SWC walk 30 - Dover to Deal
Length: 17l.2km (10.7 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10 10.37
train from St Pancras
(Southeastern Highspeed platforms) to Dover
, arriving 11.41 Buy a ticket in advance - a day return to Deal -
up to 6pm the day before
, online on the Southeastern website
or at staffed Southeastern stations, using the Southeastern Summer Offer.
Using the above offer, the return fare is just £10
. I am not sure whether there is limited availability on the offer, but book early to avoid disapppointment
. Otherwise it is £21
with a Network Card
so long as you use the Southeastern machines
at St Pancras (eg go up onto the departure level and use the machines just by the barriers).
I hope this above offer works OK: it is an obscure promotion with odd rules, one being that it only applies to trains after 10am, even on Saturday, hence the late start. Another rule of the offer is that "you cannot break up and resume your journey": does this mean a Deal return won't work at the barriers at Dover? I honestly don't know.
If you are a South Londoner and really really really want to be perverse you could take the 10.07 from Victoria, 10.23 Bromley South, arriving Dover at 12.06 and walk fast to catch up. The £10 offer also applies on this train. But taking the Victoria line to Kings Cross to use the high speed train makes more sense and is a LOT faster on the way back: see below.
For walk directions
You've seen Dunkirk
: now go and see where it happened. This walk gives you a grandstand view of that important little 20.7 miles of sea, without which we would now be living in a Europe dominated by Germany (Err.....)
. For a walk on the airy heights it is easy underfoot - only two climbs, few undulations. Lots of views of ferries.
Lunch is at the Coastguard
pub on the beach in St Margaret's Bay, which does food till 14.45, but if you can't hold out that long, the White Cliffs Visitor Centre
earlier in the walk does sandwiches and the like. There is also usually a refreshment kiosk
open on the beach at St Margaret's Bay. Note that in the whole middle section of this walk your phone may switch to being on a French network: this maybe does not matter as much as it did now the EU has banned extortionate roaming charges, but you still may find yourself using minutes or bytes not included in your package.
For tea, the Blue Birds Tea Room was closed for refurbishment or conversion into something else when I passed in June, but it is too soon after lunch anyway. The Zetland Arms
in Kingswood, at the start of the long flat Deal beach, is an alternative mid afternoon stop: open on fine afternoons and with tables right by the sea. Otherwise, Deal
has lots of options: I love the place at the end of the pier even if the service is a bit dozy: the views are tremendous. But other walkers have other favourites. Most SWC-ites skip the short walking tour of the old town in the walk directions in their mad rush to get to the station, but they shouldn't and neither should you. Sea swimming
: Low tide is at 5.50pm and so there should be sufficient depth for swimming at St Margaret's Bay
at lunchtime: it is not a bad place for a dip at that, a scenic and tranquil bay, but there are currents further out, so be careful. At any point on Deal beach
you will find a strong current parallel to the shore: it doesn't mean you can't swim but don't go too far out and don't expect to come back to the shore at the same place you left your clothes. Towards low tide the water can be rather mucky, but I have swum in it before and am not dead yet. Trains back
are at 31 past
train direct to St Pancras
, taking 1 hour 23 minutes
. Unless you did not get a £10 ticket and have not paid the high speed supplement, you would have to be really peverse to want to go back to Victoria, since this takes an hour longer (2hr 21) even if the connections work OK, but for the record the 00 past train northbound from Deal to Faversham offers you a rather tight 5 minute change at Faversham to a Victoria service. T=2.30