I ended up in Dover on a day where the rain was coming down in sheets, sideways. White cliffs I did not see.
The pebble beach was about all that I could make out in the fog and gloom, and I had to remind myself "my camera is not waterproof" and tucked it inside my rain jacket.
"On clear days, you can see France!" the cheery guidebook at my side informed me. I could barely make out the ruins of a Norman castle on the hill, or really see anything on the English side of the channel while I was standing on it.
Dover is at the narrowest point of the English channel- this is where the ferries to and from Calais, France go; and it's a cruise ship port and general industrial mess of a town. England has a lot of charming seaside boardwalk towns, but this is not one of them. Getting bombed to foundations in two wars in the last century kind of left it to be rebuilt as a soulless industrial bunker-building kind of place.
There! Finally, a break in the sheets of rain, and I could faintly make out the white chalk cliffs.
I was assured that my trip to Bournemouth and hike along the Seven Sisters was a much more scenic endeavor; even when the fog lifts you still have an industrial port to contend with.
I guess the upside is that the beach was totally empty, with just a lone cruise ship docked forlornly at the docks, with none of the hustle and bustle of a seaside town.