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South Foreland Lighthouse

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Address: | The Front, St Margaret's Bay, Dover CT15 6HP, England
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Fri - Mon 11:00 - 17:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

A remote, isolated, pristine-white, solid beacon; a place of innovation and...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Wonderful lighthouse!

We then went on to the South Foreland lighthouse, beautifully perched on the white cliffs, overlooking a sandbank in the water. Nowadays all navigation is done via satellite, so... read more

Reviewed yesterday
London, United Kingdom
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312 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 277: English reviews
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
168 reviews
85 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

We then went on to the South Foreland lighthouse, beautifully perched on the white cliffs, overlooking a sandbank in the water. Nowadays all navigation is done via satellite, so this beauty was decomissioned in 1988. It is very well preserved though and well worth a guided tour. Almost a thousand ship wrecks accumulated in the sands, even after this Victorian... More 

Thank Shinylifeforme
Skierniewice, Poland
Level Contributor
158 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed yesterday NEW

after the walk from Dover , a welcome break, sat on the deck chairs and watched the world go by whilst the kids rolled around in the grass, perfect

Thank Paul J
Battle, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

walked the path - tea and cake much needed before the walk back. Loved the atmoshere and friendly service.

Thank John S
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
55 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This lighthouse is run by the national trust and requires a fee to tour, but it is totally worth it! The guides are interesting and tailor the talk to the group. We spent more than an hour on our tour and left thinking this was the best think we saw in Dover.

Thank KokoBear4
Level Contributor
79 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

A fascinating tour of this lighthouse with so much history attached to it. The engineering aspect and how it all worked was very interesting. Our guide, Barry, was very friendly and humorous with the visitors but also very knowledgable and made the whole tour very interesting. To see how the pendulum mechanics worked and the reflector apparatus actually working was... More 

Thank HazzaNorfolk
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We visited the lighthouse after a visit to the tunnels a little way up the coast. We had an enjoyable drink and cake in the former lighthouse house, then we went for a tour of the lighthouse led by a lovely informative man called Derek, thoroughly enjoyable visit.

Thank K6601ZNjohnh
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
124 reviews
82 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

I have been here many times but never get bored. Seeing the maps showing the shipwrecks on Goodwin Sands is so interesting. On a clear day you feel you can touch France.

Thank 222Happy222
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Wonderful walk along the white cliffs where you will have earned a cup of tea in Mrs Knott's pleasant and nostalgic tearoom. Guide David was very knowledgable about the history of the lighthouse.

Thank Jim A
New Forest, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 weeks ago

We visited this National trust property on a sunny day last week.Very friendly lady in the ticket office who guided us to the lighthouse for our tour. Extremely interesting talk given by a volunteer on each level, stunning views of the English Channel,, Goodwin sands and lots of ferries coming in and out of Dover and we could see the... More 

Thank 29GrannyJ
Irene, Gauteng, South Africa
Level Contributor
21 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2017

My son and I (10 years old) waalked for about an hour to reach the Lighthouse, which is still in pristine condition. It is not the biggest or tallest lighthouse I visited but on a clear and sunny day you can see France. Our tour guide was very pleasant and shared interesting facts and stories with us and took extra... More 

Thank Marika M

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