We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Which London hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Boston...
Level Contributor
2,660 posts
11 reviews
Save Topic
Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Hubby is asking about doing a day trip to Dover this visit. Some of the TA search answers I get are quite old.

What's the easiest/fastest/or most pleasant way to get there?

I'm assuming it's a couple of hours from London.

Beyond the Cliffs and Castle, what else in there to see?

I am pushing for trip to Oxford instead.

Can anyone do a quick comparison as far as travel time, cost, value, sites in the 2 locals?

Help me convince him to do things my way! lol

Upminster, United...
Level Contributor
11,284 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

>> Beyond the Cliffs and Castle, what else in there to see? <<

Not even those in Oxford, so why would you consider it. Dover has so much more to see than Oxford - even France on a good (?) day.

Travel time/cost will be about the same for both.

Sites

Dover; cliffs, Norman castle, roman ruins, WWII tunnels

Oxford; a few fairly identical college buildings and lots of bicycles.

Edited: 11 August 2010, 13:05
Rayleigh, United...
Destination Expert
for Seoul, Rothenburg
Level Contributor
11,041 posts
223 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Oxford is more atmospheric than Dover, I think. It has, er, colleges. And a river and a botannical garden. And a few churches.

Personally if I wanted those things I'd probably go to Cambridge instead.It's a bit closer (depending on where you're staying of course!)

But if faced with Dover as an alternative, I think that -after having been there recently- I'd go there (even go there again).

For all, I guess the train wins. Although there are bus tours that might add other places on the way.

- sorry two votes against you

Aberdeen, Scotland
Level Contributor
1,914 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Both Dover and Oxford (and Cambridge) have frequent train services - at least every 30 minutes on weekdays. Trains for Oxford depart from London Paddington, trains to Dover depart from Charing Cross, Victoria, London Bridge and St Pancras (the latter has the high speed Javelin service which is a bit more expensive than the slower routes from Victoria etc). Should you opt for Cambridge instead fast trains depart from Kings Cross and slower trains from Liverpool Street.

As a rough guide journey times on faster services are around 45mins (Cambridge), 60mins (Oxford) and 70mins (Dover). Although Cambridge has the shortest journey time bear in mind that station at Cambridge is a 20min walk (or short bus ride) from the city centre. I suspect that you'll be more influenced by which place best suits your interests rather than the journey time. Also, for Dover, don't rule out using the slower, cheaper train services from Victoria etc as, depending on where in London you are staying, you may find these stations much closer than St Pancras hence transfer time in London will be shorter. For Oxford there are quite large savings by booking advance (date and train specific) tickets; for the other 2 destinations an off peak day return bought at station for immediate travel is likely to be the best option. Timetable and booking (site accepts overseas payment cards and does not charge booking fees): www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Default.aspx

Ashford, Kent
Level Contributor
5 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Without a doubt Oxford..... There is nothing in Dover other than the Castle and white cliffs..... the whole area around Oxford is beautiful....

Bucks, UK
Level Contributor
4,565 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Hmm, Mr Cellophane is being a little eccentric I fear

Dover - castle, WW2 tunnels in cliffs, some interesting towns nearby if you have a car (eg Deal), but rather a drab town in itself.

Oxford - Many colleges of different vintages, size and architectural styles, some are open to visitors during term-time, and you can attend chapel services in Magdalen and Christ Church; Bodleian Library,Ashmolean Museum, Pitt-Rivers Museum, Botanical Gardens, Punting on the Isis (Thames), Christchurch Meadow, Covered market, walks up river to the Trout Inn, many ancient pubs and interesting restaurants and, if you get bored with all that, you can take a bus to Woodstock to visit Blenheim Palace.

If you really want to see a mediaeval castle - Dover would be the place, otherwise, Oxford wins hands down IMHO.

Travel time and cost - Oxford probably shades it, but not by enough to sway you one way or the other.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
2,542 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Much would depend on the weather. I would prepare to visit either, and rule out Dover on a rainy day. Just copy the rail schedules - no need to reserve anything in advance, aside from saving a few pennies.

On a fine day (fine meaning not rainy or stormy), it would be Dover for me. You can get to Dover Castle by bus from Dover Priory rail station

For Oxford, try to get there in time to take the guided Blue Badge walking tour of two or three of the colleges. See the Oxford tourist office's website for details. Without the walking tour, I'm not sure one can appreciate the colleges on a daytrip.

I would try to make time for evensong at Christ Church, even if it means a late return to London. (More info at the tourist office site)

One other thing -- there are a great many pubs in Oxford -- good to know on a rainy day.

-- Steve

Canterbury, United...
Destination Expert
for Canterbury
Level Contributor
3,461 posts
195 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Oxford is pretty. <<a few fairly identical college buildings>> It is the uniformity of the buildings and the way the light catches on their honey-coloured stone that gives Oxford it's charm in my opinion and makes it quite different from any other English city. Oxford is bigger and busier than Dover and has a better range of shops etc.

Dover town is more modern and not so pretty, but the castle is impressive. You can walk on the cliffs (access via the White Cliffs Gateway not too far from the castle) and watch the ferries come in and out. There are a couple of small museums - remains of a bronze age boat and the "Roman Painted House" in the town centre. Southeastern Highspeed ("Javelin") trains from St Pancras take 70 mins. From Charing Cross or Victoria takes 2 hours. There is one station in Dover, called Dover Priory. Please check for engineering works (as well as timetables and 2 for 1 offers to the castle) at http://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/

Essex
Level Contributor
27,025 posts
70 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

When I go to Dover I always like to visit the memorial to Louis Bleriot, the first man to fly across the Channel, it is on the Cliffs near the Castle:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Bl%C3%A9riot

When I go to Oxford, I like to visit the Ashmolean Museum, go for a walkabout and have a punt or a pint, and probably both!!

When I go to Cambridge, I HAVE to go for a walk along the Backs, and go for a punt, or a pint, and probably both!

Illinois
Level Contributor
16,207 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

I think it really depends on what you want to see. If Mr Flannan wants to see Dover, well, you can't see Dover anywhere else. YakkinYeti is correct about the weather, though. My daughter and I were going to do a day trip to Dover in Nov and the castle was closed due to high winds. I don't know how often they do that. We did a day trip to Dover this past June. It's at the beginning of my trip report:

http://tinyurl.com/295dbz2

We did go to Oxford as part of a Harry Potter tour a couple of years ago, so we were focusing on that part of the city (and The Golden Compass, which was also partially filmed there) but it just looked like another English city to me. Maybe if we had been there on our own it would have been different though.

Boston...
Level Contributor
2,660 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Day trip to Dover? or Oxford?

Thank you all for your input!

I think Mr. Flannan is working off somewhat of an inadvertant theme this year. We are driving thru Normandy before arrival in London. We also have our first visit to the Imperial War Museum on the agenda; we've seemed to miss it every time over.

I was eager on Oxford having read so many books and seen so many films in which it figures.

You'll have to read my Trip Report to see which we've chosen :-)

Why is there never enough time for everything!!!