Hiking the White Cliffs of Dover
Last week I looked at the calendar and started to panic. How could I only have one month left living in London??
I thought about it for a second and I have accomplished a lot during my study abroad. So far I have traveled to five countries (plus Scotland and Wales), but I had some regret that I had not traveled that much in England. Way back in January I went to Oxford with my study abroad program, but that feels like SO long ago! It was also pouring and freezing when we went, so I felt like I did not get enough out of the day trip. It was so cold and wet that it was hard just to walk around the town.
I expressed this feeling of regret to one of my friends who shared the same feelings as me. We had also just realized that the Monday after Easter is a bank holiday in the U.K, which means no class! We decided that it was the perfect opportunity to check out a place that I really wanted to see — Dover!
Dover, England is the perfect day trip from London because it is so close and and so beautiful!
I was actually surprised how quick and easy it was! It is only £13 one way to get to Dover from St. Pancras, Victoria, or Charing Cross. I got on the tube to St. Pancras, printed out my ticket, and then hoped on my train and I was there in a little over an hour!
*Side note: When I purchased my ticket online I was a little confused why it was out of St. Pancras and not King's Cross. St. Pancras and King's Cross are basically the same station, but St. Pancras is for international trains and King's Cross is for domestic. But once I got on my train I realized that it carried on to France after it went to Dover!
Once You're There
Since I was there on a bank holiday, not much in the town was open so we did not spend that much time there. I bet it would be a fun place to hang out in the spring and summer! What we wanted to see the most was the White Cliffs and Dover Castle, so we began our walk to those sites. The White Cliffs were about a 40 minute walk from Dover Priory station, with Dover Castle on the way there!
We did not end up going in the castle because entry was £18 for students! Crazy if you ask me. But we did walk up to it on our walk to the cliffs to take some pictures!
The White Cliffs of Dover
Alright, now on to my favorite part!! After visiting the Cliffs of Moher a few weeks before (read all about it here!), I thought I knew what to expect. But, the White Cliffs of Dover are amazing in their own way!
When you get to the visiting center, there is a map that can help you plan out your route. There are options for different lengths of hikes. My friend and I figured that we would probably stick to an hour hike, but we surprised ourselves with what we could do and ended up going for longer!
While hiking the cliffs, there is so much beauty everywhere you turn. Straight ahead of you are the rolling cliffs, grazing ponies, and the calming ocean. I thought it was so cool that you could see France slightly off in the distance! My phone got a little confused, since we were so close, and changed my clock (France is one hour ahead of England)! I was so confused and had thought we were at the cliffs for a lot longer than we were!
When I hiked the Cliffs of Moher they were very muddy and slippery, but nothing compared to the White Cliffs of Dover! We had to be SO careful just to stay upright and left with some pretty muddy shoes and pants. I felt pretty silly walking through London at the end of the day lol. If you plan on visiting soon definitely bring some boots! I would recommend some Bean Boots or even some Hunter's because I got mud all up my legs.
We ended up hiking out to the South Foreland Lighthouse, where we took a little break and had some lunch. It was a beautiful day, so we were able to eat outside on a picnic table and look out to the ocean. There is a cute tea room in the lighthouse where you can purchase sandwiches, drinks, and pastries, but I think it would be really fun to pack your own picnic lunch. I would have definitely done this if I had a kitchen (dorm room probs)!
After our hiking adventure, we took the express train back into St. Pancras and it only took an hour! I was so tired after all of the walking we did, 27, 789 steps to be exact, so it was nice that we were able to get back to London so fast!
Dover was the perfect day trip from London because you can get there so quickly and it is a breath of fresh air from city life!
Thanks for reading!