Winter welcome

Bracing walks in beautiful landscapes, cycle rides along the shore, visits to outstanding attractions, far-reaching sea views and hearty meals in top-notch restaurants and cosy pubs – spending time in White Cliffs Country during winter is the perfect way to reset and recharge.

Make the most of daylight hours

Enjoy the many uplifting walks or cycle routes here and experience our wonderful coastline and countryside at a quieter time of year. Take a stroll around our parks and gardens such as Goodnestone Park and Kearsney Parks, follow 20 miles of the King Charles III England Coast Path along our shore or explore the countryside following routes such as the North Downs Way/Via Francigena. After all that fresh air, settle yourself beside a warming fire in one of our welcoming hostelries to sample delicious local drinks and meals made with locally sourced ingredients.

Open year-round

Many of the fantastic visitor attractions here are fully open all year round, including the National Trust White Cliffs of Dover, Dover Transport Museum, Wingham Wildlife Park, Betteshanger Park and Kent Mining Museum. Others, including Dover Castle, Walmer Castle and Gardens and Whitemills Wake & Aqua Park, have reduced opening days and/or hours. Please check the venue websites for the most up-to-date information about opening times before you set off.

A mature Cedar of Lebanon tree with red stemmed dogwood in the foreground.
Goodnestone Park Gardens are full of winter interest and majestic mature trees. © Sally Lewis

Cosy boltholes

White Cliffs Country is sparkling at Christmas time and is the perfect location for a festive getaway to celebrate with family and friends by the sea and a wonderful place to visit in January and February. There are plenty of cosy hotels and guesthouses including The Bell Hotel in Sandwich, The Royal Hotel on the beach in Deal, The Rose in Deal High Street, Updown Farmhouse in the countryside near Deal and Dover Marina Hotel next to the harbour. See our listings below for all the hotels, B&Bs, self-catering cottages and other lovely places to stay in winter.

Brighten up the dark evenings

There's plenty of fun to be had during the winter months in White Cliffs Country, from live music at one of the area's many venues (such as The Booking Hall in Dover or the Lighthouse in Walmer) to fabulous evenings at The Astor Theatre in Deal or watching the latest blockbuster film at the cinema in Dover or Sandwich. The outdoor Christmas events in the area are open to all and are a wonderful way to beat the winter blues. Dover's Winter Light-Up, Sandwich Lights Switch-On and Deal's Christmas Parade and Lights Switch-On are marvellously uplifting gatherings and are sure to get you in the festive spirit. Christmas markets in our towns and villages are perfect places to buy special gifts and festive treats. See our What's On pages for details.

A lantern parade of star-shaped lanterns headed by a large fox lantern and drummers.
Dover's annual Winter Light Up is a wonderful event with a lantern parade through the town centre.

Five favourite things

We asked locals for their favourite things to do here in winter – here are the top five:

1 "Buy a takeaway hot drink from one of the lovely local cafes in Dover and walk along the promenade and the pier – you'll get the best views of the seafront, marina and cliffs. Afterwards, visit Dover Museum and the Bronze Age Boat Gallery where you'll see the oldest boat in the world (around 3000 years old!), amazing displays of fascinating local history and a lovely shop for retail therapy."

2 "Walk across the clifftop from St Margaret's Bay to Walmer or further to Deal for lunch and back again – you may see stonechats on fenceposts and meadow pipits in the grass. (By the way, it's uphill on the way back!) Treat yourself to a hearty lunch at a pub - there is The Zetland Arms on the beach at Kingsdown or The Kings Head on the seafront in Deal."

3 "Take the train to Sandwich for a walk around the photogenic old town and stop for a drink in one of the lovely pubs and bars, such as The Red Cow, The Waiting Room and The Old Pharmacy Bar. Book a boat trip with the River Runner from Sandwich Quay - it's a great time of year to see grey seals on the banks of the Stour."

4 "Wrap up warm and visit Samphire Hoe (the cafe is open at weekends), where you may spot winter birds such as red-throated divers, or head to Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory to see overwintering birds there. It's spectacular as the sun goes down."

5 "Walk along the seafront in Deal and stop for a coffee in one of the lovely cafes (where dogs may also get a biscuit!). Deal Pier is a great place to blow away the cobwebs and there's a fabulous view of the town from the seaward end of the pier. You can buy hot drinks and meals from Deal Pier Kitchen."