Folkestone to Dover walk

Coastal Walk along the cliffs to Dover via Folkestone Warren.


This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date Option Post # Weather
Sat, 12-Aug-23 Folkestone to Dover (or Folkestone Circular) 13 mixed
Sat, 19-Mar-22 Silent walk 2 sunny day
Sat, 03-Dec-16 Saturday Second Walk - a winter breeze along the clifftops 7 fairly sunny with a cold easterly wind
Sun, 05-Jul-15 Extra Swimming Walk - Folkestone Circular
Sun, 09-Mar-14 Folkestone Circular 15
Mon, 26-Aug-13 Folkestone Circular
Wed, 19-Jun-13 Folkestone Circular
Sat, 29-Sep-12 a Folkestone to Dover
Wed, 01-Aug-12 Folkestone Circular
Sat, 28-Jan-12 a Folkestone to Dover
Sun, 11-Sep-11 Folkestone Circular
Sun, 01-May-11 a Folkestone to Dover
Sat, 22-Jan-11 a Folkestone to Dover
Sat, 22-May-10 Folkestone Circular
Sat, 06-Feb-10 Folkestone Circular
Sun, 28-Jun-09 b Folkestone to Dover
Sun, 24-Aug-08 b Folkestone to Dover
Wed, 16-Jul-08 b Folkestone to Dover
Sun, 23-Sep-07 b Folkestone to Dover
Sat, 03-Mar-07 b Folkestone to Dover
Sun, 08-Oct-06 b Folkestone to Dover

Length: Main walk: 14.8km (9.2 miles)

a) Via the Cliftop Cafe: 15.9km (9.9 miles)

b) Avoiding the Warren: 15.2km (9.4 miles)

c) Folkestone Circular: 12.9km (8 miles) or 13.9km (8.6 miles)


Toughness: Mostly 5 out of 10; the steep climb is a 9 out of 10 but this can be avoided if you do options a or b


9.52 from Victoria – arrives Folkestone at 11.37

10.37 from London St. Pancras arrives Folkestone at 11.37 (this involves changing at Ashford Intl. Train arrives at Ashford 11.14 and you catch the 11.19 to Folkestone).

Return Trains:

From Dover Priory:

xx.00 and xx.48 for London St Pancras

xx.00 and xx.05 for Victoria

From Folkestone:

xx.58 and xx.10 to London St Pancras

xx.10 to Victoria

Ticket types: Buy return to Dover if walking there or Folkestone return

Lunch and Tea: See walk notes for options


A highly scenic coastal walk with fine sea views throughout. Walk through the interesting part of the town, and then climb up past a Martello Tower (Napoleonic-era fortification) and out into the Warren, an interesting area of wild coastland and former landslips, where you walk along concrete sea defences and then climb on a steep, but not vertiginous, path up to the top of the cliff.

The rest of the route into Dover is along the top of the chalk cliffs, passing a fascinating series of World War II installations, including a rare sound mirror (an early form of aircraft detection that was superseded by radar), and some large gun emplacements. Walking into Dover is pretty dramatic - a narrow (but not difficult) ridge between an inland valley and the sea. The walk finishes by crossing the town’s Western Heights, passing deserted 19th century forts and with wonderful views of the town and port.

Details of walk can be found here:


  • 12-Aug-23

    Don’t let anyone tell you high speed trains are not popular. Southeastern Highspeed were having a stellar day despite a mixed weather forecast. All seats taken on the 10.37, and the 10.07 (which I got) was pretty busy. Coming back, the 17.48 from Dover was likewise at capacity.

    12 of us started the walk. First order of business: would we finish in Folkestone or Dover? Dover edged it. I was pleased. It is an interesting walk but rarely gets done. I am not sure if it has ever been done in summer.

    We had quite a bit of sunshine in the morning and that inspired four of us, once we got to Folkestone Warren, to have a swim. The sea was a lovely temperature, a bit wavy, but nothing serious. The others had lunch on the beach.

    Ah, lunch. It fell to me to point out what the walk post did not, that we were unlikely to get any. The Royal Oak is very basic and still operating as far as I know, but was not to be relied on. So those that had not already, bought sandwiches at the start.

    Just after we got to the Warren beach walker number 13 joined us, having driven to Folkestone. But when we stopped to swim, he decided to carry on. We never saw him again. Whether it counts when someone is with the group for just 500 metres, I do not know. But his stated intention was to continue on the route, so I include him.

    After lunch it clouded up and even drizzled for a short time. This dampened spirits just a bit on the “big climb”. At the top of the cliff strong winds were a factor, but once clear of the cliff edge they eased. During the windy bit one walker took a more inland route around a house and never reappeared. I have no idea why not, as the only option was to rejoin the main path.

    There was some sun thereafter but a lot of cloud. We stopped at the Sound Mirror. We looked down on Samphire Hoe. We went inside a WW2 gun emplacement. Thus far group cohesion was good, but I then fell behind due to those twin evils, butterflying and walk checking. Four walkers kindly waited for me, and we had a bit of a sit down. When we restarted, two went the obvious way, which was wrong, and by the time I realised this, they were out of earshot. They too evaporated into thin air. I have no idea how they got to Dover given the way they went.

    The remaining trio followed the specified route, with lots of interest on the way, including Dover’s forgotten beach and the little-visited forts on the Western Heights. From what I learned later, most of the rest of the group did the same. We got to Dover at 5pm, and skies being grey, abandoned thoughts of going to the beach and went to Costa Coffee in a new shopping plaza before getting the aforementioned train home.

    Any variant accounts welcome….

Sat, 19-Mar-22 : Silent walk 2
Folkestone Circular walk T=swc.13
  • 17-Mar-22

    Intend going.

  • 20-Mar-22

    A beautiful sunny day for this coastal walk. 2 off us including one regular (first time for silent walk) SWC walker (thanks to advice by TG not to leave posting of silent walks on SWC website until the night before). We took the route through the Warren, but once on the coast with the rising tide considered it prudent to backtrack. Thereafter dropped directions and went via Little CH and through tranquil woodland and then up a zigzag path to the seasonal (and consequently closed) Clifftop Café. Found a peaceful clifftop spot, one of us took their packed lunch here...and so back into Folkestone where we parted one to explore the town, me to find a pub for a late lunch, real ale off; no matter a welcome pint of Leffe brought back memories of a year in Brussels.

SWC Walk 13 - Folkestone to Dover
Length: 14.5km (9 miles) or 15.5km (9.6 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

9.34 train from St Pancras International to Folkestone, arriving 10.30

(Or the 8.40 from Charing Cross, 8.49 London Bridge, to Folkestone, arriving 10.21)

Buy a day return to Dover "plus high speed" if using the specified train

For walk directions click here.

OK, I realise this is a hostage to the weather. If it is wet and windy, best give this walk a miss. But if the weather is clear, or at least stable, a walk along the chalk cliffs can be a bracing treat. This walk has made a good winter outing before.

Today will also introduce you to some minor tweaks to the walk route, which all date back to the summer when it looked like the original steep path up the cliffs on the Folkestone Circular walk had become overgrown. That path has since been cleared, but in the meantime I devised two new starts to the walk, one or other of which you can try today:

- The new main walk takes you straight up onto the cliff top from Folkestone (reversing the ending of the Folkestone Circular walk) and keeps you there all the way to Dover

- Option a) takes you along the wild seafront of the Warren, as per the original Folkestone Circular, but gives you a longer option that takes you by another cliff-climbing path up to the lunch options for this walk. This is the 15.5km/9.6 mile option.

Either way your lunch stop is most likely to be the the Lighthouse Inn: I would be surprised if the Clifftop Cafe is open, and I have no recent information on the Royal Oak a bit further on.

The afternoon of the walk gets increasingly interesting as it approaches Dover, with a lovely path along the cliff edge, interesting World War II gun emplacements and views, and a beautiful narrowing ridge as you approach your destination. There is also a main road not far inland, but its noise is less troubling if the wind is coming off the sea. The last section into Dover climbs over the Western Heights with its slightly spooky Napoleonic era fortifications.

Dover itself is not a place you will want to linger, but its one bright spot is a typically large and cosy Weatherspoons pub. There is also a Costa Coffee open till 6.30pm.

Trains back from Dover are at 49 past to St Pancras (1 hr 05) or 58 past to Charing Cross (1hr 54).

  • 03-Dec-16

    7 on this walk on a day that was fairly sunny with a cold easterly wind . After a courtesy visit to "rabbit person" (a statue) we opted for the seafront walk along the Warren, the choppy sea once managing to give four of us a drenching. Then a new path up through a wood full of hart's tongue fern and up a zigzag path cut in the cliff face to the Lighthouse Inn, which was almost empty and served nice food.

    On the clifftop in the afternoon the scenery was wonderful, with hazy views of France and glorious light patterns on the sea. The WW2 remains were interesting. The wind was damned cold, however.

    We crested the fascinating Western Heights, with their massive Napoleonic era forts, just in time for a fine panoramic view of Dover and got to its high street in time to have tea at the Dickens Corner cafe. Three then went for the 16.49 train, while four of us went to the very busy Weatherspoons (at least one part of Dover is prospering, then) for rather too much wine and the 18.49. Banter on the train with a spirited local youth and "sick as a parrot" West Ham fans (they lost 5:1) between Stratford and St P. Happy days!

T=3.13 Catch the 09:37 from St Pancras. Arrive Folkestone at 10:30

13.1km (8.2 miles) - fewer miles than the average walk :)

As it's meant to be hot, an extra seaside walk...

This is a highly scenic coastal walk with fine sea views throughout and a steep but exhilarating climb in the middle. It firstly introduces you to some of the quainter sides of Folkestone, a town which like many south coast seaside towns is undergoing something of a renaissance, and then takes you past two fine Martello Towers (part of a chain built for defence against an invasion by Napoleon). You next descend into The Warren, an unexpected area of wild coastline to the east of Folkestone, and pass along a strange concrete seafront esplanade, almost certainly left over from World War Two. In places this is cracking and care is sometimes needed, but it is perfectly well frequented. With chalk cliffs looming up to your left, on a sunny day this section of the walk can be quite entrancing. The esplanade should probably be avoided when the sea is stormy, however, and if in doubt, you can escape from it by any path leading inland, turning right along the road and later track which parallels the railway line to get to the footbridge in paragraph 28 of the walk directions. The highlight of the walk then follows – an exciting path that climbs perfectly safely and easily up among what look from below like impossibly sheer cliffs. This path owes its existence to the Warren Halt, a station on the line here from 1886 onwards, which in the Edwardian era was a popular tourist stop with a beach and tea garden. At the top of the path, there is a cafe with a spectacular view of the channel. The route takes you back along the cliff top to Folkestone, with stunning views of the English Channel and the Warren below. On the way you pass the official Battle of Britain memorial, attractively sited right on the clifftop.