Things to do in London

Plan a trip from London to the White Cliffs of Dover

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Imagine scenic, chalk-white cliffs and waves crashing against the shore; a multitude of boats, all of different shapes and sizes making their way out of the harbor; a majestic medieval castle rising above the cliff, overlooking the sea – this is the historical town of Dover. The port town of Dover is famous for its towering chalk Dover cliffs and the Dover Castle, also known as the ‘Key to England’ because of its formidable defensive fortifications. Dover is just two hours away or 82 miles from the hustle and bustle of London, making it an ideal destination for a day trip from London! Before you set off from London to Dover, here are a quick few things you'd like to know.

London to Dover Day Trip Experience

London to Dover Day Trip

London to Dover

Board your luxury coach to the Leeds Castle, where you will learn all about its history (and the history of its occupants, the Tudors!) from your friendly tour guide. Next, visit the ancient city of Canterbury, the setting of ‘The Canterbury Tales’ by Geoffrey Chaucer, and explore its roots in English Christianity. After a quick lunch, head off to Dover to admire the majestic chalk cliffs and the Dover Castle. Last, stop at Greenwich, from where you will embark on a ride on the serene River Thames. Don’t miss views of the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral!

Dover Day Trip Itinerary Summary

• Admire the Leeds Castle and its beautiful estate
• Take in the beauty of the stained glass panels of the Canterbury Cathedral
• Visit the majestic white chalk cliffs of Dover and the Castle
• Stop at Greenwich and soak in its incredible maritime history and significance
• Catch stunning views of London while floating serenely down the river Thames

Recommended Experiences
Leeds Castle, Canterburry, White Cliffs of Dover and Greenwich River Boat Ride
Leeds Castle, Canterbury and Dover Custom Day Trip

London To Dover Day Trip - Know Before You Go

Distance and Duration from London to Dover

The distance from London to Dover is around 82 miles, or 77 miles from the centre of London, which can take 2 hours to travel if there isn’t much traffic. It would be a safer bet to start early in the morning to avoid traffic and to spend more time exploring the town, if you are travelling by car.

Choosing between Guided and Self Guided Tours

While self-guided tours may seem like a better option if you’re more independent and want to save money, guided tours are probably the smarter option – not only will you have a friendly and informative guide with you, but you’ll learn more about your surrounding area and may even pick up some handy tips as to where to eat and how to travel. Your trip will be hassle-free with a tour guide.

Best time to visit Dover

Dover’s climate is quite similar to the rest of the United Kingdom, and is generally pleasant year round. The best time to visit is generally from May to October, when the weather is warm and ranges from 45 to 60F. However, do note that the summer tends to be the rainy season, and showers are quite common during the late summer season.

Transport Options from London to Dover

London to Dover by Train

London to Dover by train is covered by three lines- London St. Pancras, Charing Cross via London Bridge and Victoria, and Gatwick ; all of which are at least hourly trains. The St. Pancras line is the fastest, taking only 65 minutes. However, it is also the most expensive. The train from Gatwick is the cheapest option. Make sure to choose the option closest to your accommodation in London to avoid additional travel time. You can check the train timings and schedule from London to Dover here.

Duration : 65 minutes minimum

London to Dover by Bus

London to Dover by bus is a convinient and comfortable option. The London terminus is Victoria Coach Station, about 600 yards from Victoria train and Underground stations. The buses, operated by the National Bus service, do not pick-up or drop at hotels or elsewhere in London. They stop at the Dover Ferry Terminal first, and then the Dover Town Centre.

Duration : 3 hours

London to Dover by Car

London to Dover by car is approximately 86 miles and takes about 1.5 hours without traffic, if starting off from Whitehall, Westminster. A good route to take is through Old Kent Road, Eltham Road and through Greenwich. Hiring a private car ay cost anywhere between 100 to 200 GBP. This is an expensive option considering the cost of renting a car, fuel costs and parking in Dover. However, since Dover is a scenic port town, having a car at your disposal is quite convinient.

Duration : 1 hour 49 minutes

London to Dover by Cycle

Cycling from London to Dover is quite a popular option, especially for fitness enthusiasts and those looking to spend time on the road with friends. A commonly used London to Dover cycle route (no cycling trails or green lanes) is through Dartford, Rochester, Faversham and Canterbury – don’t miss wandering around the medieval city of Canterbury before relaxing in Dover!

Duration : 8 hours

London to Dover Guided Day Tours

By opting for a guided tour from London to Dover, not only do you learn a lot more than you would have otherwise, thanks to your friendly tour guide, the cost of visiting sites along the way like Greenwich and Leeds Castle is also covered. Picking this option is the best if you’re travelling with family and children.

Duration of day tour : 10 hours

Top things to do in Dover - Day trip itinerary

There's just the right number of thing to do in Dover for one day. Here are a few things to do in Dover over a day's time.

Dover Castle

This medieval castle was founded in the 11th century and is also called ‘Key to England’ due to its significance with respect to defense. The Dover Castle is the largest castle in England and it has withstood several invasions over the centuries. Its site can be dated back to the Bronze Age. Don’t miss the Royal Chapel and St. Mary in Castro within the castle!

London to Dover day trip
White Cliffs of Dover

These cliffs are so named because of its chalky composition, with streaks of black flint. This eight-mile stretch offers a gorgeous view of the English strait from the top, and sandy beaches from the bottom. The Dover Cliffs have been referenced multiple times in great works of literature like Shakespeare’s King Lear, and is also an iconic landmark for sailors entering England.

London to Dover day trip
Fan Bay Deep Shelter

These Secret Wartime Tunnels are a series of tunnels constructed during World War II, 23 metres down the White Cliffs of Dover. Carved in just a hundred days by the Royal Engineers, these tunnels were constructed for the Fan Bay gun batteries and was reinforced by heavy duty iron gir

London to Dover day trip
La Salle Verte

La Salle Verte is a cozy spot to grab some lunch and a coffee if you’re in Dover. Located on Cannon Street, this restaurant is decorated with local artwork on the walls, and is also involved in several community projects. They even have live music in the evenings, hence falling into the list of the top things to do in Dover.

London to Dover day trip
Dover Museum

Founded in 1836, this museum tells the story of Dover and its history, and included collections dating back from the prehistoric times . Don’t miss the Bronze Age boat that is estimated to be nearly 3000 years old!. The Dover Museum also has a temporary exhibition section with local art, and a section about the history of Dover town.

London to Dover day trip

Tips for your London to Dover Day Trip

  • If you’re visiting around late summer/early fall, be sure to carry raincoats and umbrellas, as it may rain often during this time.
  • Make sure to visit the South Foreland Lighthouse, and walk along the two-mile stretch of cliffs. You’ll get to see some incredible views!
  • If you’re interested in seeing more Castles, and are a little adventurous, you can walk to the Deal Castle, around 8 miles from Dover.
  • If you’re on a tight schedule, it may be faster for you to travel from London to Dover by train.
Day Trip from London to Dover: A Guide