A coastal town and major ferry port that has been inhabited since the Stone Age, Dover has witnessed countless people enter and leave Britain over the ages. For visitors passing through or staying a while, Dover has several spectacular sights on offer.
The world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, which have been immortalised in songs, paintings and poetry, are sure to captivate all who set eyes upon them. Meanwhile, historic Dover Castle dominates the town below as it stretches its arms out and across its hilltop home.
Set aside a good half a day to explore the impressive medieval castle that is Dover Castle. As the largest castle in England it has fascinating stories to tell and much to see. More than 2,000 years of history dwells on this site, including a lighthouse built by the Romans around 46AD. Venture underground to explore the castle’s secret wartime tunnels, which are enhanced by a dramatic audiovisual experience.
Be sure to make time in your itinerary for the stunning White Cliffs of Dover. Towering over the English Channel and beaming white as they face out towards France, the famous White Cliffs of Dover are a sight to behold. For a prime view of the cliffs, take a walk along the coastal path towards South Foreland Lighthouse. There are several other walking trails available, which showcase the plants and animals that live on the chalk grasslands as well as historic wartime remnants. Pack a picnic and make a day of discovering this iconic landscape.
To see the finest surviving example of Roman housing anywhere in Britain, head to Roman Painted House. What is left of the building shows that it was once a mansio (a Roman hotel) that served as a place for travellers crossing the English Channel to stay. Marvel at what remains of the stunning Roman wall paintings and discover the technological advancements of the Romans – the house comes complete with an early incarnation of a central heating system.
Eat and Drink
There are plenty of restaurants, pubs and cafés lining the length of the main street of Dover. For dining with a view, make your way to the Esplanade, Cambridge Road and Marine Parade, which are all close to the waterfront. For a delightfully English experience, seek out the local tearooms that serve up traditional Kentish Cream Tea for a scrumptious fix of freshly baked scones with clotted cream. The local seafood must-eat is, of course, the Dover sole. Keep an eye out for it on the menus around town.
Where to Stay
Maison Dieu Road and Castle Hill Road are the hotspots for accommodation in Dover, but there are plenty of others scattered around the town that should not be overlooked. Many of the guesthouses and B&Bs deliver on quaint English charm in spades, and are worth experiencing as an alternative to standard hotels. For a slice of modern luxury in a historic town, there is 4-star waterfront accommodation on offer at Dover Marina.
Much of your shopping in Dover can be done by simply hitting the pavement for a little wander. As a reasonably small town, Dover is easy to navigate on foot. A variety of shops can be found around Dover Market Square, the high street, King Street and Biggin Street.
For a one-stop-shop head to De Bradelei Wharf where you’ll find big name brands at discount prices. This is the place to pick up clothing, shoes, gifts and homewares. Then, for a well-deserved break, enjoy a coffee or tea as you look out over the Dover Marina.
Dover Like a Local
Every Tuesday at Dover’s Market Square you’ll find the Bluebird Market. Running from 9am until 3pm, this open-air market place offers a lovely day of browsing, eating and relaxed wandering. Chat with the local stallholders who sell everything from fresh produce and locally made food to clothes, gifts and plants.