouses, and was the first to display an electricity powered signal. South Foreland was also used by Marconi for his successful wireless telegraphy experiments in 1898.
The best view, which is well worth the 73 step climb, is from the balcony of the lighthouse and gives a 365 degree panorama of East Kent, the English Channel and the North Sea.
We then stop at the White Cliffs visitor centre which offers us information on the internationally famous cliffs and surrounding coast and countryside with interpretation panels and general information. The best landside views of the White Cliffs are obtained by walking along the down-land path which strike out in a easterly direction from a point above Dover Harbour. Here as we set off there are splendid views of Dover Castle reminding us that the east cliff with its commanding view over the English Channel is a position of natural strength and has been the site of fortification since the Iron Age. On a clear day you can see right across from the Dover cliffs to the cliffs on the French coast at Cap Gris Nez, proof of the continuous strata of chalk.
What to Bring:
~ Cash for shopping (most local shops accept British Sterling, some accept major credit cards).
What to Wear:
~ Warm, layered clothing and flat, comfortable shoes.
~ Raingear in case of inclement weather.
The walk covers approximately four miles across uneven and undulating ground. Please wear suitable footwear and clothing for the prevailing conditions. It is anticipated the outward walk will take approximately one and a half hours with stops for photographs, one hour will be spent at the lighthouse, and then the return walk of approximately one hour.