Saturday 6 July
From 6h30 (earlier due to Tour de France) to 01h30
White Cliffs of Dover, England
Transportation by 4* luxury coach
Due to the start of the Tour De France we have to depart from Place Schuman (bus stop next to KBC Bank on roundabout) at 6h30. You can still join as long as there are spots available. For all practical details, click here ≫
Did you see the entire continent already and are ready for something new? Then cross the Channel with us and join for a nice day trip to and along the spectacular, historical and enchanting coast of Kent, England, with the iconic White Cliffs of Dover. Today you can choose between 2 options. First, you can visit with us Dover Castle, The White Cliffs of Dover, Walmer Castle, Deal Castle and the historic Pier of Deal. Second, you can hike your way from Dover to Deal with breathtaking views along the way. Whichever option you choose, you will get the best views and experience English landscape, food and culture for a day.
- Transportation by 4* luxury coach
- P&O Ferry to cross the Channel – Calais to Dover
- Spectacular view of the White Cliffs of Dover from ferry
- Panoramic view from the White Cliffs of Dover (you can see France)
- Visit to Deal and Deal Pier
- A great group of international people
- A lifetime memory
Choose between 2 programs
- Castles tour (surcharge applies), with Dover Castle and Walmer Castle (optional)
- Hiking tour (14-15km), no surcharge and with Walmer Castle as optional
- You cannot combine Dover Castle with hiking (not enough time)
Coach pick-up points
For this trip it is likely we will ONLY stop at Place Schuman, Brussels (bus stop next to KBC bank on roundabout) due to road closures as a result of the start of the Tour de France.
Do I need a Visa?
Expat Club will strictly NOT inform you about the need for a visa. You must contact the British Embassy in Brussels or in your own country. You can also consult this website: https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa. If you need a visa and you don’t have one, we are forced to leave you at the border in Calais and cannot assist you in any way. In other words, it is your own responsibility to make sure you are good to travel to the UK.
Who can join?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable. You do not even have to be a member, and of course Belgians are more than invited too. We always welcome many solo travellers, couples, retirees, small groups of friends and on this trip certainly also families.
How to add a child ticket?
Expat Club loves welcoming the youngest expats, especially for this lovely castles trip! Many children joined us in the past. If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please first add the regular adult ticket(s) to the cart and then go to the cart page. On the cart page, there is a child ticket available for just €75, which includes an entrance tickets to both castles already. For more child tickets, just change the quantity and update the cart.
To start with the downside of the day, to enjoy it fully, you must get up early. There is virtually no other way to travel to the other side of the Channel, visit several marvellous destinations, and come back at (still) a somewhat decent hour. But luckily you can rest in the bus of course 🙂
We depart from Place Schuman, followed by Metro Yser, Metro Simonis, and Basilique. After about 2,5 hours we check-in at P&O Ferries in Calais for our 1,5 hours ferry crossing to Dover. The fee for the ferry included in the price of your ticket. FYI: the lowest return fee for foot passengers is about €55, so our package price is a great deal.
You can find several places to sit onboard, eat, and relax. There is even a business lounge available with free Champagne, coffee/tea, cookies, chips, nuts and the best views (about €19 pay onboard). From here you can watch the famous white cliffs of Dover coming closer. The boat trip is just a lot of fun and a guarantee for great memories.
Upon arrival in Dover, our group splits in those who would like to go to the castles and those who would like to go hiking.
We will drop the hiking group at a convenient location near the trail towards Deal. Note, we expect participants to walk and find their way as a group. Although there are some ups and downs on your way to Deal, the route is about 14-15km and easy to navigate as you will simply follow the coastline (difficulty 6/7 on a 10-point scale).
Our hiking trip ends in the lovely coastal town of Deal. Just a mile before this town you can walk by Walmer Castle. The other group visits this beautiful castle from the inside, as well as the beautiful gardens, but you can certainly also catch a glimpse of it. From here it is just 15-20 minutes walking to Deal Castle, yet another fortified castle, right on the coast.
After we drop the hiking group in Dover, we will drive a few minutes before we arrive at the iconic Dover Castle that towers high above the city and port (the steep entrance fees are currently not included in the standard trip fee).
Dover Castle was founded in the 11th century; the first fortifications may date back to the iron age well before Christ. Dover Castle is unique for many reasons. Often referred to as The Key to England, it is not only the country’s largest castle but arguably its most important one due to its defensive significance- this point has the shortest distance from continental Europe.
At our first destination, there are many things to do and see. We visit the Roman Lighthouse, one of the oldest in the world, and the Anglo-Saxon church of St Mary in Castro. We also descend into the 13th-century defense tunnels under the castle, as well as the places that were important during the First and Second World Wars, namely the WWI Fire Command Post and the underground hospital from WWII.
Finally, we go down the Secret Wartime Tunnels, an incredibly important location because it’s where the planning for the fortunately successful Operation Dynamo took place. This operation moved 300,000 allied forces out of the Dunkirk beaches that were surrounded by the Germans. Had this operation failed, history may have looked entirely different.
We will also ascend the Tower of Dover Castle, possibly the highlight of our visit as from here you will have a magnificent view over the entire fortress, the cliffs, harbour, the city of Dover and weather permitted even France! Since there are several places to have lunch, either something warm or just a sandwich or snack, we allow some extra time for this. You can even bring something from home or the ferry so you can have a little picknick.
Our next stop is just a stone’s throw away, namely the world famous White Cliffs of Dover (National Trust). The white chalk face of this iconic landmark has always been a symbol of “home and hope.” Not only do they offer stunning views, but their historical meaning is enormous. We will make a stop here so you can feel the fresh seabreeze on your face, take some nice pictures and of course wave to the French on the other side.
Our next destination is Deal, a small town at just a dozen miles or so from Dover in Northern direction. Here we visit the beautiful boulevard with its historic pier, but we start with visiting another place of significance and beauty, Walmer Castle.
The castle was an artillery fort built by Henry VIII in 1539-1540 and served as a protection against invasions from France and the Holy Roman Empire, consisting of 4 central circular bastions. Throughout the centuries the function of the castle changed from a military fortification to a private residence. Even the Duke of Wellington, the victor of the Waterloo battles in 1815 against Napoleon, used to be the Lord Wardens, just like Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The visit to Walmer Castle is optional but highly recommended (€15). You can indicate during the checkout process, whether you would like to join. If you do not want to join, you can continue by foot from here to Deal (about 15 minutes), so you have some extra time to visit the town.
After our visit to Walmer Castle, you can join us by bus to Deal, or you can walk 15 minutes on foot to the town center. In Deal, you can enjoy the beach, the small shops, and restaurants on the boulevard, including a traditional ice cream parlour. You could also visit Deal Castle, another magnificent defense castle. The entrance fee is about 6 GBP, but certainly worth it (pay on the spot). As a group, we will reconvene in the bar/restaurant at the end of the iconic Deal Pier for a drink and snack.
We’ll return to Dover in the early evening to be on time for our 20h15 ferry to Calais. You can rest a bit on a comfy chair, do some duty-free shopping, or join us in the bar to share some good times on our way back to the mainland. After our return to France (22h45, +1 hr) we will make a non-stop trip back to Brussels, where we will arrive at around 01h15 and stop again at Basilique, Simonis, Yser and Place Schuman. Due to our late return, we can also stop at Merode, Montgomery, and Diamant. If necessary, we coordinate shared rides.
We will travel with a modern 4* luxury coach with reclinable comfort seats and a lot of leg space so that you can sleep another few hours. If the group is larger than 50 persons we travel by Royal Class, otherwise we go with the standard Princess class for international trips (which also has significantly more leg space than regular tour buses).
The has an onboard toilet, bar, and air-conditioning. Due to the length of the day, we travel with two professional drivers, per EU regulations.
Upon our return, we can stop anywhere along this route. We will also be able to stop at Louise, Merode, Montgomery, Diamant, Meiser and Evere, due to the arrival after midnight.