Dover has been a permanent settlement since at least the time of the Romans, who was 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 for trade and defence.
Today Dover is a major port town facing into the English Channel and, at just 21 mi (34 km) 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 southeast London. It's much cheaper than the train service.
- 1 Dover Priory (west of the central shopping area, and about a 2.25 km (1.40 mi) walk from the Eastern Docks). The only remaining station in Dover. It 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 runs both urban, rural and inter-urban local buses, including regular buses to Deal, Folkestone, Canterbury and further afield.
Dover is small enough that much of it can reasonably be explored on foot. The main shops are in King Street, Cannon Street and Biggin Street.
- 1 Dover Castle, Castle Hill, CT16 1HU, ☏ . 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.
- 2 Church of St Mary in Castro, Dover Castle, CT16 1HU, ☏ . 10th century Saxon church. However, it was renovated in the Victorian era as it was used to store coal prior to be resanticfied as a church.
- 3 Roman Lighthouse (Pharos) (next to the church). Oldest building still standing in the UK.
- 4 The Great Tower, Dover Castle, CT16 1HU. Dover Castle's main keep was built by Henry II. The square design was intended as a symbol of authority to quell rebellion throughout the Angevin empire. The keep still has many rooms intact that have been recreated as they were in the 1200s including the throne room, royal bedrooms, armoury and kitchen. Climb the spiral staircase for a spectacular view from the top!
- 5 PWWR & Queen's Regiment Museum, Castle Hill, CT16 1HU (next to The Great Tower in Dover Castle). A museum showcasing 400 years of military history including the American War of Independence, Boer War, Zulu War, World War I and II, as well as the current day. Free (donations recommended).
- 6 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.
- 7 Roman Painted House. Well-preserved ruins of a Roman townhouse that includes a hypocaust heating system and mosaic fragments.
- 8 The White Cliffs of Dover, Langdon Cliffs, Upper Road, CT16 1HJ, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 9 South Foreland Lighthouse, The Front, St Margaret's Bay, CT15 6HP, ☏ , email@example.com.
- 10 Dover Museum and Bronze Age Boat Gallery. Includes a 3,500-year-old wooden boat that was found preserved in mud.
- 11 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.
- 1 Samphire Hoe, Samphire Road, CT17 9FL (By car: signposted off the A20 (westbound from Dover), access via a traffic light-controlled single-track 2 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 3 access a footpath which takes you 650 m (≈ ½ mile) to the tunnel mouth. By bike / on foot: National Cycle Route 2 and the North Downs Way pass just by the tunnel mouth.), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 7AM-dusk. 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 main shops are in King Street, Cannon Street and Biggin Street.
- 1 Marine Court Brewers Fayre, Marine Court, ☏ . On Dover's seafront with views of Dover. Modern pub food.
- 1 The Cricketers Pub, Crabble Avenue (from Dover town centre, go up the one way system to Buckland Bridge, turn left at first traffic lights and then first left into Crabble Avenue; the pub is opposite Dover Rugby and Football grounds), ☏ . M-W 3PM-midnight, Th-Su noon-1AM. The Cricketers is a friendly village pub catering for all ages, in the village of River, opposite the crabble cricket and rugby pitches. It is the home of home of Dover Football Club. The Cricketers has been an important focal point for the community for over 100 years.
- 2 Cinque Ports Arms, Clarence Place, Western Docks, CT17 9DQ, ☏ . Great Dover pub food: sandwiches, jackets and snacks - all freshly prepared to order.
- 1 Alkham Court, Meggett Lane, South Alkham CT15 7DG, ☏ . Splendid farmhouse B&B in the lanes above town. B&B double £150.
- 2 Holiday Inn Dover (IHG Hotel), Singledge Ln, CT16 3EL, ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. 4 star hotel.
- 3 Number One Guest House, 1 Castle Street. Pleasant B&B at the foot of the castle. Limited off-street parking available. £32-£75.
- St Margaret's Bay is just a few miles east towards Deal. This bay breaks up the white cliffs with a small hillside village, a scenic beach, lots of parking and some eateries (including the Coastguard Pub, the closest pub to the continent). On a nice day, the afternoon sun lights up the white cliffs on the French side of the channel quite clearly.
|Routes through Dover|
|END ←||NW SE||→ Calais|
|END ←||NW SE||→ Dunkirk|
|London ← Canterbury ←||NW SE||→ END|
|London ← Folkestone/Channel Tunnel ←||W E||→ END|