Visiting the White Cliffs of Dover

Visiting the White Cliffs of Dover

It’s not each day you get to see one thing that’s stunning in nature and on the identical time has turn out to be so historic and iconic for the nation you’re visiting.

Such is the case although for the White Cliffs of Dover England, UK.

And in case you are as fortunate as we have been, your go to shall be on a sunny, clear day the place it is possible for you to to see the fabulous surrounding surroundings and sights that make this place so particular.

Let me share with you the important thing issues you must see, expertise, and admire in case you are planning a visit to incorporate this a part of the British Isles.


The place are the White Cliffs of Dover?

The White Cliffs of Dover Map

The cliffs are located on either side of the port city of Dover stretching a complete of 13 kms (8 mi) throughout the county of Kent within the southeast of England.

Rising to a top of 110 meters (350 ft) above the English shoreline, the White Cliffs of Dover face the Strait of Dover. The Strait of Dover is the narrowest a part of the English Channel which separates the UK from the European continent by some 33 km (20 mi). On a transparent day, the cliffs may be simply seen with the bare eye from the French shoreline.

Getting there’s very straightforward with public transport from throughout the UK or by way of ferry from Calais, France. There are additionally day excursions accessible from London to go to the cliffs and sights on this area.


What makes the Dover Cliffs White?

Visitor sign for the White Cliffs of Dover
Customer signal for the White Cliffs of Dover. Picture: James Visser.

Consider it or not, the cliff face right here is fabricated from chalk!

As defined by the Nationwide Belief web site:

“The cliffs are constituted of chalk, a smooth white, very finely grained pure limestone, and are generally 300-400m deep. The chalk layers constructed up step by step over thousands and thousands of years.

They’re fashioned from the skeletal stays of minute planktonic inexperienced algae that lived floating within the higher ranges of the ocean. When the algae died, their stays sank to the underside of the ocean and mixed with the stays of different creatures to kind the chalk that shapes the cliffs immediately.

Over thousands and thousands of years, the seabed turned uncovered and is now above sea degree. The ensuing fringe of chalk is the long-lasting White Cliffs of Dover.”


Why are these cliffs thought-about so iconic?

White Cliffs of Dover hiking scenes
Mountain climbing alongside the Dover coast is stuffed with picturesque locations to see the cliffs. Picture: James Visser.

Dover has been a gateway from Europe to the UK for such a very long time, with boats ferrying folks throughout the shortest a part of the English Channel from Calais, France. The sight of the White Cliffs as you method Dover may be likened to seeing the Statue of Liberty when arriving within the port metropolis of New York. The cliffs have traditionally come to represent entry to the UK by boat.

Dover’s white cliffs have been delivered to nationwide prominence in latest historical past throughout World Conflict II when France was occupied by the Nazis and the Battle of Britain started. Hitler and his generals visited Calais and seen Dover throughout the English Channel, whereas the English have been very conscious of how shut the enemy at the moment was and that invasion was felt to be imminent.

The concern of this case was felt most at this closest level to occupied Europe and the White Cliffs of Dover turned a logo for the security of the island fortress for the Allied pilots of the day.


Vera Lynn the white cliffs of Dover

Throughout World Conflict II (in 1941), the tune White Cliffs of Dover was launched and have become some of the standard in the course of the battle.

Sung by Vera Lynn, Lyrics to the White Cliffs of Dover tune are:

There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow, simply you wait and see.
There’ll be love and laughter and peace ever after
Tomorrow, when the world is free.
The shepherd will have a tendency his sheep, the valley will bloom once more,
And Johnny will fall asleep in his personal little room once more.

This was a very iconic tune of the time (as was the tune “We’ll Meet Once more…”), and I discovered this tune printed on YouTube (with nicely over 1.8M views!) which you’ll be able to see beneath:



Movie Poster of the White Cliffs of Dover
Film Poster of the White Cliffs of Dover. MGM 1944.

The White Cliffs of Dover film

There was additionally a film produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1944. The drama/romance was impressed by the poem The White Cliffs by Alice Duer Miller.

Shot in Black & White and working for simply over 2 hours the film tells the story of an American girl with a British husband combating to maintain her household collectively by way of two world wars.

I haven’t seen the film however could watch it in the future if I get the chance simply out of curiosity.



Different important mentions in historical past

The earliest recognized recordings of the White Cliffs of Dover go all the best way again to the 12 months 52BC when Julius Ceasar arrived close to Dover with two legions of troopers, on the lookout for an appropriate touchdown spot for a Roman invasion.

William Shakespeare additionally made point out of the cliffs inside his play King Lear.

Whoever has come throughout these cliffs have undoubtedly have been impressed by the sight.


Arriving from Europe immediately

Ferries in the port of Dover
Ferries offering providers to/from France from the port of Dover. Picture: James Visser.

Thousands and thousands of individuals arrive within the UK annually by way of the port of Dover and so they all have an exquisite view of the magnificence of the cliffs. Trying down from the cliffs you’ll be able to simply look out to the Dover strait and watch the coming and departing ferries to/from Calais, France.

It was additionally attention-grabbing to learn Lonely Planet’s information to England the place it talks concerning the spectacular white cliffs within the Dover area of Kent. Nonetheless, it additionally describes Dover’s ‘derelict postwar structure and tacky city centre as a tragic introduction to England’

Whereas I can’t say that I spent any actual time within the city of Dover, I’d not have described it that means. Somewhat as a customer, I attempt to admire the historical past, magnificence, and character of a spot with a ‘glass half full’ perspective. From what I briefly noticed, the city regarded nice sufficient and greater than nice to seize provides to move towards the principle sights close by.


Our expertise visiting the White Cliffs of Dover

Hiking along the cliffs among wildflowers, looking out to the Dover Strait
Mountain climbing alongside the cliffs amongst wildflowers, searching to the Dover Strait and ferries going to/from France. Picture: James Visser.

To have the ability to expertise this pure marvel alongside my fiancé in addition to certainly one of my perfect and oldest pals from faculty and her household was absolutely the icing on the cake. My fantastic pal Di, her husband Richard, and daughter Grace truly dwell in England and invited James and I to stick with them whereas we have been within the neighborhood visiting Europe.

Spending time catching up with them and having fun with their fantastic hospitality whereas driving round to some actually pretty spots made for a time I’ll always remember.

We drove from their residence in West Sussex all the way down to Kent and out to the coast at Dover. Richard knew precisely the place the carpark was for guests to the cliffs and we began strolling from there.

Our first glimpse of the Dover cliffs from the hiking trail.
Our first glimpse of the Dover cliffs from the climbing path. Picture: James Visser.

Mountain climbing alongside the highest of the cliffs was a stunning expertise. As you’ll be able to think about there was a really good sea breeze and also you have been surrounded by lush greenery and wildflowers, searching to the blue strait and birds flying above the seaside and rocks beneath.

As we regarded out to the water from the pure inexperienced and floral carpet, we may see France and the European Continent within the distance and the ferries touring to and from Calais. It was a fantastic and peaceable sight.

The White Cliffs regarded actually white and aren’t one thing you’re usually used to seeing in nature. We loved the ambiance and took the chance to leisurely take within the scene as we wandered about and naturally, took some images within the course of.

Di with Nicole Anderson at the White Cliffs of Dover
So good to see my fantastic pal Di and luxuriate in this scene collectively. Picture: James Visser.


Di, Richard, Nicole and Grace at Dover cliffs
A shot of us all on the cliffs, L-R: Di, Richard, Nicole, and Grace (James behind the digicam).


Nicole Anderson selfie at the White Cliffs of Dover
Me taking a selfie alongside the cliff-top path on a stunning sunny and breezy day.


If you are right here…

Whereas visiting the White Cliffs of Dover there are a few different key websites which have confirmed extraordinarily standard to home and worldwide vacationers alike. We likewise went exploring the world and I share beneath the principle issues we discovered of curiosity.


Nicole Anderson at Dover overlooking the Channel and French Coast.
One other shot of us on the cliffs with Richard mentioning options on the French coast. Picture: James Visser.

The waterfront

On a transparent day, the Dover Strait part of the English Channel between the UK and France is a fantastic sight in itself. Dover Harbour appears to be like to be nicely protected against any tough seas and it was fairly windy and superb on the summer season day we have been there.

Many individuals clearly cherished being by or close to the water and the backdrop of the cliffs along with the right climate made it a day to get pleasure from and keep in mind.



Ferry leaving Dover harbor.
A ferry leaving Dover harbor as seen from the highest of the White Cliffs of Dover. Picture: James Visser.


Dover park and harbor
Nearer to Dover, wanting down on a park and the harbor space. Picture: James Visser.


Nicole Anderson at the entry to Dover harbor.
Standing with the Dover harbor entrance within the background, the place all ferries from Calias arrive. Picture: James Visser.


Ferry heading to France from Dover.
Not the clearest shot of a ferry past Dover harbor heading for the French shoreline forward. Picture: James Visser.


Dover Fort

Dover Castle perched above the town of Dover
Dover Fort is perched above the city of Dover. Picture: James Visser

A significant vacationer drawcard is undoubtedly Dover Fort. Truly, it’s Kent’s greatest vacationer attraction.

This web site was established previous to William the Conqueror in 1066 and brought over by him after the Battle of Hastings when he made enhancements, as did Henry II later. All through the ages, the fort turned extra expansive and fortified to the purpose the place many regard Dover Fort because the largest fort in England immediately. The one different fort in competition for the title of the most important is Windsor Fort.

All the web site is wrapped in a single thick ‘curtain wall’ constructed within the 12th century. There are two entrances on the Jap facet. The primary being Canon’s gateway, an entrance for vehicles; and the second being Constable’s gateway, which is principally a pedestrian entry level.

Moat area of Dover Castle
Richard & Grace strolling inside one of many moat areas on fort grounds. Picture: James Visser.


Approaching one of Dover castle's entrances.
Approaching one of many fort’s entrances. Picture: James Visser.


Entry to an inner wall to Dover Castle.
Entry to an inside wall to Dover Fort. Picture: James Visser.


Rear entrance to Dover Castle
Rear entrance to Dover Fort. Picture: James Visser.


In the midst of your complete web site is The Nice Tower, which is surrounded by the Internal Bailey wall. That is mainly a “wall inside a wall”, and due to this fact the second line of protection if the outer curtain wall was handed.


Buildings surrounding the main tower at Dover Castle.
Buildings surrounding the middle tower. Picture: James Visser.


Main tower at Dover Castle
Richard and I are speaking outdoors the principle tower. Picture: James Visser.


At over 25 m in top, The Nice Tower extends over three ranges – which embody a banqueting corridor, kitchen, store-room, and bed room – and has been fantastically performed up in vibrant colours to evoke the instances and lifetime of King Henry II.


Throughout Dover castle there was lots of interesting information displayed for visitors.
All through the fort, there was a number of attention-grabbing info displayed for guests. Picture: James Visser.


Dover Castle Throne Room
The Throne Room. Picture: James Visser.


King's bedroom at Dover Castle
The King’s bed room. Picture: James Visser.


Dover Castle kitchen, laundry and work area.
Kitchen, laundry, and work space. Picture: James Visser.


You too can climb the spiral staircases and ascend to the roof of the fort, the place you’ll be able to benefit from the pretty view throughout your complete grounds. Up there you’ll additionally see the inexperienced hills of Dover, the Dover cliffs, the uneven sea… and naturally France on clear days.

Part of the roof of Dover castle offering 360 views
A part of the roof of the fort providing 360 views. Picture: James Visser.


Protective and walled areas of Dover Castle
Trying down from the roof you’ll be able to clearly see the assorted protected areas and partitions of the fort. Picture: James Visser.


Looking out from the top of the Dover Castle tower out to the Dover Strait.
Searching from the highest of the tower out to the Dover Strait. Picture: James Visser.


White Cliffs of Dover Trail seen from Dover Castle
My favourite view from the tower, searching to the White Cliffs of Dover path and the water. Picture: James Visser.


Dover Tunnels

Nonetheless throughout the web site of Dover Fort, you can find quite a few tunnels which have been initially constructed throughout medieval instances and expanded additional throughout World Conflict II.

Secret tunnels entrance at Dover Castle.
Customer entrance level to the key tunnels. Picture: James Visser.

These are the Secret Wartime Tunnels, unfold throughout three layers within the cliff descending from floor degree of 700 meters above the ocean to a depth of fifty meters above sea degree. The center degree, codenamed ‘Casemate’ was constructed from 1797 and prolonged in 1941; the best degree, ‘Annex’, was in-built 1941, and the bottom degree, ‘Dumpy’ was in-built 1942.

Except for housing a army outpost within the south of England, it was from these tunnels that Vice Admiral Ramsay coordinated the 1940 rescue of the military from Dunkirk, evacuating greater than 338,000 troops from France.

Excursions of the tunnels are provided from throughout the fort grounds, the place you’re taken down in small teams and proven all through the complicated. Though not allowed to take photographs, your complete tunnels have been actually fascinating and academic. It was so attention-grabbing to see how the army operated their forces right here, the assorted command rooms, hospital services, and lookouts on to Dover Strait. They definitely have preserved this facility very nicely and the tour guides have been extraordinarily educated.



Hastings town UK
Stopping off at Hastings city. Picture: James Visser.

Having spent a lot of the day having fun with the White Cliffs of Dover and Dover Fort, we drove additional down the English shoreline. Crossing out of Kent and getting into East Sussex and all the way down to the well-known coastal city of Hastings.

Renown because the place the place William the Conqueror triumphed on the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Hastings immediately is a captivating seaside city.

The precise web site of the battle is a few 6 miles away from the city and is ready to be visited together with the ruins of the Norman fort constructed again at the moment.


Hastings, UK.
One more spectacular landmark in Hastings. Picture: James Visser.


Battle of Hastings site UK
Not removed from Hastings, the sphere the place the battle passed off in 1066. Picture: James Visser.


For us, we loved taking a look on the character of this pretty place and determined that it will be an excellent spot to complete the day. What higher means to do that than to affix our fantastic pals and hosts, having dinner in a standard English pub the place we may order their fish and chips?


The Bulls Head pub, Hastings UK
The Bulls Head pub the place we had dinner. Picture: James Visser.


Placing orders at the Bulls Head pub
L-R: Richard, James, and Di inserting orders within the pub. Picture: Nicole Anderson.


Fish & Chips in English Pub
The Conventional English Pub Fish & Chips. Picture: Nicole Anderson.



James and Nicole at the White Cliffs of Dover
James and I having fun with our time on high of the White Cliffs of Dover. Picture: Di Toms.

The White Cliffs of Dover and the encircling space are timeless of their magnificence and price seeing first hand. To have the ability to study the connections this space has needed to historical past provides it one more dimension. This makes you understand how particular this has been to previous generations and you’re feeling privileged to witness and admire the importance of this place much more.

Have you ever visited the White Cliffs of Dover and surrounding areas? Would this be a ‘should see’ in your UK travels? I’d love to listen to your ideas within the feedback beneath.


This text is a part of the Tenting for Girls’s Pure Magnificence Journey Collection.


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