White Cliffs of Dover

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White Cliffs of Dover

The White Cliffs of Dover (map), part of the North Downs formation, is the region of English coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France. The cliff face, which reaches a height of 350 feet (110 m), owes its striking appearance to its composition of chalk accented by streaks of black flint.

The cliffs, on both sides of the town of Dover in Kent, stretch for eight miles (13 km). A section of coastline encompassing the cliffs was purchased by the National Trust.

The White Cliffs are at one end of the Kent Downs designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On a clear day they are visible from the French coast. The chalk cliffs of the Alabaster Coast of Normandy in France are part of the same geological system.

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In 1999 a sustainable National Trust visitor centre was built in the area. The Gateway building, designed by van Heyningen and Haward Architects, houses a restaurant, an information centre on the work of the National Trust, and details of local archaeology, history and landscape.

Dover Castle (map), the largest castle in England, was founded in the 11th century. It has been described as the “Key to England” owing to its defensive significance throughout history.

South Foreland Lighthouse (map) is a Victorian-era lighthouse on the South Foreland in St. Margaret’s Bay, which was once used to warn ships approaching the nearby Goodwin Sands.

Samphire Hoe Country Park (map) is a nature reserve on a new piece of land created from the rock excavated during the construction of the Channel Tunnel. It covers a 74-acre (30 ha) site at the foot of Shakespeare Cliff, between Dover and Folkestone.

Dover is a major port town facing into the English Channel and, at just 21 miles from the French port of Calais, it is the closest port to continental Europe on mainland Britain.

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TRAVELINE | Provides online travel planner services for all public transportation across Great Britain. They also have separate planners dedicated to specific regions.

+ How to get here (nationaltrust.org.uk) • Travel to and around England (visitengland.com) • Getting around Britain (visitbritain.com).

 BUS >   Stagecoach East Kent are the main bus operator in the Dover area. Maps, timetables and fare information are available on their website. National Express | UK Stop finder. National Express operates a regular coach service (number 007) to&from Dover Eastern Docks and Pencester Road, to London Victoria Coach Station (map).

 RAIL >   The essential source for rail travel information in Great Britain is the National Rail website. It includes an extremely useful journey planner, ticket prices and detailed information about every railway station in the country. (*Rail travel in Great Britain).

 AIRPORTS >   airportguides.co.uk. The most important airports are London HeathrowLondon Gatwick and Manchester Airport. All three have multiple terminals and are collectively served by a vast range of airlines and flights from the four corners of the map.

 WATERWAYS >   There are many ferry routes into the UK from continental Europe. (*Ferry routes to Great Britain)

Bicycles may be taken on car ferries and on Eurotunnel shuttle trains. Eurostar allows folding bikes on all its trains, and offers a more restricted service for other bikes, but has quite strict and specific rules that are worth reading up on before you travel.

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