Walking on The White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover are perhaps most famous as an iconic landmark, the white chalk face a symbol of home and war time defence, but they have so much more to offer; stunning views, a serene walk, a wealth of wildlife, an abundance of history and, most importantly, two tea rooms offering delicious treats.

Ever changing views

The views from the White Cliffs of Dover are perpetually changing. When it is gloriously sunny and the sea is calm and smooth as glass you can wander across the cliffs and take in the breath-taking views across the channel, on the clearest of days you may even be able to see the buildings in France.

On a winter’s day make sure you wrap up warm and with rosy cheeks experience the peaceful tranquillity of a hazy cliff top walk. Even when the weather takes a turn for the worse and it pours with rain the view from the Visitor Centre is striking. Watch as the waves crash over the sea wall and the ferries heave in the violence of a storm.

Bon voyage
A ferry crossing the channel seen from the White Cliffs of Dover

A little walk

We have a wheelchair friendly footpath that leads to a viewing point, ideal if you just want a short walk to see the iconic cliffs. This all weather path is built with a staggered incline, allowing a few breathers on the way up and is ideal if the weather is bad. At the top is one of the best views of the cliffs with the rolling green hilltops and sheer chalk edge, dropping to the sea below.

Wildlife

The rare chalk grassland along the cliffs is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, and such a wealth of wildflowers can’t help but attract both butterflies and bird life alike. Pick up one of our identification cards and see what you can spot on your walk or visit our wildlife page for more information.

One of the many butterflies found on the cliffs
A butterfly on a purple flower

To help with our conservation work and stop the growth of scrub we use, perhaps the most popular cliff top residents, our herd of Exmoor ponies to manage the grassland. The ponies munch their way through the grass encouraging the chalk grassland plants that make this place so special.

A touch of history

Although the cliffs are well known for their views and famous chalk face, they hold a surprising abundance of history; you just have to know where to look.

A rusting hulk in Langdon Bay
A view of the Falcon in Langdon Bay

For example two wrecks can be seen at the base of the cliffs. The first is visible from the first viewpoint on the beach in Langdon Hole and is all that remains of the iron-screw steamer The SS Falcon, owned by the General Steam Navigation Company. This vessel was carrying a cargo of hemp and matches which unsurprisingly caught fire and ran her aground in 1926. You can still see the thick steel hull and ribs today.

The other wreck that can seen whilst walking across the cliffs, this one just off the shores of Fan Bay, is the Preuβen. This German trade vessel was the largest five-mast, full-rigged ship ever built and wrecked on the 7th November 1910 due to a miscalculation in speed, causing it to collide with R.M.S Brighton.

Things to do

Here at The White Cliffs of Dover we are able to offer not only a wonderful walk with breath taking views, but also guided tours around two historical places.

The first place that you come to, only a mile and a half from the Visitor Centre is Fan Bay Deep Shelter. After an extraordinary volunteer effort we opened the Second World War tunnel complex and two First World War Sound Mirrors in 2015 and now take you on a fantastic hard hat head torch lit adventure.

The second special place to be reached on the cliff walk is South Foreland Lighthouse. This Victorian marvel is a Tardis that has witnessed an incredible amount of history, science and innovation. The infamous Mrs Knott’s tea room offers delicious treats and with kite flying and games the lighthouse also holds fun for all the family.