Many people pass through Dover on their way to other parts of the UK or Europe. While the famous White Cliffs present an impressive welcome to those arriving by ferry, this ancient port town has much to offer those who stay to explore. Here, we list some of the best attractions you can discover when visiting Dover.
The White Cliffs
Of all the Dover attractions, it’s the White Cliffs that many people put at the top of their list. Long representing the first glimpse of home for sailors, the eight-mile stretch of chalk cliffs provide spectacular views of the English Channel. There’s a lovely walking and cycling route to St Margaret’s Bay, which winds across the cliffs and past the South Foreland Lighthouse, where many families stop to fly kites.
Perched above the White Cliffs, Dover Castle has a long history of standing guard over Kent’s shores. Construction on it started in 1168, with the Norman keep being built in 1180. Here, many of the castle’s exhibits are on display, including the vibrant furnishings of the Great Tower.
Also on-site is the network of tunnels, dug under the threat of Napoleonic invasion, which acted as the base for naval operations in the Channel during WWII. It’s here that Operation Dynamo was co-ordinated, and visitors can follow the journey of this epic rescue operation with the aid of projections, film footage and special effects.
Roman Painted House
One of England’s finest surviving examples of a Roman period house, the Roman Painted House was built in around AD200 in Dover. It’s so-called because of the uniquely painted walls and frescoes that have withstood the centuries. Also on display are some of the best Roman artefacts from the excavation, and visitors can try brass rubbing at the site.
When visiting Dover, its museum is a great place to find out more about the town. With displays that tell of Dover’s history from the Roman era to the present day, visitors can learn about the importance of the town as a port and key defence post. One of the highlights is the world’s oldest known sailing vessel, a Bronze Age boat which is thought to date back 3,000 years.
Set in St Margaret’s Bay, Pines Garden covers six acres and is organically managed, featuring a lake, grass labyrinth and over 40 different fruits and vegetables. There are also activities for children, including pond dipping and campfire building.
Founded in 1971, the emphasis at Pines Garden is on sustainable land management, and volunteers can apply to get involved in some of the permaculture projects over the course of the year.
If you plan to visit Dover to see the White Cliffs and other attractions, you can stay in one of the luxury cottages offered by The Marquis at Alkham. Providing the perfect place to escape from it all, our comfortable cottages are the ideal base from which to explore all the nearby sites.