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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“A slice of maritime history”

South Foreland Lighthouse
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Private Shore Excursion: White Cliffs of Dover Half-Day Tour from Dover
Ranked #1 of 2 Food & Drink in Dover
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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: Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Sittingbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
205 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“A slice of maritime history”
Reviewed 8 June 2014

The gleaming white-painted lighthouse can be reached by a 2 mile walk from the White Cliffs car park or 1 mile along a track from the village of St. Margarets at Cliffe.

This is a National Trust property so members go for free but there is a charge for non members.

The National Trust booklet says there is no car park at the lighthouse but there seemed to be people parking in a field attached to the Lighthouse, so i'm not sure which is correct.

The is an excellent little teashop attached to the Lighthouse with internal and external seating and also a refreshment hut, where tickets are obtained to enter the Lighthouse.

Admission is only possible as part of a group and you are taken around the Lighthouse by friendly, knowledgeable guides who explain the fascinating history and workings of the lighthouse from the underground basement right up to the light itself.

The views from the top of the building are (on a good day) excellent and extensive from the Isle of Thanet in the North across the Channel to France, back to Dover and inland over the Kentish countryside.

You need to note that access inside the building is via a steep staircase.

Well worth a visit.

Visited June 2014
Thank Michael M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

303 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
51 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Amazing that 3 rooms could take 80 minutes”
Reviewed 6 June 2014

Its the guides! They really know their stuff and take a very basic piece of architechture and turn it into an experience. Well worth the walk there along the cliffs from the NT car park at the White Cliffs

Visited May 2014
1 Thank perryburns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
59 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 296 helpful votes
“This is most definately a place to make the effort to visit - excellent”
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.

Visited May 2014
3 Thank DerbyFolk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Swindon, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Best cuppa for miles around”
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.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank Loz T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dayton OH
Level Contributor
92 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Enjoy the white cliffs firsthand”
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.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank dakotakidz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed South Foreland Lighthouse also viewed


Been to South Foreland Lighthouse? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing