Dover, EnglandLocation: Europe
Dover, England is one of the charming ports of call on a Disney Cruise Line European Cruise vacation. It is a seaside city in the southeast corner of Great Britain, situated only 80 miles from London and 28 miles from France. The white cliffs of Dover have remained the city's proudest and most recognizable feature since it was first settled. This attractive sight has welcomed visitors traveling to England from continental Europe for centuries.
Today, Dover is the world's busiest harbor, one of England's most active cruise liner ports and a major dock for freight, as attested to by the ever-present fleet of colossal cargo ships docked there. On a clear day, you can easily see France from Dover's shores.
Things to See and Do
While in Dover, be sure to take in some of its exhilarating sights, from the handsome White Cliffs to the city's massive castles and fortresses. Also, journey to nearby Canterbury Cathedral, which has attracted pilgrims for hundreds of years, as chronicled in the 14th century in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Ten miles south of Dover is the entrance to the Channel Tunnel, nicknamed "the Chunnel." It stretches 31 miles under the English Channel from England to France. Trains inside the Chunnel carry cars and passengers and travel at speeds up to 100 miles an hour. Visitors wanting to experience an exhilarating state-of-the-art ride can hop on board!
If you prefer to stay in the city limits of Dover, however, there is plenty to see: from the remnants of Roman structures, to one of Europe's best-preserved Roman lighthouses on the site of Dover Castle atop the White Cliffs, and even the well-maintain Roman Painted House, complete with decorative frescoes—proof that Romans settled in Dover in the first century AD.
Local Culture and Flavor
A far cry from the tumultuous days of World War II, life in Dover today is characterized as calm, pleasant and idyllic. Locals spend their leisure time walking along the shops on the promenade that borders the marina, or hiking the many cliff-top trails around Dover Castle.
Visitors find that lush hillsides, fresh air and sea breezes are the features that set Dover apart from the rest of urban England.
Past and Present
The city's original settlers identified Dover as an ideal port over 6,000 years ago, when they observed that its location in the Dour River Valley protected it from the prevailing south-westerly winds. Just as it has been sheltered from catastrophic weather, it in turn has "guarded" England for centuries, having been the focal point of invasion plans by William the Conqueror, Napoleon and Hitler.
During WWI, it was the center of English Channel defense, and in WWII, it was the target of bombardment by German long-range guns. A series of subterranean caves and tunnels along its shores were used as shelters.
Today, Dover is a tranquil seaside city that nonetheless maintains a naval base in addition to its bustling commercial port. Discover the city that features an enchanting fairytale ambiance and offers touches of the historical around every corner.
Fun Facts & Tips
It is only a 10- to 15-minute walk from Dover's main cruise ship terminal to the main part of town.
To defend against the French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars, large brick shelters were built in the cliffs of Dover.