London Day Trip - White Cliffs of Dover

19:00 Alyson Tart 1 Comments

One of the amazing things about London and the UK is the ease of transit - without a car. I have never been a big fan of driving (especially after commuting 45 minutes each way, every day for 2 years) and love the fact that I rarely ever get in a car here. Besides the fabulous tube and buses, it is so easy to get outside of London with the train system.

This weekend we used it to our full advantage to take a day trip out to Dover. On the fast train, we made it to the coast in just over an hour, which gave us most of the day to take in the sights.

So, what are the sights of Dover? The main attraction are the White Cliffs, which was the only thing I knew about., so that's where we started. We took a boat around the marina to get a good look at the cliffs, the castle on top of the hill and the city around it.  The weather was in our favor and was beautiful, meaning we could just make out the coast of France 21 miles away.

White Cliffs of Dover - you can just make out the castle up top

After our view from the sea, our tour took us to the view by land. We followed a well trodden path to get some more great views of the cliffs. We could have spent all day wandering those paths, but with just a day, and light fading early still, we made our way back to the bus and over to Dover Castle.

It was a bit windy up there!

Dover Castle has to be one of the best protected castles I have ever seen. First off, it's in a great location - cliffs with a straight drop behind you, giant hill up in front of you. Add in the moat, and you've got yourself a pretty sure place to live. In addition to the usual, slightly cheesy, castle stuff, this castle has more history to it.

One of the things you can do at the castle are tours of the war tunnels. During WWII, thousands of allied soldiers were cornered by the Germans into Dunkerque in France. Dover, and the castle played an important part in Operation Dynamo, the rescue of these soldiers. In the end, 335,000 soldiers were rescued by boat and brought back across the English Channel to the tunnels in the cliffs of the Dover Castle. The tunnels now are filled with lots of multi-media exhibits explaining the history of the war and how the tunnels came to be of use.

View of the castle from the moat

After exhausting ourselves culturally, we (naturally) hit up the pub. We chose the White Horse Pub because of its local history. Each year, people start their trekk to swim across the English Channel in Dover. At the end of the swim (whether that's a 6.5 hr record time, or 24 hr swim), the victorious return to this pub to document their triumph on the wall. The walls are covered with hundreds of names and stories of those who made their way across the English Channel in the freezing cold water. Besides the ambiance, the food was delicious, the owner so friendly and we loved our seat right next to the fire.

One of the many signatures of a successful swimmer - can
you imagine swimming for 24 hours?!

We wrapped up the evening with some seafood and wine, and good times with friends. Back to the train station for our return train.

There and back in less than 12 hours, making it the perfect day trip from London.

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