48 Hours in White Cliffs Country
WELCOME TO WHITE CLIFFS COUNTRY - DOVER, DEAL & SANDWICH
Dover has long been known as the gateway to England, and its white cliffs are one of the most iconic landscapes in the country with the magnificent Dover Castle forming a cliff-top crown. Dover’s port and proximity to Europe have shaped the area bringing a string of historic castles and forts and, more recently, a prominent public artwork by Banksy. Discover them on a heritage walk through the town or delve further into the maritime history and stories of smugglers by travelling around the coast to discover charming Deal and Sandwich. For spectacular views across the Channel and a breath of fresh air, take to the cliffs for a bracing walk or game of golf on one of the championship links courses in the district.
English Heritage, who protect and look after Dover Castle, call it the most iconic of all English fortresses. The castle has been at the forefront of defence for nine centuries and today visitors can explore different areas to find out about how it has been used and developed. Climb the Great Tower, walk the castle walls and head down into the secret wartime tunnels for an immersive audio-visual experience that brings Operation Dynamo, the rescue of troops from Dunkirk during the Second World War, vividly to life.
Dover Museum & Bronze Age Boat
Situated in the centre of the town, the Dover Museum tells the story of the area from the Stone Age onwards with a range of artefacts from across the ages. It is one of the oldest museums in Kent having been established in 1836. One of the most fascinating objects is the Bronze Age boat housed in its own gallery. This boat was discovered in 1992 and is thought to be the world’s oldest sea-going vessel at around 3,000 years old.
White Cliffs to South Foreland Lighthouse
Enjoy a four-mile walk along the White Cliffs to the Victorian South Foreland Lighthouse and back. Start out from the White Cliffs Visitor Centre and head along the cliffs enjoying spectacular views to France (on a clear day) as you pass Langdon Hole and Fan Bay. Protected by the National Trust, the lighthouse at your destination was the first to use an electric light. You can explore inside from April to October with refreshments available at Mrs Knott’s Tearoom.
The White Cliffs Bunkhouse Kitchen and Bar, St Margaret’s at Cliffe
The Cliffs Bunkhouse & Kitchen is part of The White Cliffs Hotel in St Margaret’s at Cliffe serving fresh, seasonal, native food from around Kent.
Sandwich Guildhall Museum
Start day two with a visit to Sandwich. You can learn about this fascinating town in its museum, housed in the 16th-century Guildhall, built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The museum was refurbished in 2016 and tells the story of the town from early medieval times to the present day. The exhibitions and collections on display include artefacts from the Mesolithic period, Roman relics and the 1300 Sandwich Magna Carta. A temporary exhibition in 2017 also commemorates the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Sandwich.
St Peter's Church and Haven Heights
Walk through history and discover a different view of Sandwich, St Peter’s church and Haven Heights is a 114 step experience that should be on everyone’s trip list! The church dates back to the 13th or 14th century when Sandwich was at the height of its prosperity, with Medieval roofs, handsome decorated windows, and the magnificently carved tomb recesses, its as educational as it is sublime. Don’t forget to climb the tower and experience amazing views over the medieval town. It’s as if it was plucked straight from a fairy-tale.
The George and Dragon, Sandwich
The George and Dragon has been serving thirsty locals and visitors since the 15th century. Dine in this historic inn from a modern menu that has been matched with craft beers.
Deal Castle was built by Henry VIII as part of a chain of defences to protect this part of the coast from invasion. The fort at Deal is the most elaborate of these Tudor artilleries. Shaped like a Tudor rose with curving walls designed to offer the best defence from attack, it is now protected by English Heritage. Learn about Henry VIII’s fears of attack in an exhibition within the castle and explore from the dark tunnels of the basement to the first-floor captain’s residence.
Learn about smugglers and lifeboat rescues through the artefacts and displays at the Deal Museum. The museum is housed in an old industrial building in the town which has its own fascinating history and contains several exhibitions – including a Maritime Gallery, a section dedicated to the Royal Marines who were based at Deal, a boatyard and a small exhibition about the Kent coalfield.