When I landed in London, I wanted to step out on the streets and say “Honey, I’m home!” It really was coming home. I immediately felt the Brit inside me settle in contentment. #anglophile-forever The first hostel, Phoenix Hostel, might have been rather terrible, but it was so much better than Italy! The nights I booked ranged from nine to thirteen pounds pre-tax. The initial deposit is part of the total, of course.
I wanted to make this visit to London special. I chose to visit a place that I wouldn’t regret seeing. One of the places that had caught my attention for ages was The Great Cliffs of Dover. It just seemed so Romantic and sublime to me in pictures. #sojaneausten I think I even made this exact story post on Instagram.
So, I got myself ready for a normal hiking day. One workout scarf, a pair of hiking boots, and some comfy workout leggings later… I was all set. Ignore the fact that I wore the same shirt to Pompeii that I did to the cliffs. Backpacking requires the reuse of not-so-smelly clothes every so often.
From my London hostel, I made my way to St. Pancras train station. I had checked the schedules out to Dover, Kent. It was an easy train ride for me. It was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some amazing views of the English countryside. And, in some ways, it also helped me decide if I might be able to handle a longer train trip to Scotland in the future.
They have maps of Dover at the train station. The trail is mostly clear to follow. It leads through the town, to the beach, and up the path that leads directly to the the cliffs. It gets a little tricky at some points because of the grass and weed overgrowth and the sheer steepness of the first climb.
I’m a slow-but-steady type of hiker. After what felt like a near vertical climb, I still felt okay to keep walking. I might have been a little sweaty and out of breathe. My goal was to hike all the way to the lighthouse at the end of the cliff paths, but I got about 3/4th of the way before I realized that I didn’t have enough sunlight to make it back to London at a decent time.
The little shop that greets visitors is amazing. They’ve got tons of cute things you can buy as a souvenir and some yummy macaroni and cheese. Part of what I love about England is their effort to have their free museums and landmark locations become self-sustaining by supporting local product makers and using recycled materials.
Anyway, I had a blast. It’s a highly recommended spot, especially for those seasoned in navigating England overall. After London, the countryside is really where the eye should wander. The Cliffs of Great Dover is a place for hikers. If you really want to explore the park in its entirety, book a hotel nearby; it might be more worthwhile.
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