Despite a deluge of epic proportions, we had a wonderful visit to Dover Castle recently.
We were in a 28′ motorhome, but parking wasn’t a problem, thanks to the friendly staff at the Castle.
Motorhomes are usually parked in the disabled area at the bottom of the hill, but this was full up, so we were invited to park in the disabled car park, right at the top of the hill, adjacent to the castle entrance.
Before visiting the castle itself, we headed down into the tunnels beneath it.
Providing privacy from prying eyes and protection from enemy fire, the tunnels under Dover Castle have served a strategic military role from Napoleonic times.
The tunnels played an important part in World War II and now visitors can enjoy a vivid recreation of the Dunkirk evacuation, which was planned & executed from these bunkers deep under ground. Using artefacts, interactives, real life stories & voices, striking images and original wartime film footage this new exhibition traces the history of the tunnels across the centuries.
At the start of the tour, we sat in silence and listened to the King’s radio broadcast announcing the start of World War II. It was very moving and I felt tears welling up in my eyes as we were transported back to those dark days.
Fortunately, Dover Castle was only bombed once during the war. It was believed that the Germans did not bomb it because it was such a landmark for their bombers heading over the channel. Another theory is that Hitler wanted it for himself as a kind of summer palace and retreat!
Either way, Dover Castle has remained as a striking landmark since the 1160′s and has been a protector of our shores at the shortest sea crossing between England and the continent.
Following our visit to the tunnels, we took the little land train back up to the Castle itself and headed for the Great Tower.
In one of English Heritage’s most ambitious projects, the entire interior of Henry 11′s Great Tower palace has now been authentically recreated. Historians, designers, artists and craftspeople have combined to present it as it might have appeared when newly completed, and ready to receive an important visitor, Count Philip of Flanders, in 1184.
It makes for a compelling and engaging experience which even children can enjoy and learn from.
We then climbed the circular staircase to the very top of the tower, and came out on the roof to enjoy the breath-taking views.
By now, the rain had cleared and the sun was shining, and the whole of Dover port and the surrounding countryside was laid out at our feet. It was such a privilege to be able to visit this stunning castle and walk in the steps of people who lived and worked here over millenia.
Soon it was time to us to leave, and we headed off to our campsite, Kingsdown International Camping Centre, just 6 miles away.
This 35 acre site is set on the famous “White Cliffs” of Dover and features spectacular views and a short walk down to a shingle beach.
Following dinner in a local pub – there’s three in the village to choose from – we walked back to our motorhome for a peaceful night’s sleep.
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