24 hours in White Cliffs Country...

... without the kids

About this article

  • Published on
  • Area Deal, Dover, Sandwich
  • Category General, Experiences, Food & drink

You have limited time but you're keen to escape to the coast for a breath of sea air - where do you go? At just over an hour by highspeed train from London St Pancras and well-connected via other routes across Kent, White Cliffs Country is the ideal spot for a mini-mini-break. Arriving on Friday in time for lunch and leaving on Saturday after brunch, here's a suggested itinerary to make the most of a flying visit (with no kids in tow).

Two people on Dover Pier overlooking Dover Marina.
Dover Pier, the Marina and the Clocktower on Dover Marina Curve.

Friday afternoon in Dover

Arrive in Dover and head to the seafront and Dover Marina Curve  - the perfect stop for lunch - where you'll find a variety of street food huts open at the weekend and the Indie Pedaler cafe on Clocktower Square. Other nearby lunch places on the Esplanade include Mr White's Chophouse and Wheeler's Fish and Chips. 

After lunch, take a stroll around the marina and along the pier for great views of the magnificent seafront and Dover Castle on the white cliffs.

Head to Dover Sea Sports Centre on the beach where you'll have pre-booked a trip with Dover Sea Safari. This is by far the best way to see those white cliffs up close and a fun way to experience some White Cliffs Country magic. Trips along the coast to Deal Pier and back - White Cliffs & Beyond - take around an hour and a half. If you'd rather stay on dry land, you could either climb the hill to Dover Castle or head up Dame Vera Lynn Way, a footpath from Athol Terrace next to the ferry terminal to the top of the cliffs and the National Trust White Cliffs Visitor Centre.

After all that exhilarating sea air, walk to the Market Square and visit Dover Museum where you'll find the Bronze Age Boat Gallery, home to the oldest-known seagoing vessel in the world. This spectacularly preserved, internationally important artefact was discovered not far from the museum during road building in the 1990s.

If you've arrived by train, you might want to pop into a local bar, such as Vinoteq, on the way to the station for a glass of something refreshing before catching the train to Sandwich. 

The remains of a large wooden boat in a large glass case with people looking in
The astounding Bronze Age Boat in Dover Museum.

Friday evening and night in Sandwich

Approximately 25 minutes by road or rail from Dover, the small and perfectly formed town of Sandwich is full of charm and character with photo opportunities around every corner. Check in to your accommodation for the night: there's the Bell Hotel overlooking the River Stour on The Quay and various B&B options a short walk from the station. Check out our Stay listings to find the perfect place for you.

Said to be one of the most complete medieval towns in the country, explore the winding streets and little alleyways before heading to a bar or pub for a pre-dinner drink. Try The Waiting Room or Old Pharmacy Bar for cocktails or one of the many traditional pubs for a pint. St Peter's Church in the centre of town is the guardian of an ancient Sandwich tradition - the curfew bell rings out every evening at 8pm signalling that the townspeople should cover their fires to make them safe for the night. Once known as the 'pigbell’, it also let people know they could release their animals into the street - thankfully this tradition is no longer followed so you can wend your way to dinner without falling over a pig.

Food options in town are plenty, including tapas, pizzas, smokehouse fare and traditional pub food, or take a taxi to nearby The Dog at Wingham for award-winning food. Browse our Eat & drink section to see what's on offer.

A handsome red-brick building with tall chimneys viewed from the old toll bridge in Sandwich
The Bell Hotel on The Quay in Sandwich.

Saturday morning in Deal

After breakfast the next day (make sure you leave room for brunch), walk to the station and catch the train to Deal. If you're driving, follow the coast road via Sandwich Bay (where there is a small toll fee) and take in the spectacular vista of the bay and championship links golf courses, Royal St George's, Prince's and Royal Cinque Ports.

A short walk from the station in the centre of Deal is the vibrant and hugely popular Deal Saturday Market. This is a great place for a wander to browse the antiques and local produce stalls. Pick up a coffee from Real Deal Roasters and maybe a few treats to take home. Stroll from the market through the picturesque Georgian streets to the seafront and Deal Pier where you'll find Deal Pier Kitchen at the end, the perfect place for brunch with a view.

If you have time before heading home, explore the wonderful variety of independent shops and galleries on the award-winning High Street.

One short trip isn't enough to enjoy all this amazing district has to offer but 24 hours in White Cliffs Country will give you a taste of the great time you can have here and the wonderful welcome you'll receive when you return for a longer stay!

Two couples walking along Deal Pier.
Stroll along Deal Pier to the end for brunch at Deal Pier Kitchen.