Lodging in Dover, Duration of stay for Channel Crossing

nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
edited April 2012 in General Discussion
I am seeking comments about options for lodging in Dover, and a strategy for making reservations based on your tidal booking. For instance, if you are 2nd in a tide on the 19th to the 27 of July, what should your reservations in Dover be? I believe that the suggestion is for one full week before the first day of your booking, and continue through your tide and maybe a few days after? This is in case of an American, and taking into account flights overseas. Thanks All.


  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    I stayed at Varne Ridge http://www.varne-ridge.co.uk/index.html and booked it for 3 weeks. (including one week prior and one week after my window)
    David and Evelyn are great hosts, and there will undoubtedly be other channel swimmers/aspirants staying there also.

    They will provide you with most anything you need for your crossing that you may not want to travel with... grease, feed poles, towels, blankets, etc. (Many swimmers leave these things behind for the next in line)

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Varne Ridge is the best location bar none. In fact I asked David & Ev to adopt me last year. They tend to book up about year in advance though. As Dave says above, the place is dedicated primarily to self-accommodation Channel swimming and you also get meet new Channel friends there. Plus, if you make it, you get your name on their wall, which is more than Dover does for Soloists.

    If Varne is full, Hubert House is pretty popular as a swimmer's B&B.


  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    Not so good for overseas visitors, but for UK swimmers who don't mind camping, or have a van, Little Satmar campsite is lovely. Very low key, and they've been very supportive over the years with generous rates and nice quiet pitches.
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Dave, what was your time? I don't see it in the picture.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    IronMike wrote:
    Dave, what was your time? I don't see it in the picture.
    14:27.... about average for the day

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    Just to add a bit about the duration of my booking at Varne Ridge: In 2009, our (relay's) tide was blown out. We were #3, but since we had a bit of flexibility in our schedules, we were able to get a swim in on the spring tide as both the the #1 and #2 swimmers went home.
    In 2010, the previous tide was blown out... and the following spring tide was equally bad, so no swimmers were able to cross, but the weather broke for my tide.

    I informed my pilot (Paul Foreman) of my schedule, and let him know that I would be available at the first opportunity to swim... be it neap or spring tide.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • mpfmarkmpfmark Teesside England Charter Member
    Kev has a flat for rental
    Walking distance of the marina and swimmers beach. It's ideal.
    More details if you want them
  • Besides Varne Ridge any other suggestions? I need rooms for four adults
  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    I am pleased to say that I have reservations at Varne Ridge from July 21st - Aug. 4th 2013 - and a spot on the July 27th - Aug. 2 tide. Anyone else will be there at the same time?
  • jendutjendut Charter Member
    the Sandown B & B is impeccably clean and has several rooms- even showers, for the odd american who might stay there. A bit of a walk to the harbor, but we had a car (there is on-street parking); the owners, Martin and Sonia, are super supportive of channel swimmers and very nice (they even go down to Shakey to see swimmers off at obscene hours of the morning)
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    nvr2late, A few of this year's crop of Sandycove Island Aspirants from Ireland should be there, most of them are swimming in July, spread over both tides.

    Hey @mpfmark, I didn't realise Kevin loaned/rented out the flat. I'd like to stay and etch my name on his bed headboard! I hear he was back swimming last weekend.


  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    I stayed at the Gladstone House. A few doors up from the Victoria Guest House.
  • ttriventtriven Senior Member

    I hate to sound like a princess but can anyone tell me how their bed was at Varne Ridge? If I need to ask don't stay there? It's all about keeping my back in good shape before the swim.

  • Tracy_ClarkTracy_Clark Norwich, United Kingdom (from Auckland, New Zealand)Member

    Varne Ridge is trailer/caravan accommodation but very comfortable. Home away from home. Dave and Evelyn also own two houses. One two bedroom which sleeps four and one three bedroom which sleeps six. I stayed in a caravan for my own solo and have crewed for several other solo swims and always stayed here...always found it most comfortable....it's like going home! Couldn't stay anywhere else.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member

    @Tracy_Clarke wrote

    Couldn't stay anywhere else.

    Wouldn't want to stay anywhere else.



  • caburkecaburke Charter Member

    For pure convenience, consider the Best Western right on the beach at Dover Harbor. You can walk across the street to swim, walk a few blocks to the South to get to the pilot boats or walk into town for meals. Good luck.

  • paulmpaulm Senior Member

    The premier inn on dover beach front is also convenient & has in my opinion better quality beds & bathrooms than the Best Western. It is often up to 20% or more cheaper. If you do book there INSIST on a water view room (not one facing towards the main rd ). Also don't do breakfast in the attached bar/dinner/Bfast facility as it is crap :)

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited February 2017

    Not much use for overseas swimmers, but we stayed in our campervan at Blackhorse Farm Caravan Club site until the day before my swim, when I decamped to the Premier Inn with supercrew member @ZoeSadler until the day after. I need a room with a bath to soak in after a big swim.

  • abbygirlroseabbygirlrose Los Angeles and Palo Alto, CASenior Member

    Any thoughts on staying at a vacation rental in a neighboring town?

  • SoOHIOSwimarathonerSoOHIOSwimarathoner Springboro Ohio Member

    From someone who was very clueless, but after 3 weeks of time in and around Dover for my successful solo crossing in '13:
    I spent the first week of my stay with a friend near Dover-my crew wasn't there yet and Varne Ridge was full. That was just an aclimation week. My takeaways: There's not a ton to do in Dover, it's kind of a rough town at the end of England, not much around it.
    After my aclimation week I had booked one of the trailers at Varne ridge for 2 weeks. Not sure what I was getting into there, but read a lot of positive reviews, so drove back up to Heathrow, picked up my crew and rolled back down to VR.
    Pros of VR: The positive energy/mojo/history/whatever you want to call it. Its the equivalent of the Olympic Village as an Olympic athlete. The plaques around the walls of all the successful swimmers who have stayed there. The flagpole out front. David&Evelyn are like a second set of parents. There are a couple, really just a couple, of other feasible options if your flying in, but they don't have the atmosphere of Channel swimming like VR. In spite of what I'm about to say, if/when I go back, I'll stay at VR.
    That said, Cons: it is a glorified trailer park. I didn't fit on any of the beds in our trailer (6'6") and had to sleep on the sofa in the living room area that spanned the width. It's 5 miles from Dover and, other than a couple of Pubs and some houses, its in the middle of BFE.
    But like I said, the pros far outweighed the cons for me and my crew. D&E were great. The view from the park across the street was epic. There might be better inns in Folkstone or Canterbury, but they're further way and not as focused on Channel swimmers.
    If you want the full experience, Varne Ridge, for sure. If you need 5-star accomidations, that's going to be hard to find, but that's just a guy from Ohio.
    Good luck you crazy swimmers.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited February 2017

    I have to respectfully disagree with the assertion that there's nothing to do in Dover. There's plenty if you look for it. The area is steeped in history. There's the castle, White Cliffs and the walk to the South Foreland lighthouse, Western Heights and the old military installations, Battle of Britain memorial at Capel -le- Ferne, St Margaret's at Cliffe, Deal, Hythe and the military canal, RH&D railway, Canterbury if you like cities with a bit of history... and if you run out of things in Kent and you're waiting a couple of days, hop on a ferry as a foot passenger and nip to France. ;-)
    PS....or you can just sit on Swimmers' Beach with a coffee and look at France.

  • DocScottDocScott Redwood City, CaliforniaMember

    I have an EC attempt in September and have been trying to contact Varne Ridge with no luck. Someone responded once and said they were forwarding my email to another, due to health reasons? I have not heard back and several more emails have gone unanswered.
    I would love to stay there, but I am thinking Best Western might be easier and more of a sure thing.
    If anybody has additional contact info on Varne Ridge, besides the contact email from their website, I would greatly appreciate it!

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    I've PM'ed you, @DocScott

  • miklcctmiklcct London, United KingdomMem​ber

    I'm not sure this is on-topic or not (as it is related to lodging for a Channel swim but not related to Dover) so I'm posting here.

    I have an attempt in September this year. Now I'm looking for a place to stay in the summer for preparation of my attempt. I'm looking to rent an apartment for 6 months (May to October) in a place which is the best for my training, and also with good access to a job market nearby.

    I'm now considering Streatham as my place to live in the 6 months, aiming for the London job market, sea swimming in Brighton, and also easy access to LGW to fly international for my orienteering trips as well.

    My pilot boat is based in Folkestone. From Streatham it's a 2-hour train ride.

    1. Is Streatham a good place to live for a Channel aspirant in the season?
    2. If I live in Streatham, is it possible to stay at home while I'm waiting for my tide, and take the train to Folkestone when the pilot calls me?
  • miklcctmiklcct London, United KingdomMem​ber

    Breaking news:
    I am now looking for short-term accommodation in Dover when I arrive the UK next month (with the purpose to join DCT once I'm out of quarantine while looking for my permanent home) and trying to contact Varne Ridge. Turned out that it has been shut down.

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