The White Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse

  • The White Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse
  • The White Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse
  • The White Cliffs and South Foreland Lighthouse

Location

Near Dover
CT15 6HP

Show in Google Maps

Contact

Call 01304 852463 or email ellie.weston@nationaltrust.org.uk Please note No direct vehicular access to the lighthouse. Parking is available at the White Cliffs of Dover Visitor Centre, then take a stunning 2 mile cliff top walk along the cliffs following the way-marked trail.

Opening Times

See link below for opening times

Facilities

Toilets Disabled Food Drink

About

The White Cliffs including Fan Bay and South Foreland Lighthouse

The White Cliffs of Dover are high chalk cliffs overlooking the English Channel with views to France.  They are one of the most famous landmarks in the UK and an icon of Britishness. The cliffs have played a key role in defending our coastline from invasion as well as being an area of natural beauty and important habitat for grassland plants and insects. Charles Darwin visited the cliffs to study the fossils exposed on their face.

The cliffs are the site of important developments in Britain’s island defences as well as the technology used to steer shipping through the treacherous Dover Strait. The pioneering South Foreland Lighthouse was the first to use electric light and was also the site of Marconi’s first two-way ship-to-shore radio message using Morse code. The Fan Bay sound mirrors, dating from 1917, are an early version of radar and the Fan Bay tunnels of 1940 housed an important gun battery. A visit to the site brings to life key developments in science and history as well as encouraging reflections on our status as an island nation.

Guided Tours are available during opening hours and last 30 minutes.

Activities

Maths

Land Ahoy – Be a Navigator for the Day

Land Ahoy – Be a Navigator for the Day

On a clear day you can see France from the White Cliffs of Dover, some 21 miles away. The first successful aeroplane flight across the English Channel was done in 1909, but on a cloudy day with limited visibility. Frenchman Louis Bleriot managed the journey without a compass, using sightings of ships below in the sea, to act as pointers to Dover. In 1930 Amy Johnson also flew over the Channel, becoming the first female solo pilot to make a successful flight from London to Australia. She only managed to navigate such a vast and intrepid journey by calling on all her skills of map interpretation, compass reading and shear resourcefulness.
Through the course of the day, see how resourceful you can be in working out which way is north without using a compass.

The Wonder of Waves

The Wonder of Waves

Exploring the pathways along the tops of the White Cliffs of Dover offer a breath-taking experience, with extensive high level views that overlook the English Channel, and on a good day even across to the French coast. Not only have these walks drawn the interest of tourists over the centuries, but also scientists! Inventors such as Faraday and Marconi have been inspired to use the unique geographic conditions as a test bed location for their ground breaking inventions.

Take a walk along the cliff tops and be inspired… you’re literally walking in the footsteps of some of history’s scientific giants!

English

Be a Reporter for the Day

Be a Reporter for the Day

Be a reporter for a day. Or use what you see as inspiration for a fantastic story. Here are some ideas about how you could use the sites as the setting for fiction or to form the backdrop for a report?

Poetry Activities

Poetry Activities

Poets use their senses to create their poems. Here are some activities that you can do on site to help you produce fantastic poetry based on your experiences.

Other texts you might want to look at:

– Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4 scene 1 (from ‘Dost thou know Dover’) and scene 6 (to Lear’s entrance).
– Carol Ann Duffy, ‘White Cliffs’
– Daljit Nagra, ‘Look we have coming to Dover’
– See also http://www.poetryatlas.com/search/white+cliffs.html

Poetry – Matthew Arnold ‘Dover Beach’

Poetry – Matthew Arnold ‘Dover Beach’

Matthew Arnold wrote his notes for Dover Beach when he was on his honeymoon in Dover in 1851. Can you describe the sea as well as he does? What does it make you think of? The sea and the cliffs are ages old – how does that make you feel? What are your hopes for the future? Look around you and discover how what you see can inspire you.

Poetry Ros Barber ‘Listening Ear’

Poetry Ros Barber ‘Listening Ear’

Everyone likes listening in to other people’s conversations! Write a poem where you imagine you are a sound mirror listening to conversations in France and in the port of Dover. What can you hear?

History

There’ll Be Blue Birds Over….

There’ll Be Blue Birds Over….

Dover’s famous White Cliffs have become a symbol of Britain. They have also been the site of feats of engineering, wartime defences and gun emplacements, and the UK’s busiest port. What evidence can you find of their history? And how would you create a song or poster to celebrate the cliffs today?

Entrance to the South Foreland Lighthouse is by guided tour only and to Fan Bay Tunnels is by pre-booked ticket only. Both sites are run by the National Trust.

Physics

The Wonder of Waves

The Wonder of Waves

Exploring the pathways along the tops of the White Cliffs of Dover offer a breath-taking experience, with extensive high level views that overlook the English Channel, and on a good day even across to the French coast. Not only have these walks drawn the interest of tourists over the centuries, but also scientists! Inventors such as Faraday and Marconi have been inspired to use the unique geographic conditions as a test bed location for their ground breaking inventions.

Take a walk along the cliff tops and be inspired… you’re literally walking in the footsteps of some of history’s scientific giants!

Chemistry

What’s Under Your Feet?

What’s Under Your Feet?

Earth is the only planet in the solar system to be able to support life as far as we know, and has been able to do so for the last 3000 million years. During this time the living environment (or biosphere) has survived because of the intricate balance of relationships between the land, water and atmosphere.
Today the biosphere is being studied by environmental scientists across the world, and as the relationships become more understood, humanity is becoming more responsible for our own influences. We are able to observe and research collectively, and are beginning to respond with confidence to threats such as global warming, and the growing loss of biodiversity across the planet.
The chalk coastline of the North Downs is one of the world’s rarest of habitats, with unique conditions and ecosystems. See what you can discover as you step out into the North Downs…

Biology

Walk in Darwin’s Footsteps

Walk in Darwin’s Footsteps

The Up on the Downs coast is rich in both fossils and unusual plants, each able to offer evidence and clues to the changing make-up of the local environment, touching different times in the Earth’s history. But to stand a chance of finding these markers and then interpreting their clues, one needs the skills of a good detective.
Victorian naturalist Charles Darwin regularly visited the White Cliffs to study the fossils exposed in the face of the cliffs. His observations of the varying fossil forms, related to their locations in the strata, helped him to formulate his world-changing theory of evolution and natural selection.

Art & Design

Art and Design Activities

Art and Design Activities

Your local area and other similar places have provided inspiration for generations of artists. Get out there to gather ideas that will inspire your own work?

What does your environment mean to you? What are your memories and dreams? Use a site visit to record your impressions and create a presentation that explains your past and your hopes for the future.

Dover artist William Burgess (1805 – 1861) painted scenes and stories of local life and also pioneered a revolutionary way of displaying them called a Cosmorama. What stories of Dover today would you like to tell through your art and how could you present them?

Geography

Land Ahoy – Be a Navigator for the Day

Land Ahoy – Be a Navigator for the Day

On a clear day you can see France from the White Cliffs of Dover, some 21 miles away. The first successful aeroplane flight across the English Channel was done in 1909, but on a cloudy day with limited visibility. Frenchman Louis Bleriot managed the journey without a compass, using sightings of ships below in the sea, to act as pointers to Dover. In 1930 Amy Johnson also flew over the Channel, becoming the first female solo pilot to make a successful flight from London to Australia. She only managed to navigate such a vast and intrepid journey by calling on all her skills of map interpretation, compass reading and shear resourcefulness.
Through the course of the day, see how resourceful you can be in working out which way is north without using a compass.

The Shipping Forecast – Be a Meteorologist for the Day

The Shipping Forecast – Be a Meteorologist for the Day

Weather reports from the Dover coastal weather logging station are broadcast daily on BBC Radio 4, playing a crucial role in warning mariners using the English Channel and South coast of dangerous sailing conditions. You may have heard Dover mentioned as part of the radio transmission sequence – Fair Isle, Viking, Cromarty, Forties?

Unbeknownst to most people, just down the road near Castle Hill Folkestone, is the remains of a rather more secretive and austere ‘weather’ observation station. During the Cold War an underground station was built to potentially house 3 dedicated ‘meteorologists’, should Nuclear War break out. Their job would have been to report a very different kind of weather – announcing any visible nuclear explosion sightings, alongside the wind direction and wind speed – helping to predict any following fall-out that would then blow across the Channel to Britain.

Walk in Darwin’s Footsteps

Walk in Darwin’s Footsteps

The Up on the Downs coast is rich in both fossils and unusual plants, each able to offer evidence and clues to the changing make-up of the local environment, touching different times in the Earth’s history. But to stand a chance of finding these markers and then interpreting their clues, one needs the skills of a good detective.
Victorian naturalist Charles Darwin regularly visited the White Cliffs to study the fossils exposed in the face of the cliffs. His observations of the varying fossil forms, related to their locations in the strata, helped him to formulate his world-changing theory of evolution and natural selection.

What’s Under Your Feet?

What’s Under Your Feet?

Earth is the only planet in the solar system to be able to support life as far as we know, and has been able to do so for the last 3000 million years. During this time the living environment (or biosphere) has survived because of the intricate balance of relationships between the land, water and atmosphere.
Today the biosphere is being studied by environmental scientists across the world, and as the relationships become more understood, humanity is becoming more responsible for our own influences. We are able to observe and research collectively, and are beginning to respond with confidence to threats such as global warming, and the growing loss of biodiversity across the planet.
The chalk coastline of the North Downs is one of the world’s rarest of habitats, with unique conditions and ecosystems. See what you can discover as you step out into the North Downs…

Cross Curricular

Land Ahoy – Be a Navigator for the Day

Land Ahoy – Be a Navigator for the Day

On a clear day you can see France from the White Cliffs of Dover, some 21 miles away. The first successful aeroplane flight across the English Channel was done in 1909, but on a cloudy day with limited visibility. Frenchman Louis Bleriot managed the journey without a compass, using sightings of ships below in the sea, to act as pointers to Dover. In 1930 Amy Johnson also flew over the Channel, becoming the first female solo pilot to make a successful flight from London to Australia. She only managed to navigate such a vast and intrepid journey by calling on all her skills of map interpretation, compass reading and shear resourcefulness.
Through the course of the day, see how resourceful you can be in working out which way is north without using a compass.

The Shipping Forecast – Be a Meteorologist for the Day

The Shipping Forecast – Be a Meteorologist for the Day

Weather reports from the Dover coastal weather logging station are broadcast daily on BBC Radio 4, playing a crucial role in warning mariners using the English Channel and South coast of dangerous sailing conditions. You may have heard Dover mentioned as part of the radio transmission sequence – Fair Isle, Viking, Cromarty, Forties?

Unbeknownst to most people, just down the road near Castle Hill Folkestone, is the remains of a rather more secretive and austere ‘weather’ observation station. During the Cold War an underground station was built to potentially house 3 dedicated ‘meteorologists’, should Nuclear War break out. Their job would have been to report a very different kind of weather – announcing any visible nuclear explosion sightings, alongside the wind direction and wind speed – helping to predict any following fall-out that would then blow across the Channel to Britain.

Differentiated and SEN Activities

Be a Lighthouse Keeper for the Day

Be a Lighthouse Keeper for the Day

The English Channel is the world’s busiest seaway, with over 500 ships per day using it.  Keeping so many vessels safe is a challenging task. Why not bring your pupils onto the famous White Cliffs so they can experience the amazing view of the Channel in all its glory?