Address: Castle Hill, Dover, Kent, CT16 IHU
Price of Admission: 17.00 for adults. 10.20 for children.
Amount Saved through Membership: 54.40 + a previous 119.5 pounds = 173.9 pounds (227.89 dollars).
Car Park: You must show admission ticket before entering the grounds. Once through, there are three levels available for parking. Forewarning: to enter, you must cross a narrow bridge. Our minivan just barely fit, so be advised large vehicles might have trouble.
Dover Castle rests atop the White Cliffs and for centuries has been the end point of the country. The English Channel and France lie beyond the grounds, and it is because of its placement that the castle has such a full history.
The most notable landmarks available to see today tell the story of the Henry II’s response to Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury, the attempted sieges from the French during the Barons’ War, the barracks raised during the Jacobite rebellion, and the artillery tunnels built for a world under fire.
Walking around so much history is humbling, and I think Dover Castle is a must for anyone who has an English Heritage Membership. There is something for everyone at the site.
For the kids: An inside tour of the Great Hall and climb to the roof provides plenty of activity and items to look at. What seven year old doesn’t enjoy standing on top of a castle, pretending they are a guard from long ago?
In addition, there are numerous hills and tunnel entrances to look inside and explore. There are fewer artifacts and sign posts to read than you would imagine, meaning the kids did not have to stand around and wait for Mom and Dad to finish examining the pieces before wandering further ahead.
For the adults: World War II enthusiasts might already know Dover’s role in the war effort, but I did not know the extent. Visiting Dover gave me a chance to learn about Admiral Ramsay and Operation Dynamo. The man was given a week to come up with a plan to rescue over 300,000 men from Dunkirk!
Dover also played a part in the success of Normandy. Using communication networks set up at Dover, the Allies were able to deceive the Germans into thinking the invasion of France would occur in Calais. This operation is known as Fortitude South.
To see how close the French coast is from Dover Castle, to see the old airstrike guns mounted on the grounds, to see the Archer’s tower – a semi-circular fortress with multi-leveled gaps for archers to attack from – to see all the defenses is to see how hard the English worked to protect and defend their land.
By seeing Dover Castle I understand the resiliency of the British people a little better. Henry II built the inner Hall over nine hundred years ago, and from that point forward the English found ways to make it stronger, make it work for them, make it a place that’s unforgettable when you cross that Channel and step foot on English land.