Dover – England

Dover is a port in East Kent, in the South East of England. Dover has been a permanent settlement since at least the time of the Romans, who were the first to record its presence, giving it the name Portus Dubris. It also marked the start of Watling Street, a major Roman road. The Roman lighthouse built on the present-day site of Dover Castle is one of the oldest buildings in Britain. In medieval times Dover was one of the Cinque Ports responsible for England’s maritime defence. The others silted up, while Dover remained important fr trade and defence.

Today Dover is a major port town facing into the English Channel and, at just 21 miles from the French port of Calais, it is the closest port to continental Europe on mainland Britain. It is most famous for its white chalk cliffs which have been celebrated in song.

National Express operates a regular coach service (number 007) to&from Dover Eastern Docks and Pencester Road, to London Victoria Coach Station. It has intermediate stops at Canterbury, some north Kent towns, and local stops in south-east London. It’s much cheaper than the train service.

The only remaining station is  Dover Priory, which is west of the central shopping area, and about a 2.25 km (1.40 mi) walk from the Eastern Docks. Dover has connections to London St Pancras International, London Victoria, London Charing Cross and Ramsgate.

Fare and timetable information is available from South East Trains, tel. +44 8457 484950.

Due to its proximity to continental Europe, Dover is one of the busiest cross-Channel ports in the UK, with 18 million passengers passing through its gates every year. Regular ferry services operate to Dover from Calais and Dunkirk.

The ferry between France and Dover costs €13-22 each way if on foot or bicycle, and around £90 for a car, although big discounts are available if booked in advance or with special offers. P&O Ferries operate to and from Calais while DFDS Seaways sails from Calais and Dunkirk.

Other routes are present within the UK (and might be cheaper).

Stagecoach East Kent are the main bus operator in the Dover area. Maps, timetables and fare information are available on their website. Stagecoach run both urban, rural and inter-urban local buses, including regular buses to Deal, Folkestone, Canterbury and further afield.

Dover Castle, Castle Hill, CT16 1HU, ☏ +44 1304 211067. Known as the “Key to England”, the castle has 2,000 years of history contained within its walls, including a Roman lighthouse, a Saxon church and a Norman keep. Below ground a series of casements and tunnels have been dug into the chalk. From these tunnels Operation Dynamo (the Dunkirk evacuation) was planned. adults £17.00, children £10.20, concessions £15.30. 

Battle of Britain Memorial. A very touching memorial dedicated to the men who fought and died in Britain’s most desperate hour. Vintage airplanes are also on display.   

Roman Painted House. Well-preserved ruins of a Roman townhouse that includes a hypocaust heating system and mosaic fragments.  

The White Cliffs of Dover, Langdon Cliffs, Upper Road, CT16 1HJ, ☏ +44 1304 202756, ✉ whitecliffs@nationaltrust.org.uk  

South Foreland Lighthouse, The Front, St Margaret’s Bay, CT15 6HP, ☏ +44 1304 852463, ✉ southforeland@nationaltrust.org.uk.   

Dover Museum and Bronze Age Boat Gallery. Includes a 3,500-year-old wooden boat that was found preserved in mud. 

Grand Shaft. Triple staircase constructed in Napoleonic times to enable quick troop movements between Townwall Street and the abandoned Western Heights fortifications. 

There is a cliff-top 6-km walk from near the Eastern Docks to St Margaret’s Bay. Or you could walk the scenic North Downs Way, a walking trail that follows the low hills that run alongside the coast.

Samphire Hoe, Samphire Road, CT17 9FL (By car: signposted off the A20 (westbound from Dover), access via a traffic light-controlled single-track tunnel (290 m). Parking £2 for two hours or more. By bus: Stagecoach route 61 leaves hourly from Priory Street; alight at St David’s Avenue, from where you should  access a footpath which takes you 650 m (≈ ½ mile) to the tunnel mouth. . Visit the newest part of Great Britain! Under the White Cliffs of Dover, on the spoil heaps created by the Channel Tunnel’s excavation, there is now a nature reserve, criss-crossed by wheelchair-accessible paths and cliffside trails. The globally-scarce chalk grasslands of Samphire Hoe are home to a rich flora and fauna, including rare orchids and hundreds of species of birds and insects. Great views of the cliffs and out to sea; on clear days it’s possible to see the French coast. Anglers can purchase a fishing permit for the day or longer. Café open daily Easter-September, and picnic area available year-round. Clean and accessible toilets. Dogs must be kept on a lead. Free. One-day fishing licence £6 adult, £4 child.   

The New Inn, Canterbury Road, Etchinghill, ☏ +44 1303 862026. A 16th-century coaching inn, country pub and very popular restaurant a short drive from Dover (junction 12, M20). Fantastic reputation for fine cuisine, open seven days a week for lunches and evening meals. Terrific food, real ale, oak beams & cosy atmosphere. 

Curry Garden Restaurant, 24 High Street, ☏ +44 1304 206357. Daily noon-3PM, 6PM-midnight, including Bank Holidays. Dover’s oldest Indian cuisine, on the main high street, close to the town hall. A take-away menu is available, offering 10% discount on all orders over £15 collected from the premises. Great special take away offer of 1/2-price take away, every 2nd Sunday of each month, on cash and collect orders only. Good selection of dishes on the menu.

Marine Court Brewers Fayre, Marine court, ☏ +44 870 990 6516. On Dover’s seafront with views of Dover. Modern pub food. 

Ramada Hotel, Singledge Rd, Dover, 4 star, 10 minutes from ferry port

Alkham Court, Meggett Lane, South Alkham CT15 7DG, ☏ +44 1303 892056. Splendid farmhouse B&B in the lanes above town. B&B double £150. 

Number One Guest House, 1 Castle Street. Pleasant B&B at the foot of the castle. Limited off-street parking available. £32-£75. 

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