If you read my May monthly favourites you’ll know we took a very special day out to Dover together last month. More about why it was so special later, but I really just wanted to talk about Dover itself; the white cliffs, restaurants and beach along the promenade that we really loved.
This was our second trip to Dover, we went in September 2020 with my partners’ mum but it was pouring down with rain and we couldn’t really walk the cliffs, so this time we were so lucky with the mild weather and we got to walk the whole 2-hour round trek of the White Cliffs. The cliffs are owned by The National Trust and although you don’t have to pay to walk the cliffs you do just have to pay £5 to park your car (but that pays for an entire day). There are 3 trails along the cliffs, we chose the longest one that took you to the lighthouse at the very end which takes about 40-50 mins walk in one direction. But the paths are well laid out and there are plenty of benches overlooking the sea when you need a break for 5 mins.
There are no fences or posts at the edges of the cliffs so be VERY careful if you want to get near the edge, but to be honest you don’t even need to go right near the edge to get fantastic views of those famous cliffs. The only thing I would say is, as these cliffs are a natural landscape it's not very accessible to people who are unsteady on their feet or can’t walk long distances, there isn’t really any shortcuts on the long route and at one point (see the picture below) we climbed a huge set of steep wooden steps to get up a hill…it’s certainly a workout!
On our way up the cliffs, we saw these cute ponies! There were lots of signs saying not to feed them as they’re on a strict diet so we thought we’d give them a pat instead…they almost took my partners hand off!! Haha! Although they’re very cute I think these ponies are best admired from a distance as they could be semi-wild…but they’re lovely nonetheless.
We got a great picture spot here as we were almost at the lighthouse, you can really see these incredible chalk rocks up close, and although we look close you can see that person stood on the top of the cliff for the perspective of just how big these really are!
Now at this point, my phone does what it usually does on an important day in my life; runs out of battery. So I didn't really get any more pictures past here but I can tell you what we saw anyway. It isn’t just the lighthouse we were aiming for, there is also some WWII tunnels built into the cliff that were made for watching out for enemy U-Boats, unfortunately, we weren’t able to go down into the tunnels that day as they were closed but if you do and visit make sure you make extra time for these!
So we finally make it to the lighthouse! But…it was all locked up and closed, we were so disappointed as we’d hoped to stop and have a snack at the lighthouse cafe and explore the lighthouse for ourselves but never mind, we took a good look at the lighthouse and the view and then made our way back along the cliffs.
At this point (if you didn't know) we stopped for a rest and my partner used this opportunity to propose to me! I won't bore you with the details here but if you did want to know more I’ve spoken all about it on the May monthly favourites. So after that completely unexpected surprise, we walked back along the trail and made it back to the visitors centre at the car park.
The visitors centre is lovely, it has great facilities and a cafe that I think serves hot food as well as sandwiches and snacks, but on that day they also had a pop-up book shop! I managed to get some great books, one of which was a printing of the full Lord of the Rings trilogy from the 1960s (I’ve looked it up and it's not worth anything, unfortunately) and you just paid a donation based on what you thought the books were worth/ you could afford to give so that was a lovely way to support the National Trust again.
We then left the cliffs and made our way down onto the seafront to have some celebratory dinner in a nice restaurant, but because the restaurants had just opened up again it was reservation only so we ended up having our engagement celebration dinner at Folkestone services but it was great anyway (I had a vegan meatball sub from Subway if you wanted to know).
This is definitely a day I will never forget. The walk along the white cliffs is beautiful and on a clear, sunny day like we had you get a perfect view over to France! Away from the cliffs, you have a stone beach and behind that, loads and loads of restaurants and cafes along the seafront to keep you busy all afternoon, as well as Dover Castle which we haven’t got round to yet. But if you’re looking for a fun day out then I highly recommend Dover as your next day-trip destination!