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“This is most definately a place to make the effort to visit - excellent”

South Foreland Lighthouse
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Private Tour: White Cliffs of Dover Guided Tour including South Foreland Walk
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Private Shore Excursion: White Cliffs of Dover Half-Day Tour from Dover
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Private Tour: White Cliffs of Dover Day Tour with Leeds Castle Guided Tour
Ranked #3 of 55 things to do in Dover
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: A remote, isolated, pristine-white, solid beacon; a place of innovation and scientific firsts, now also a romantic hideaway and big-hearted family haven, the South Foreland lighthouse stands proud atop the White Cliffs of Dover. It surprises and delights with its warmth of welcome and unexpectedly wistful atmosphere, quaint and charming and yet robust and protecting. Like the Knott family of the past, its current keepers, who mostly offer their time for free, are witness to events and show commitment and spirit in manning the light. Inside the Victorian tower, surprising stories unfold of a unique history that has shaped our world and influenced our travel, our trade, and our industrial and maritime heritage. Outside seemingly endless skies roll away across the English Channel and 21 miles away, the coast of France splits the sky from the sea. Serenity is broken when waves steepen, dark clouds tumble in, the wind lashes and the mouth-watering views are swallowed up. The lighthouse stands its ground and is once again protector, until the calm returns as quickly as it left and butterflies come out of hiding. Arrival is on foot across the beautiful and yet challenging cliffs, thus the lighthouse attracts the more adventurous. None the less, children’s laughter is all around, and the nostalgia of Mrs Knott’s tearoom attracts all generations, those who come to reflect and those who want to find out more about the traditions of the past. From its post on top of the gateway to Britain, South Foreland Lighthouse watches over their past, their present and their future.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Reviewed 5 June 2014

Tuesday the 27th May - As National Trust members we parked free in the National Trust car park at the beginning of the White Cliffs Walk (non members pay a small fee for the car park and entry to the Lighthouse),this route overlooks the Dover Port, it took us about 50mins to walk along the Eastern path, clearly marked and with work in progress to make it easier for disabled access. The rain had stopped but the pathway was muddy but still enjoyable.
We got to the South Foreland Lighthouse around 4.15pm and the last tour was due to start another couple joined our group of 4 and the 6 of us were given a first class tour, starting from the outside looking up and across to what we were assured was France, then from the bowels of the stack right up to the top taking in along the way all the back up systems that were put in place to ensure a light was always there, the mechanical clockwork like structure was in full view and in full working order we climbed the last stairs to include a walk outside the top, where by now a Westerly squall had started, it was at that stage the 4 of us all looked at each other thinking how wet we were going to be after walking 1 hour back to the car.
The tour guide was exceptionally knowledgeable, amusing and with an excellent way of describing the workings and procedures of this one time pioneering lighthouse. We were astounded that this Victorian masterpiece of engineering and weighing 5 tons could be moved with one push of a finger.
This visit is not just a walk up and down the stairs in a lighthouse, it's an inside look at just how dangerous the sea can be to unsuspecting mariners and how the ingenuity of the earlier designers, inventors and keepers of lighthouses kept so many of them alive and out of danger.
Finally a big thank you to the excellent tour guide who took us around the lighthouse and then on driving out of the staff car park insisted we jump into his lovely clean car to run us back to the visitors centre, a true gentleman, thank you again.

3  Thank DerbyFolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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259 - 263 of 378 reviews

Reviewed 31 May 2014

My first visit and I was delighted, only really visited the tea room and boy what a tea room it is, real loose leaf tea in real china tea pots and china cups and saucers, I was in heaven!!! cakes were perfect too, especially the apple cake and even though I didn't have it, the soup looked and smelt inviting, there were games and kites for children as well as tours up the light house (which I believe has a fee), there were numerous water bowls around the site for the canine visitors too, why on earth have I not visited before now? One thing for sure is that I shall be visiting again.

2  Thank Loz T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2014

We came here in 1998, and the lighthouse was nearly as organized as now. We'd wandered out here to walk the cliffs, and happened into the lighthouse. There were a few pamphlets there, and it was dark and chilly. We were alone on the walk, and thought maybe we were trespassing! We'd had a wonderful time on the cliffs, however, and had a memorable walk getting there. This time when we went, it's a full-on National trust site, with walks much more "organized" and the lighthouse has interactive displays, multiple guides and very knowledgeable tours. We learned so much! While we missed our "private little experience" We'd had years ago, we thoroughly enjoy the tours, which were reasonable and worth it. They will answer any questions, and really work to their audience. They are all volunteers too! Worth it for the views, the tours, and the real english experience. There's a tea room during certain months (the tours don't always operate either, check the schedule), which looked like it would be a nice experience.

1  Thank dakotakidz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 May 2014

After invigorating walk from main visitor reception being assured of refreshment and tour were disappointed to find the only refreshment was being eaten by two workmen on their lunch break. We knew that the building was being renovated and accepted this but to find everything promised not available was a big let down. NT take note. Cannot rate building as there was nothing to see.

Thank tartancustard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NT W, Manager at South Foreland Lighthouse, responded to this reviewResponded 2 June 2014

Unfortunately you must have come up on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday as they were the days we are closed. If someone from the Visitor Centre at Langdon Cliffs had told you otherwise then they were misinformed and at our next weekly meeting it will be reiterated the importance of correct information especially opening times.

If you would like to revisit on a day we are open you are more than welcome to and email me and we can sort something complimentary for you


p.s. From the begining of June we are open on Thursdays

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Reviewed 11 May 2014

Really pleasant trip to this lighthouse! Its a must if walking the White Cliffs, Amazing Tearoom too.

Thank Paul S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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