Walking in White Cliffs Country

Get to know this corner of the English coast by exploring our spectacular landscape and historic towns and villages on foot. Walk on top of the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, follow part of the England Coast Path or the North Downs Way, explore heritage trails in our coastal towns and immerse yourself in history, nature and coastal beauty.

With almost a quarter of the entire region designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and our towns and countryside full of heritage landmarks, following walking routes and trails and taking a stroll around town is a great way to discover all this wonderful area has to offer. 

There are walking trails to suit all ages and abilities - from a challenging, cross-country hike to a stroll along the seafront. Explore the characterful towns of Deal, Dover and Sandwich by following the towns' historic trails; there's also a historic trail for our villages. You can book onto walks with knowledgeable guides to show you the hidden bits and tell you the unexpected stories. Whether you're an experienced hiker or just want to stretch your legs, you'll find a walk to suit you.

A couple walking arm in arm - the man has a baby in a sling strapped to his chest - through the colourful streets of Deal's conservation area.
Explore Deal's conservation area on foot to discover all the nooks and crannies of the once-infamous streets!

Discover miles of marked walking trails and themed routes including:

  • King Charles III England Coast Path - the National Trail that will eventually cover all 2,795 miles (4,500km) of England's coast. Walk along the Folkestone to Ramsgate section, passing through White Cliffs Country and over the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.
  • The North Downs Way - one of the country's most accessible trails covering 153 miles (246km) through the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In this district, the route follows the ancient pilgrim way, Via Francigena.  
  • Via Francigena - starting from Canterbury Cathedral and ending in Rome, the first two stages of this 10th-century pilgrim route take you 20 miles (33 km) along the North Downs Way into Dover. For more information, click on the box at the bottom of this page. 
  • The Saxon Shore Way - this long-distance route follows Kent's ancient coastline for 160 miles (257km) from Gravesend to Hastings, and hugs the coastline through White Cliffs Country. 
  • CHALKUP21 - discover 21st-century art and architecture along this 17-mile (27-km) trail. Click on the box at the bottom of this page to find out more.
A buttercup and daisy filled meadow in the foreground with a circular building with green roof and tall green trees behind.
The Pines Calyx at St Margaret's Bay on the CHALKUP21 walk is an exemplar of low-carbon design, blending centuries old construction methods with 21st-century technologies.
  • Dover Bluebird Heritage Trail - follow the pavement markers around Dover on this fully accessible, self-guided trail to discover the town's historic buildings, sites and monuments. Download a free guide or pick one up from the Visitor Information Centre at the museum.
  • Stour Valley walk- a 58-mile (93-km) route through the Low Weald and North Downs taking you through Sandwich and ending at Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve.
  • Miners' Way Trail - a route past what remains of old coal mines opened in a 1920s rush for ‘black gold’. The route starts at Sholden, takes you past Betteshanger Park, through the pretty villages of Finglesham and Eastry to Shepherdswell. Pick up a guidebook from the Visitor Information Centre in Dover.
  • Frontline Britain Trail - a 4-mile (6.5-km) circular way-marked route around St Margaret's past the Dover Patrol Memorial and South Foreland Lighthouse.
  • Western Heights Walks - three waymarked walks that can be joined together for a longer walk of approximately 4 miles. There is the Drop Redoubt Circular Walk, the Grand Shaft Circular Walk (both around three-quarters of a mile) and the Citadel Circular Walk which is around 2 miles. Pick up a leaflet at the Visitor Information Centre in Dover.
Four walkers walking on green grass from the left of the picture towards the white South Foreland Lighthouse on the right of the picture, on a winter's day, blue sky above.
South Foreland Lighthouse is a landmark on several White Cliffs Country walks. It is home to Mrs Knott's Tearoom, a welcome pitstop to refuel with tea and cake.
  • South Foreland Walk - most visitors like to begin at the National Trust White Cliffs Visitor Centre, walking the breath-taking coastal path to the South Foreland Lighthouse at St Margaret's Bay. You can make this a circular trip and walk back  to Dover, following the clear paths, or continue along the coast path to Kingsdown, Walmer and Deal. Whichever route you choose, you can enjoy panoramic views of the English Channel and see the French coast on a clear day.
  • Royal Geographical Society Walks - there are three RGS walks in the area: The Key to the Kingdom, Invasion Coast and Saved Haven. All walks are free to download as PDF booklets or MP3 audio walks. 

Find out more in our Walking & Cycling with Maps leaflet. Some routes have their own accompanying leaflets, adding detail and interest along the way. Our Visitor Information Centre team can point you in the right direction - contact them on the LiveChat here or visit the centre at Dover Museum. 

Main photo: Walking on top of the White Cliffs ©National Trust Images/Solent News and Photography Agency.