Dover is a coastal town in southern England and a major ferry port. Situated across the English Channel from Calais in France, the city is rich in history and makes for a perfect day trip from London.
One of the most notable and iconic sights of Dover is the famous white cliffs, and perched on top is one of the largest castles in the country. Visitors will also find within those soft chalk cliffs military tunnels that date back to the Napoleonic Wars.
So if you only have a day free, here are some of the best things to do for a perfect day trip to Dover.
The first stop during your one day in Dover should be Dover Castle. This medieval castle was built to be used as a fortification during the 11th century. Since the castle is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm, you will want to head here before the famous Cliffs. Dover Castle is usually open Wednesday through Sunday, and you can book your ticket online in advance up to 8:45am on the day you want to visit.
Dover Castle was known as “the key to England,” according to the website, and played a critical role in the country’s defense for more than nine centuries. From the castle’s terrace you can get an amazing view of Dover. In addition to taking a tour of Dover Castle, you can explore the Secret Wartime Tunnels. Plan for at least three hours for the castle, tunnels, and the grounds.
Secret Wartime Tunnels
The Secret Wartime Tunnels are included in admission to Dover Castle. Dug during Medieval time, these tunnels were used by the British armed forces during World War II as they are well protected with being so far underground and underneath the castle. These tunnels provided shelter, makeshift hospital rooms, and offices. Two guided tours are offered for the Secret Wartime Tunnels: the Underground Hospital Tour and the longer Operation Dynamo tour.
White Cliffs of Dover
AAfter visiting Dover Castle and the Wartime Tunnels, spend the afternoon admiring the breathtaking views of the Langdon Cliffs, also known as the famous “White Cliffs of Dover.” This is one thing you can’t miss during a day trip to Dover. Unless you’re driving to Dover, the easiest way to get to the cliffs is by taxi. If you walk the paths during early evening, you’ll be able to watch the gorgeous sunset on your way back. The Langdon Cliffs also offer a great viewpoint of the English Channel.
Dover White Cliffs Walks
There are several different walks you can take on top of Dover’s famous White Cliffs. One of the most highly recommended walks on The White Cliffs will take you from the Gateway Visitor Center to the South Foreland Lighthouse, boasting beautiful views of the sea.
Opened in 1836, the Dover Museum houses a significant collection of local archeological artifacts and is a great stop during a day trip to Dover to learn about the town’s history. The ground floor features archeological exhibits dating back to the prehistoric era, while the second floor displays local artwork and artifacts representing Dover’s history.
Dover Sea Safari
If you want to see the famous “White Cliffs” from a different perspective, hop on one of the Dover Sea Safari tours. Head out one a catamaran or speed boat for a memorable trip past the cliffs, piers, seaside houses, and more. Dover Sea Safari offers other tours besides the White Cliffs as well.
How to Get From London to Dover
Taking a day trip to Dover from London is easy to do. Trains leave from St. Pancras, Victoria, and Charing Cross Station, and take around one to two hours. Dover Castle is around one mile from the train station and it’s an uphill walk, so it may be best to takeTaking a day trip to Dover from London is easy to do. Trains leave from St. Pancras, Victoria, and Charing Cross Station, and take around one to two hours. Dover Castle is around one mile from the train station and it’s an uphill walk, so it may be best to take a taxi.