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How to take a Day trip to Dover from London

Plan your perfect day in Dover from London with our practical tips and guide to the best tours and transport options.

Do you want to get from London to the Cliffs of Dover? The iconic sight of the chalky, surf-battered cliffs is unmissable for many who spend time travelling in the UK. If you’re one of them, you really do need this guide!

Covered is all you need to know when you want to organise a London to White Cliffs of Dover day trip. If you’re wondering what’s the best way to get to Dover from London, is Dover worth visiting or whether you can book a prearranged White Cliffs of Dover day trip from London, read on to find out all the insider info.

If you fancy taking a day trip to Canterbury and Dover from London or if there are Dover Castle tours from London we’ve got options for that too. Though you may decide to include Leeds Castle on your itinerary as well – or even instead. 

At the end of World War II, the White Cliffs of Dover symbolised freedom for those returning from Dunkirk. The stunning sight would also have greeted the Romans when they invaded Britain in ancient times. 

For the full lowdown on organising a day trip to the Cliffs of Dover from London, read on. By the end of this piece, you’ll be fully equipped to make an informed decision about which route to take. We begin with things to do in Diver before looking at the options for those who want to make a London to Dover day trip by booking an organised tour. 

White cliffs of Dover
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Things to do in Dover

Dover is located on the south coast of England, on the eastern side. It belongs to the county of Kent, which is known as the ‘Garden of England’. 

Sights to see in Dover of course include the iconic White Cliffs. What else might Dover have to offer? Read on to find out about Dover Castle, the town centre, a local beach and of course the White Cliffs themselves.

The White Cliffs of Dover 

The White Cliffs are a very famous landmark. The dramatic contrast of the stark white chalk faces set against lush green grass and the stormy sea is an unforgettable sight. At the top, the area is also abundant in local wildlife. Plus pretty wildflowers in spring and summer. 

On the clearest of days, you should be able to see France in the distance. It’s only around 20 miles away across the English Channel. People swim between the two fairly regularly, often for charity. For the best views, follow the route towards South Foreland Lighthouse. 

Check out this National Trust guide to walking in the White Cliffs area.

Man keeling with the White cliffs of Dover behind him.

Dover Castle

Dover does of course have its own magnificent fortress. This impressive mediaeval structure is vast, and boasts a colourful and very royal history. 

If you want to discover Henry II’s palace, plus its wartime tunnels and 12th century structures, you can pre-book your ticket via Get Your Guide. If your plans change, you can cancel up to 24 hours before without a penalty. 

St Margaret’s Bay

St Margaret’s Bay is just a few miles from the National Trust visitor centre at the famous cliffs. If you want to sample British beach life, take a walk or drive here to see the gently curving bay flanked by chalk cliffs. 

There’s a traditional English pub here too, plus a row of photogenic, pastel-painted beach huts on the western side. 

People walking at the White cliffs of Dover 1 1

Dover town

In Dover town centre, you can see buildings backed by pale cliffs before you even reach the National Trust site. Other attractions include Dover Museum and a Roman Painted House. The former charts Dover history, while the latter was only discovered in 1970!

The White cliffs of Dover

The top 5 day trips from London to Dover

Day trip from London to Dover and Canterbury

  • Duration: 9.5 hours
  • Destinations: White Cliffs of Dover and Canterbury
  • Departure time: Varies
  • Departure point: TBC
  • What’s included: Minibus transport, tour guide, free time to explore
  • What’s not included: Lunch, extras, hotel pick-up

If you want to visit the Dover Cliffs from London and see Canterbury, this is without doubt the easiest way to do it. This organised day trip takes you to the famous cliffs on the Kent coast, and to the county capital to see the historic cathedral there. You’ll also make stops in the seaside resort of Deal and in a typical Kent village.

Even in a country like England that’s packed with ancient buildings, Canterbury cathedral stands out. It’s the most significant of all in some ways, as Christianity in the UK was first established here. During the day you can also spend time as you like in the city, see the White Cliffs and pass Dover Castle. 


Countryside bordering the white cliffs of Dover from London

Dover, Canterbury, Leeds Castle and Greenwich day tour 

  • Duration: 10 hours
  • Destinations: White Cliffs of Dover, Canterbury, Leeds Castle and Greenwich
  • Departure time: Varies
  • Departure point: Bus Stop 1, Bulleid Way, Victoria, London, SW1W 9SH
  • What’s included: Transport, tour guide, Leeds Castle entry, Thames boat ride
  • What’s not included: Lunch, extras, hotel pick-up

If you really want to pack it all into one day, just book this one! As well as Canterbury, Leeds Castle and Dover, this one also includes a ride on the river Thames from Greenwich back to central London.  

The 10-hour Cliffs of Dover tour from London ensures you see a great range of sites of historic significance. Including Canterbury cathedral and the city, Leeds Castle and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. You can also take snaps of those iconic chalky cliffs and Dover Castle. 


Half-day tour of the White Cliffs of Dover

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Destinations: White Cliffs of Dover
  • Departure time: 10:00
  • Departure point: Cruise Terminal 1, Lord Warden Square, Dover CT17 9EQ, UK
  • What’s included: Transport, tour guide, bottled water
  • What’s not included: Lunch, extras, hotel pick-up

This half-day tour is aimed at those on cruise ships or ferries calling at Dover – or those who are staying in the coastal town. So do note that it doesn’t include travel from London! It does, however, include stops at Warren Country Park and St Margaret’s Bay for the best views of the cliffs. 

As well as the White Cliffs of Dover, you’ll also see several other key sites. These include Samphire Hoe nature reserve, which is beneath Shakespeare’s Cliff. Also included on the itinerary are the Spitfire and Hurricane planes at the Battle of Britain Memorial.  


View over the ferry port of Dover and the white cliffs.

Day tour to Dover with castles, countryside and culture

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Destinations: White Cliffs of Dover, Sandwich, Deal Castle & Canterbury
  • Departure time: 08:00
  • Departure point: Dover Cruise Terminal, Western Docks, Dover CT17 9DQ, UK
  • What’s included: Transport, tour guide, bottled water
  • What’s not included: Lunch, extras, hotel pick-up

If you want to sample a Sandwich in the Kent location of the same name – or snap a picture of the classic Ham (hamlet) and Sandwich (town) sign at Finglesham – then book this trip. During this Dover day trip you’ll also see a Kentish village, the Battle of Britain Memorial, Deal Castle and seaside resort and Canterbury

Please note that this tour is also aimed at those staying in Dover, or those whose cruise ships stop at the port. So travel from London isn’t included. 


South Foreland Lighthouse at Dover.

Private day trip to Dover with John England Tours

  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Destinations: To be agreed
  • Departure time: 08:00
  • Departure point: Bromley South train station
  • What’s included: Transport, tour guide & entry fees (as agreed)
  • What’s not included: Lunch, extras, hotel pick-up

If you’d like to decide your own itinerary, then booking a day trip with John England tours is a great option. John will pick you up from Bromley South station, which you can reach by rail from London Victoria.

What you see and do is then up to you! Dover Castle can be included, or you may prefer to take in Canterbury. You can of course opt to view the White Cliffs of Dover, or to call at another location in Kent. The choice is yours. 


Dover Castle.

How to get to Dover from London by car, coach or train

By train

At-a-glance: Train from London stations to Dover Priory train station (1 & 3 min+) several trains per hour; + bus, taxi or walk to the White Cliffs

If you want to arrange your own White Cliffs of Dover day trip from London, then you might be thinking about taking the train there. Train times vary a lot, so if you do choose this route then pick your train carefully! Prices also vary, so book in advance if you can for cheaper fares. Click here to book your train ticket with the

Trains also depart from various London stations, including St Pancras, Charing Cross and Victoria. You would then need to get a taxi or bus from the station to the cliffs. The shortest journey time is around 10 minutes by taxi. The walk would take well over an hour, while a local bus can get you there in about 40 minutes. 

Tip – The local taxi firms only accepted cash when we recently visited (June 2022) so take enough money to cover taxi fares.

Dover Priory Station in Dover.

By coach

At-a-glance: Coach from London Victoria to Dover town centre (3 hours+) several coaches per day; + bus, taxi or walk to the White Cliffs

There’s a considerable journey time involved when getting to Dover from London by coach. The trip will take three hours, plus you need to add on a bus or taxi ride or a long walk (of over an hour).

For that reason, this option is not recommended. 

By car

At-a-glance: Drive from London to the White Cliffs of Dover (1.5 hours+); postcode CT16 1HJ

Theoretically, it’s possible to drive from London to Dover in around 90 minutes. In practice, though, it’s likely to take much longer. It could take 2.5 hours plus. Anyone who’s driven in or around London can tell you how hard it is to predict journey times! If you do drive, head for the National Trust visitor centre, where there is paid parking available. 

The advantage is that you can drive directly from door to door. You may need a rental car, though – and to pay the Congestion Charge for London. During a spring or summer’s day – especially at weekends or on a bank holiday – do expect traffic queues leading from London towards the south coast in any direction.

Deckchairs looking over Dover

Dover day trip FAQs

Is Dover a day trip away from London?

Whether you can do Dover in a day from London depends very much on how you travel. Taking the train or an organised tour is the simplest and most reliable way to see Dover in just one day. 

In fact you can also book day trips that include other locations like Canterbury cathedral or even Greenwich in southeast London. Castle to visit include Deal, Leeds or Dover. You may also like to stop for a bread-based lunch in Sandwich or explore a coastal resort or village. 

What’s the best way to see the White Cliffs of Dover?

If you’re able, take a walk from the National Trust visitor centre towards South Foreland Lighthouse to see the White Cliffs of Dover properly. With lots of local flora and fauna to spot along the way, this is a great way to discover all the area has to offer. 

White cliffs of Dover.

Is Dover worth visiting?

Whether you want to look out for wildlife while gazing at the famous White Cliffs, explore the medieval castle, wander through the town or spend the day by a pretty bay, Dover is a great place to visit. It’s also an essential destination for anyone interested in royalty or military history. 

Is it worth buying the English Heritage pass?

For visitors from overseas exploring the UK, the English Heritage pass offers great value for money. It’s ideal for fans of history, archaeology and culture who want to explore England. 

Once you’ve paid for the pass, it’s valid for nine or 16 days, and allows you entry to well over 100 ancient castles, historic structures and other sites of interest such as priories, Roman sites and stately homes and gardens. 

Find a full list of the attractions English Heritage pass holders can enter here. You can also buy your pass via this link. 

Dover cliffs in England.

How will you travel from London to Dover?

Whether you were wondering how to go to Dover from London, is Dover Castle worth visiting or what sort of Dover tours from London are available, we hope this post has answered all your questions.

Dover is one of the top day trips from London by train, car or organised tour. The sight of the cliffs means you’ll never forget your day trip to Dover. A visit to any of the other sites mentioned in this guide can only make it an even more significant experience, too!

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