Cruise passengers typically don’t think of Dover as a destination as much as they consider it to be a port of embarkation/debarkation. Those on cruises that begin from Dover often arrive the same day of departure, or they choose to spend a night or two in London, situated about two hours from Dover, before they sail away.
Once aboard ship in Dover, getting off and into the city center requires either a 30-minute walk, a taxi ride or complimentary shuttle bus service into the town center. If you’re only interested in shopping, visit the outlet shop at De Bradelei Wharf. To orientate yourself, find the Tourist Information Center on Old Town Gaol Street.
Among the nearby attractions is the 12th-century Dover Castle, one of England’s oldest castles, commissioned by Henry II. Dating from the 1st century, the Pharos Lighthouse is thought to have been built by the Romans, who were here as early as 54 B.C. The lighthouse features a military museum featuring an exhibit of WWII spy equipment. Also, those interested in war history will want to see the Secret War Time Tunnels, which were used during the excavation of Dunkirk for Operation Dynamo and the Battle of Britain. Nearly 200 feet below ground, the tunnels were excavated to store cannons that were to be used against Napoleon, should he have invaded. Climb to a hidden, cliff-top balcony for views of the English Channel.
You won’t miss the famed and fabled White Cliffs of Dover. For the best views, you can opt for a 40-minute boat tour that departs from the Clock Tower at the marina, or simply stroll along the Prince of Wales pier. By taxi you could visit White Cliffs Park, where you’ll have views of the English Channel, and should you wish to stretch your legs, miles of hiking trails.
At the Market Square, the Dover Museum & Bronze Age Boat Gallery is worth a gander for those who want to acquaint themselves with Dover’s history, but note that the museum is closed on Sundays.
Also from Market Square, hop on and hop off the Open Top Double-Decker Bus for a 50-minute tour of Dover. Tickets are valid for 24 hours.
Impressively preserved, the two-mlllenia-old Roman Painted House is often referred to as England’s “Pompeii.” Be sure to see the bacchic murals.
The key question for many cruise passengers is how to get from the airports to the cruise terminal. By car or motorcoach, Gatwick is 45 minutes, Heathrow is nearly two hours away. You can hop a train from either airport, but you’ll need to change trains in central London at Victoria Coach or Charing Cross Stations for the two-hour journey to Dover’s Priory Station.
Visit Ralph’s web site, www.avidcruiser.com, to contact him and for additional articles about cruising and ports of call.
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