We booked the White Cliffs & Beyond trip for Bank Holiday Monday 27th May, a couple of weeks in advance, as part of a week's family holiday in Kent. We were lucky with the weather, which was fine and sunny, but heeded advice on the website to wrap up warm, as it is much colder on the water. This is very true, and we were glad of our layers, especially hats and gloves. We met at theSea Sports Centre on the beach level, where waterproof trousers and jackets were provided for us, although no childrens sizes, so our 6 year old was rather swamped, but it kept him warm and dry! (They were investigating getting childrens sizes at the time we visited, so may have them in future). We then had to walk to the boat at its mooring which should only have taken a few (3 or 4) minutes, but we had a delay as the swing bridge had broken and the barriers were down! The trip itself took 1 hour 20 minutes, leaving the docks at Dover and heading eastward. Our guide Claire was very friendly and knowledgable, and told us all about things we could see along the stunning views of the White Cliffs - about ship wrecks, smugglers, secret tunnels etc. We travelled along to Deal pier at a fairly sedate pace, stopping occasionally at points of interest. We were there at high tide, but if the tide is low they take the boat right under the pier at Deal. Then we turned around and the captain ramped up the speed, zig-zagging us through the water, carving a spectacular wavy wake behind us. I've never seen my two sons (11 & 6) grin so much! It is a bit bumpy going over the waves, so be careful if you have a back problem, but it all adds to the fun! Goggles were provided to those of us not wearing sunglasses, to help keep spray out of your eyes, but we were at the front of the boat, so didn't get a lot of spray anyway. We had particular fun racing a cross-channel ferry back into the docks - it had precedence, so we had to cut around behind it - through it's wake - more big waves!
We had such an amazing time that we decided to book the longer, 2 hour, Secret Seal safari for the Friday, the last day of our holiday, but unfortunately on that morning, we had a call to say it would have to be cancelled due to high winds, and we would be refunded. We were rather upset to miss the second trip, but they were very good and refunded our credit card immediately.
The cost of the White Cliffs & Beyond trip was £70 for the four of us, which I think is OK for such an unusual day out - we made a day of the visit to Dover by going up onto the White Cliffs (NT visitor centre) first and looking down on the port from above before the boat trip.
I would definitely recommend this for anyone - singles, couples, family with children of any age, groups of friends etc. There were a group going out just after us who were going for their 4th or 5th trip they enjoyed it so much!
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