Take in the sights at Britain’s Gateway to Europe!
As the ancient gateway between this mysterious island and the continent, which has quite a history itself, Dover was always going to have an interesting past.
There is a lot going for it but the town is best known for the iconic white and chalky cliffs that tower above the crashing waves. They are the first thing you can see when approaching England over the Channel’s green waters and are now considered symbolic of England. On a clear day, they can be seen from the northern coast of our continental neighbours.
However, there is so much more to the town than impressive cliffs. The area has a rich history and is jam-packed with attractions, landmarks and host of fun things to keep you occupied.
Top Dover Attractions:
Dover stands out on the South-East Coast, both culturally and historically, as a wonderful and varied destination for a family trip or weekend away. The lively port town is nestled on the southern coast of Kent and faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel. On a warm summer’s day, nothing can beat a beach or harbour-side swim, the majestic cliffs in the distance and the choppy sea lapping around your chin.
Its geographical position has meant that in the past, it has been settled and used as an entry and leaving point for our island. Its rich and extensive history remains scattered throughout the area, intriguing tourists to this day. There is a host of different bits and bobs to see.
So what is there to do in Dover?
Dover Castle (the largest in England) is now classed as a Scheduled Monument and a Grade I-listed building. Within its towering walls are several famous pokey attractions, chapels and churches, including one dedicated to Thomas Becket - the famous archbishop murdered wrongly by the king’s knights - as well as the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment Museum. For visitors, the fortification is brought to life by guided tours, ornate and genuine furnishings as well as costumed actors, prancing and scurrying around the stone corridors. A truly magical day out!
Roman Painted House, known widely as ‘Britain’s Buried Pompeii,’ is a magical Roman archaeological site that houses some of the finest example of Roman murals in the UK and a must-see for any aspiring historian or fan of architecture. Take a step back in time and explore this magnificent example of the ancient past. The staff are friendly and informative and will generously provide you with numerous interesting nuggets of knowledge during your visit. By the end of your trip, you should understand just how remarkable and far ahead of their time the Italian invaders really were.
While in the area, make sure you take at least an afternoon to take in Samphire Hoe, a wonderful coastal country park that created during the excavation of the Channel Tunnel. It is a truly beautiful nature reserve, framed by the majestic craggy cliffs and the lapping, wild sea. A great place to head with the kids, hiking, cycling, bird watching and angling are just some of the activities available. Indeed, the park now attracts around 110,000 visitors a year. Make sure you also take a rest at the small and charming kiosk that offers hot drinks and light refreshments. What could be more English than sipping gently on a steaming cup of tea, looking out over the dark choppy waves, the vigorous salty breeze tousling your hair and whistling softly in your ears?
Head over to the National Trust visitor centre at Langdon Cliffs to gain access to the beautiful scenery at the top of the hills and admire the view from the country’s (and perhaps the world’s) most famous coastline. When planning your route, make sure you factor in the South Foreland Lighthouse where you can experience some breathtaking scenery at the edge of the North Downs.
If history is your bag, remember to visit Capel-le-Ferne, located just outside Dover. Here you will find the National Memorial To The Few, a historic monument dedicated to the airmen who protected these shores during the fierce and terrible Battle of Britain, much of which took place over the countryside around Dover. The Dover Museum, a wonderful institution that specialises in regional early history, is also certainly worth a visit if you are struggling for an outing idea with some whining kids!
The coastal town is home to vibrant collection of cosy eateries, pubs and restaurants. Interesting and independent shops line the wide higgledy-piggledy streets, tempting wanderers with bizarre knickknacks unavailable elsewhere. Staying in Dover will also provide an easy launching pad into one of the England’s most luscious regions: Kent. Nicknamed ‘The Garden of England’ for its rich farming and hopmaking heritage as well as its endless sweeping green.
There is so much to do here. Book a coastal break with Best Western today!