Perhaps you’re planning your first trip down to the Kent coast or know this part of the world like the back of your hand. Either way, here is a growing collection of useful planning tools and ideas to enhance your experience of CHALKUP21.
GETTING THERE // General travel information for getting to either Folkestone, Dover or Deal by TRAIN, CAR or BIKE.
BY TRAIN From London St Pancras station, you can get the high speed service to Folkestone Central, Dover Priory and Deal depending on where you would like to start your walk.
BOOK YOUR RAIL TICKETS HERE
BY BUS If you arrive at Dover Priory Railway Station to start walking the trail from Capel-le-Ferne, catch the Stagecoach bus numbers 100, 101 or 102 (The Wave Service) from the station bus stop.
If you arrive in Dover by bus you can catch the ‘Wave’ bus from bus stop X at the Dover Penchester Bus Station.
You will see signs for the Battle of Britain Memorial and will need to alight at this bus stop for The Wing building. The journey time is approximately 13 minutes. The Wave bus service also operates from Folkestone Central station and the journey takes 25-30 minutes.
To access Samphire Hoe catch Bus no. 61 from stop D at Dover Pencester Gardens bus station to Aycliffe, then walk across the bridge and down through the tunnel to the education shelter on foot. This is a 10-minute journey and remember you will need to walk back up the moderately steep hill to get back.
BY CAR If you’re coming by car, here is some information about parking facilities to help you plan:
Dover Parking information for Dover is available here.
Deal Parking information for Deal is available here. If you begin the trail from Deal, the first trail attraction will be the Deal Pier Café.
Folkestone Parking information for Folkestone is available here. If you begin the trail from Folkestone, the first trail attraction will be The Wing at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne. Please note that the car park at The Battle of Britain closes at 5pm.
// Don’t forget // You will have to factor in how to return to your car via public transport or return the way you came.
BY BICYCLE Deal, Dover and Folkestone are accessible by bicycle via the National Cycle Routes. Some sections of the CHALKUP21 route are suitable for cycling – but please plan ahead carefully for your own safety.
SUGGESTED WALKS // Although the full CHALKUP21 trail runs all the way from Capel-le-Ferne to Deal, there are a number of ways that this can be broken down into shorter, more manageable journeys, depending on your preference. The trail uses the North Downs Way and English Coastal Path National trails, so you shouldn’t have to worry about signage or getting lost along the way. Here are our recommended walks:
Dover Esplanade to the White Cliffs
This walk showcases all three of the featured CHALKUP21 public artworks. Begin at Dover Sea Sports Centre (2010) and walk along the sea front towards the Eastern Docks. As you walk, you will pass Tonkin Liu’s ‘Three Waves’ (2009) and Alma Tischler Wood’s ‘Start/Finish Line’ (2011) on the Dover Esplanade. At the end of Athol Terrace, you will see the first of Elaine Tribley’s six ‘Dover Totems’ (2017). As you climb the path up to the top of the White Cliffs you will pass more of the totems, which double as resting points from where you can take in stunning views of the port of Dover before you reach the final totem at the top of the path, shortly before the White Cliffs Visitor Centre.
Walking Time: 2 Hours.
White Cliffs Visitor Centre to the South Foreland Lighthouse
A breathtakingly scenic walk for those who want a stroll along the cliffs. Beginning at the White Cliffs Visitor Centre (1999), which has been designed to blend in and merge with its environment, you walk along the cliffs towards the South Foreland Lighthouse, a Victorian lighthouse that used to warn the ships approaching the nearby Goodwin sands. This walk is suitable as a circular walk, both the White Cliffs Visitor Centre and the South Foreland Lighthouse have a café.
Walking time: 2 Hours
Samphire Hoe to Dover Esplanade
Located between Dover and Folkestone, at the bottom of the cliffs, Samphire Hoe is one of the most unusual landscapes along the trail. It comprises an outstanding nature reserve on a completely man-made piece of land constructed from the chalk marl excavated during the building of the Channel Tunnel. Here you will encounter beautiful scenery, with wildflowers, birds, ponies and, of course, a spot for a picnic. It is also here that you can visit the Samphire Hoe Education Shelter, which officially opened in November 2015. From Samphire Hoe, you can walk to Dover Esplanade where you will see Dover Sea Sports Centre (2010), Tonkin Liu’s ‘Three Waves’ (2009) and Alma Tischler Wood’s ‘Start/Finish Line’ (2011).
Walking Time: 3 Hours
Dover Esplanade to the Pines Calyx
This walk showcases the beautiful scenery of the cliffs, incorporates three public artworks, and two very intriguing 21st-century buildings. From Dover town centre, stroll along the Dover Esplanade, passing Dover Sea Sports Centre (2010), Tonkin Liu’s ‘Three Waves’ (2009) and Alma Tischler Wood’s ‘Start/Finish Line’ (2011) towards the Eastern Docks. At the end of Athol terrace, marked by the first of Elaine Tribley’s six Dover Totems. Walk up the path towards the White Cliffs Visitor Centre (1999), which is nestled in the landscape and overlooks Dover Castle. After a gorgeous walk along the cliffs, you will arrive at the hobbit-like Pines Calyx (2006), where you can stop for a bite to eat at the Garden Tea Room. If you would like to travel back to Dover from the Pines Calyx, catch bus number 81 from Bay Hill.
Walking time: 2 – 3 Hours
Capel-le-Ferne to Dover Esplanade
Capel-le-Ferne to the Dover Esplanade is a very exciting walk – just keep a watch out for adders – the views are truly fantastic and for most of the way you really are walking on the edge. Walk from The Wing (2015) at the Battle of Britain Memorial in Capel-le-Ferne all the way along the cliffs before going through the tunnel down to the Samphire Hoe Education Shelter (2014). The next stretch passes along Shakespeare Cliff on the way towards the Dover Esplanade and the Dover Sea Sports Centre (2010), Tonkin Liu’s ‘Three Waves’ (2009) and Alma Tischler Wood’s ‘Start/Finish Line’ (2011).
Walking Time: 5 – 6 hours including a stop for lunch at the Spindrift Cafe at Samphire Hoe.
Dover to Deal
Dover to Deal is a beautiful walk, marked by large stretches of open land and punctuated by interesting architectural features including sound mirrors at Fan Bay and the South Foreland lighthouse. From Dover town centre, you walk towards the Eastern Docks along Athol Terrace and up the path to the White Cliffs, marked by Elaine Tribley’s six Dover Totems (2016). From here, walk towards the White Cliffs Visitor Centre, which is nestled in the landscape and overlooks Dover Castle. After a gorgeous walk along the cliffs, you will arrive at The Pines Calyx (2006), where you can stop for a bite to eat at the Garden Tea Room. Once you set off again, you will walk through lush green fields on your way to Kingsdown, where you start the long walk along the beach towards the Deal Pier Café (2008).
Walking Time: 5 hours.
MARATHON WALK: The CHALKUP21 Challenge (for the hardy and experienced walker)
Capel-le-Ferne to Deal
If you would like to try to see all nine featured CHALKUP21 buildings and attractions in one day, begin early in the morning and start from Capel-le-Ferne at The Wing (2015) building. From here, you will walk all the way along the cliffs with a detour to the Samphire Hoe Education Shelter (2014), before continuing to the Dover Sea Sports Centre (2010), Tonkin Liu’s ‘Three Waves’ (2009) and Alma Tischler Wood’s ‘Start/Finish Line’ (2011). With Dover marking the halfway point, you proceed to the White Cliffs Visitor Centre (1999) passing the six Dover Totems (2016) before carrying on to the Pines Calyx (2006) and end at the Deal Pier Café (2008) following the directions given for the Dover to Deal walk.
FOOD & DRINK // CHALKUP21 isn‘t designed to be a culinary journey, but if you prefer a hot snack to your cold sandwich or would simply like to discover what Dover, Folkestone and Deal have to offer on the food & drink side of life, then here are a few carefully chosen recommendations to get you started.
White Horse Inn, St James St, Dover CT16 1QF
The White Horse Inn has been made famous by its walls, which are covered from floor to ceiling with the names of those who have completed a channel swim from Dover to the French coast. With delicious meals on offer and a plentiful selection of beers, it’s a perfect place to recover and recuperate while you marvel at the sheer volume of channel swimmers who have flocked to Dover from all over the world.
Castle Take Away, 48 Castle Street, Dover CT16 1PJ
A take-away that’s perfect for hungry walkers! This is your place to get hot, tasty food at a very reasonable price. It’s a venue that’s extremely popular with visitors and locals alike – so much so that there’s often a short queue for the fish and chips. And if you’re feeling really hungry, you can always try their spam fritter…
Cullins Yard, 11 Cambridge Rd, Dover CT17 9BY
A pleasant rest-stop overlooking Dover Marina, Cullins Yard sits in an old converted shipyard. The restaurant boasts intriguing nautical memorabilia and offers a wide range of menu options including large sandwiches, seafood, and traditional English dishes. Their outside area includes overhead heating, so you can sit and watch the sun gently descend behind the White Cliffs.
The Hythe Bay Seafood Restaurant, Esplanade, Dover CT17 9FS
This high quality Seafood restaurant occupies the top floor of the Dover Sea Sports building with a balcony with wonderful views overlooking Dover Harbour, Dover Esplanade and the White Cliffs.
Black Douglas Coffee house, 83 Beach St, Deal CT14 6JB
A cosy nook to take refuge in with a cup of coffee and a large slice of cake, the Black Douglas is an intimate café with great views of the sea front and a small lunch menu.
Through the Spaceseven website http://spaceseven.co.uk/
OVERNIGHT STAYS // The Kent coastline offers a wide choice of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, from a converted gatehouse to seaside hotels, or even a bedroom in the heart of an exhibition gallery. Here are some of our suggestions for some unique places to lay your head…
The Gate House, Victoria Park, Dover CT16 1QR
This Grade II listed, pocket-sized Gothic castle was built in 1850 and is now a fairy-tale holiday residence. It is believed to have been built as the gate house for the officers of the Dover Castle Garrison, who were housed in an impressive crescent of homes in Victoria Park. Situated a short walk from the city centre, the Gate House is nestled under the grounds of Dover castle.
Dover Marina Hotel, Dover Waterfront, Waterloo Crescent, Dover CT17 9BP
With gorgeous views overlooking the waterfront and Dover Sea Sports centre, the Marina Hotel offers an excellent location that’s right on the doorstep of the CHALKUP21 trail. Be sure to request a room with a sea view.
Travelodge Dover, St James Street, Dover CT16 1QD
Part of the new St James retail and leisure complex in Dover town centre, this Travelodge is offering walkers of the CHALKUP21 trail a 5% discount when using the link below to book a room.
Space2stay at Space Gallery, Folkestone
Space2stay offer a couple-friendly luxury double bedroom tucked away in an independent art gallery. Bear in mind that, as well as a gallery, they also have a licensed bar which means that they will often be open until midnight in the middle of an ever-evolving town centre – there’s a chance people will be having fun and this means it could potentially be noisier than the Travelodge down the road. However, it will be an evening to remember, and you may even have time to peruse their latest exhibition.
CAMPING // If the weather forecast looks good and you’re feeling brave, you could also camp! Find a campsite by looking at the affiliated National Trails campsites.
NAVIGATING THE TRAIL // The 9 CHALKUP21 structures are linked between Folkestone and Deal by the North Downs Way and England Coastal Path National Trail routes. You can plan your route through these links:
Capel to Dover (North Downs Way)
Dover to Deal (England Coast Path)
Follow the North Downs Way National Trail from The Wing at Capel-le-Ferne or Folkestone, depending where you are starting, to the Dover Esplanade, where you will find the Dover Sea Sports Centre, Three Waves and the START/FINISH Line (North Downs Way end of trail marker).
To get to the Samphire Hoe Education Shelter, you have to make a detour across a field off the North Downs Way to get to the entrance to the tunnel leading to the Samphire Hoe nature reserve: walk down the tunnel on the footpath beside where the cars go.
From the Dover Esplanade, follow the England Coast Path National Trail towards the Eastern Docks taking the path to the cliffs at the end of Athol Terrace marked by one of the Dover Totems. The path takes you under the Jubilee Way Motorway bridge up to the White Cliffs Visitors Centre, across the cliffs to the South Foreland lighthouse and down to the Pines Calyx in St Margarets Bay, across the next lot of Cliffs to Kingsdown and along the coastal path to the Deal Pier Café.
MAPS TO PRINT AT HOME // The TRAIL MAP on the homepage of the website is meant for online use – however you can zoom in and print out sections of the trail at a scale to navigate the trail on foot. An Ordnance Survey map will provide you with the detail required to safely navigate the trail as well (you would probably have to make a note of where the 9 STRUCTURES are along the coast and mark the sites on your map). The main issue with printable maps of the CHALKUP21 Trail is that the scale required for walking is so very much larger than that required for driving, for instance, so that any map covering the whole area at a large enough scale would have to be very large in size and therefore quite impossible to print at home on conventional printers using A4 sized paper. However, we have created four maps that might be of help and can be downloaded here:
MAP: CAPEL-LE-FERNE TO DOVER
MAP: DOVER TO ST. MARGARET’S BAY
MAP: ST. MARGARET’S BAY TO DEAL
TRAIL TIPS // A special selection of sites along the CHALKUP21 Trail that are well worth pausing for while you enjoy your walk from one of the 9 STRUCTURES to the next. Read about the TRAIL TIPS below and view the site marked on the interactive map.
BANKSY MURAL VIEW ON MAP Dover and its White Cliffs have loomed large in media coverage of Brexit. A landscape seen by millions of people arriving in and departing from Britain every year, it seems fitting that Banksy, the world’s most famous graffiti artist, would choose Dover as the site for a piece to comment on the UK’s departure from the EU…