Museums & events
Discover castles, battles & exhibits in England, including Kent’s greatest fortress, a bloody 17th-century battlefield & a sail from HMS Victory
Dover Castle, Battle of Sedgemoor Visitor Centre and HMS Victory’s sail
DOVER CASTLE The formidable citadel of england’s most famous port has a history That dates from claudius To churchill
Planted firmly above the famous White Cliffs, Dover Castle is one the United Kingdom’s most iconic fortresses and has been the ‘key to England’ for centuries. It is arguably the most varied and sprawling castle in the country, and its history is unparalleled.
There has been a military presence at Dover since the Iron Age, and there is one of the best-preserved Roman lighthouses in Europe within the castle’s grounds. The present castle dates from the 1180s and was subjected to two medieval sieges, as well as hosting several kings and queens. Unusually for a British castle, the fortress was expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries when a network of tunnels was dug into the White Cliffs to be used as barracks.
Even more remarkably, the tunnels were extensively used during WWII when they acted as a command centre to control naval operations in the English Channel. It was from Dover that Vice Admiral Bertram Ramsay organised ‘Operation Dynamo’ in 1940, which was the famous evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk.
With an important history that stretches from antiquity to living memory, Dover is a mustsee attraction for history enthusiasts, and the castle makes for a memorable visit thanks to its high state of preservation. The site is rich in medieval buildings and displays, from the Anglo-saxon church of St Mary-in-castro, winding tunnels that were built during and after the siege of 1216, and also the majority of the castle’s fortifications. The Great Tower is the fortress’s centrepiece and contains a recreated royal chamber on the second floor, which is decorated to evoke a 12th-century palace.
The castle’s World War II history is also well represented, particularly with its wartime tunnels. ‘Operation Dynamo: Rescue from Dunkirk’ is a treasure trove where visitors can go on guided tours and experience state-of-theart special effects, dramatic projections, film footage and testimonies that bring the period to life. The 1941 underground military hospital is also open to the public, and above ground there is the preserved fire command post that was first constructed during World War I.
Dover Castle is open throughout the year and holds regular events. Some of the upcoming military-themed events include ‘WWII Christmas at Dover Castle’, which runs from 1-17 December 2018 on weekends, and ‘Secrets and Spies at Dover Castle’, which will be happening between 18-22 February 2019.
Dover Castle is one of the best-preserved fortresses in Britain, lying above and below ground
The castle contains a network of tunnels that range from the Middle Ages through to the Napoleonic Wars, and was used extensively during WWII