Dover Castle

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Castle Hill, Dover, United Kingdom
01304 211067

Dover Castle Reviews

joseph98 joseph98
123 reviews
Outstanding hilltop citadel Nov 12, 2014
Dramatically perched above the unassuming coastal town of Dover, this castle is the largest in England and may just be its very best one. It's known as the 'key to England', and it fits the bill in more ways than one - as a first line of defence fortification, yes, but perhaps more importantly it makes for a spectacular introduction to the country's rich historical heritage, especially if you've popped over to the country by ferry.

I visited here on a slightly overcast but mild Autumn afternoon with the legendary Travbuddy Vikram: both of us thoroughly enjoyed our day there (we stayed for 4 hours!), and I think we both appreciated the weather conditions most of all. For the spectacular coastal scenery - you can make out France on all but the murkiest of days - is definitely one of the biggest draws of visiting the castle.

The admission price is not cheap, so its good to know that there are lots of value-added attractions within the walls of this formidable structure. Like most castles in the country, Dover dates from medieval times, and was built by Henry II back in the 13th century. Fittingly, the centerpiece Great Tower is the place to learn about the early history of this place, with a very accessible movie, a scale model of the castle, carefully reconstructed rooms and even an interactive 'Pilgrim Game' providing an effective introduction to how the castle came to be built.

As the years rolled by, the castle became an ever more important defensive fortress for the country as a whole, right through to the 20th century. This is ably demonstrated by the absolute highlight of the castle for me, the Secret Wartime Tunnels. On this effects-assisted, informative and atmospheric 45 minute tour (perhaps a bit too atmospheric for the very young, with its war sirens and explosions) you learn about the strategic significance Dover Castle had for the British effort during World War II, including directing Operation Dynamo in 1940, the famous evacuation of British and other allied forces from Dunkirk. Authentic exhibits both here and in the neighbouring Underground Hospital - which has added smells and erratic lighting to help replicate wartime conditions - succeed in conjuring up a sense of what it might have been like living underneath the castle during this major global conflict.

More bang for your buck is provided with the beautiful interior of the restored Saxon church, an exhibit on the history of the local Dover regiment and a couple of pleasant cafes in the grounds. Visiting here is an experience to savour: I've been to a good few castles in the UK and this one ranks among the very best. Highly recommended.
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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joseph98 says:
Thanks both :-)
Posted on: Feb 25, 2015
curious_claire says:
Great review. Must check it out one day!
Posted on: Feb 24, 2015
Vikram says:
I'd missed this review! Well written, and thanks for the nice words although I don't know about "legendary"!
Posted on: Feb 23, 2015
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Vikram Vikram
297 reviews
Pricey but worth the money! Nov 09, 2014
Dover Castle has been on my list from as long as I can remember so I was really chuffed that I not only got to visit finally, but did so with Travbuddy Joseph. In my previous visit to Dover about 8 years ago, I only got as far as the White Cliffs (day trip which included other towns) but never into the proper town of Dover, much less the Castle.

The Castle is located a mile away from the main railway station, and whilst one can cut across town to walk up to it, it's quite uphill so I'd advise taking a bus (schedule available online, not the most frequent of the lot). 20 seems like quite a bit up front, but once you've done the tour you'll see it's totally worth it.

By far the runaway hit here is the tour of the Wartime tunnels. It's guided and so be sure to check the timings, but more importantly be on time! The tours take about an hour. I really wish at this point that I'd learnt a bit about history and Dover's significance in the war. From the Wartime tunnels you're taken to a tour around the hospital which was quite middling. We went to the canteen after spending some time by the lookout point which was brilliant thanks to the wonderful pink hue of the skies.

Lunch was a pasty and soup, and then we made it to the Great Tower with a wonderful display that narrated how Henry and the kids fought leading to the eventual fall of the Empire. After this we went to the central tower that boasts markup kitchens, bedrooms, etc. along with lovely views of the English channel from atop.

We finally left around 3pm, back to town and onto London again. Overall brilliant spot, I can't speak highly enough!
View of the Castle as we alighted …
Inside the Castle
By the Admiral lookout
Hello Joseph!
6 / 6 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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joseph98 says:
Your photos are much better than mine, though :-)
Posted on: Feb 25, 2015
joseph98 says:
Yeah, she's right! Waiting patiently for the rest...
Posted on: Feb 25, 2015
Vikram says:
LOL @ May!
Posted on: Feb 24, 2015

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