The White Cliffs coast in the extreme south east of England is dominated by Dover 's enormous imposing castle, which stands on top of the chalk cliffs overlooking the busiest shipping channel in the world. From here it's just 22 miles to France , which is why this has been such an important defensive point for thousands of years. There was an iron age hill fort here before the Romans came and replaced it with their own stronghold. They also built the first lighthouse, which remains today in a ruinous state. Later the Saxons added further defences, and then in 1168 the mighty castle we see today was built.
Started in Napoleonic times, they were later expanded and used as a military hospital and command post during the Second World War. The town of Dover, below in the valley, has little else to offer, being essentially a port for the ferries across the English Channel, but the neighbouring Channel port and resort of Folkestone is a far more pleasant stop.
It may not have the draw of Dover Castle, but its Victorian cliff top promenades, award winning coastal park, and sandy beach around a pretty fishing harbour, all help create its relaxed friendly atmosphere. Take a trip on the water powered cliff lifts, visit the nearby 12 th century parish church, and wander down the artistic quarter of the cobbled Old High Street.
Dover Castle, Canons Gate Road, Dover CT16 1HU (01304) 211067
Beginning life as an Iron Age fort before becoming a Roman lighthouse and Saxon church, Dover Castle has long been known as ‘The Key to England’.
Boasting a Great Tower built by Henry II, the castle also possesses secret wartime tunnels, Victorian officers’ mess and batteries and gun positions.
Dover Museum, Market Square, Dover CT16 1PB (01304) 201066
Founded in the early 19th Century, Dover Museum has seen much of the history it now exhibits.
Showcasing the world’s oldest known seagoing boat; the Dover Bronze Age Boat; the museum also traces the history of Dover through six scale models detailing the town and its port.
Dover Transport Museum, Willingdon Road, Whitfield, Dover CT16 2HQ (01304) 822409
Displaying over 60 motor vehicles housed in two galleries, the Dover Transport Museum also strives to set its exhibits out in period street scenes.
Galleries include a vintage garage, railway room and maritime room. The museum also organises vintage vehicle rallies during the summer months.