Aerial view of the Dover Castle, England

Things to do in  Dover

The door to southern England

Lying on Kent’s English Channel coast at the shortest point between England and France, Dover is best known to travelers and cruise passengers as a gateway to southern England and London’s stellar landmarks—the latter less than a 2-hour drive away. Things to do in Dover include striding over its scenic and nostalgia-steeped White Cliffs, exploring hilltop Dover Castle to absorb its rich and long history, and visiting nearby attractions like medieval Canterbury and Kent’s picturesque seaside towns, villages, and countryside.

Top 2 attractions in Dover

Dover Castle

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Built in 1066 by William the Conqueror above the striking White Cliffs of Dover, the 11th century Dover Castle is the largest castle in England. Climb the Great Tower, marvel at the oldest surviving Roman lighthouse in the country, and stop by Saint Mary in Castro church, then tour the castle’s hidden wartime tunnels.More
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Port of Dover

Port of Dover

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Established by King James I in 1606, the Port of Dover in Kent remains one of country’s busiest and most important transit hubs. The closest port to France—located 21 miles (34 kilometers) across the English Channel—Dover in southeast England is frequented by ferries, cruise ships, and an array of cargo services.More

Top activities in Dover

Dover Shore Excursion:Post-Cruise Tour to London via Canterbury and Leeds Castle
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Dover direct to Heathrow and London
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All about Dover

When to visit

Dover’s weather is generally mild year-round, but the best time to visit is May–September, with July and August promising the warmest temperatures and least rainfall. However, tourist attractions in and around Dover can get very busy in these peak months. Summertime brings numerous events, including August’s Dover Pride, July’s concert-packed Deal Music & Arts Festival, and the colorful Folk & Ale Festival in nearby Sandwich each June.

Getting around

Dover is compact—its main train station, Dover Priory, is just a 10-minute stroll away from its center. To reach Dover Castle from the station or Dover cruise port, take a cab—there are no direct buses operating along either route. You’re in better luck for London day trips: frequent trains taking as little as 70 minutes run to several London mainline stations, including St. Pancras and Victoria. Local trains and car rentals are best for exploring wider Kent.

Traveler tips

A great pit stop along the White Cliffs is the South Foreland Lighthouse. Take the approximately 50-minute walk along the stunning clifftops from Dover’s White Cliffs Visitor Centre to reach this white-painted, Victorian-era beacon, and pay the small admission for a tour that includes climbing to the balcony for sweeping Channel views. Finish with afternoon tea at the neighboring 1950s-style Mrs Knott’s Tea Room, where hunks of Victoria sponge cake come with tea served in pretty china cups—a quintessentially English experience.

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People Also Ask

Is Dover worth visiting?

Yes. Dover is well worth a visit. History buffs will love medieval Dover Castle, which was largely built by Henry II in the 12th century and features secret World War II tunnels. Nature lovers will also want to walk the White Cliffs for their stirring views over the English Channel.

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What are the top attractions to visit in Dover?

Dover Castle draws the most visitors with its splendid Great Tower and network of subterranean tunnels, used for planning military operations during World War II. A close second in popularity are walks along the 350-foot (110-meter) white-chalk cliffs, which are iconic symbols of England and the country’s wartime defense.

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What are popular things to do in Dover for kids?

Besides exploring Dover Castle’s historical rooms and tunnels, kids will love Dover’s beaches, as well as boat rides to see the White Cliffs and local seal colonies. They’ll also enjoy walking to the South Foreland Lighthouse, where they can climb to the balcony and play quoits and skittles on the lawns.

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How should I spend a day in Dover?

Start by delving into Dover Castle’s Great Tower, which has been returned to its original medieval splendor, before taking in the immersive exhibitions that light up the wartime tunnels. Then, switch to the outdoors with an exhilarating and scenic afternoon hike along the top of Dover’s famous White Cliffs.

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Is Dover Castle worth seeing?

Yes. Looming above Dover, this huge fortress offers a fascinating journey through England’s medieval and modern history. Relive Henry II’s royal court in the Great Tower, walk rooms and corridors that housed World War II command posts and an underground hospital, and don’t miss the still-standing Roman-era lighthouse on the castle grounds.

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Can you walk along the White Cliffs of Dover?

Yes. A clifftop footpath runs east from Dover to St. Margaret’s Bay. From Dover’s White Cliffs Visitor Centre, stride the grasslands for stellar views of the Channel and the cliffs unfurling ahead. After about 50 minutes, turn back at the South Foreland Lighthouse or continue to St. Margaret’s for buses back to Dover.

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