DOVER, the “Gateway to England”

DOVER, the “Gateway to England”

Nestled under the shadow of its magnificent castle, the historic town of Dover is located in the county of Kent near the extreme southeast corner of Great Britain facing France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, the world’s busiest shipping lane. With a population of 39,078 this major ferry port is known as the “Gateway to England” and has served as a bastion against various foreign attacks since the days of the Norman invasion during the 11th century (1066) by William the Conqueror until World War II against the German forces. The town and its famous white cliffs play a prominent role in Shakespeare’s work “King Lear”.

Dover is most famous for its white cliffs which have been celebrated in songs like “There’ll Be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover”, a popular WW II song to lift the spirits of the Allied forces at a time when the Germans had conquered much of Europe and was bombing Britain.

From the cruise ship we have a spectacular view of the White Cliffs spreading east and west as part of the English coastline that faces the Strait of Dover and France which is just 21 miles away quite visible on a clear day. Reaching to several hundred feet high, the iconic white cliffs have white facade due to its composition of chalk accentuated by streaks of black tint.

Cliff-top walks offer beautiful landscapes and stunning scenery over the English Channel and will take you along a crest of the cliffs toward the first lighthouse in the world to use an electric light, the South Foreland Lighthouse used to warn ships approaching the nearby Goodwin Sands.

Strategically located above the White Cliffs is the famous Dover Castle, a medieval castle and fortress founded and built in the 12th century by King Henry II to welcome and impress visitors to England. For twenty centuries the fortress has guarded the shores of England from foreign invasion. The heart of the castle, the Great Tower, is a palace by itself where costumed actors introduce the medieval life at King Henry`s recreated court.

Dug deep into the white cliffs beneath the castle are the winding Secret Wartime Tunnels where you can take an adventurous journey to immerse yourself in the drama of the WW II Dunkirk invasion of the Allied troops from the beaches of France.

Located at the Market Square in the town centre is the Dover Museum, a local history and archaeology museum telling the story of the town since prehistoric times and showing its history as a Roman port and fortress. On display at the museum is the world`s oldest known sea-going boat, the Dover Bronze Age Boat said to be 3,550 years old. An internationally important archaeological discovery the boat, made by using oak planks sewn together with yew lashings, is one of the few bronze boats to be found in Britain.

Close to the town main shopping streets, High Street and Biggin, is the exquisite Church of St. Mary the Virgin with its windows portraying some of the history of Dover. King Henry the VIII was a frequent visitor to the town and to this church.

For two days we didn`t miss out on the top points of interest in Dover!