Name: Port of Dover
Address: Harbour House, Marine Parade, Dover, CT17 9BU.
Phone: +44 1304 241427
On the southeastern coast of England, Dover is the second busiest cruise port in the UK and the eighth busiest North European cruise port, with more than 170,000 cruise passengers going through the port every year.
It is also the country’s major port for ferry crossings to the European mainland so you can expect a lot of traffic coming and going into the port. Dover is approximately 70 miles from South London. There is a frequent national express coach service from London Victoria coach station. Approximate journey time is 2 hours, 30 minutes. Other buses arrive at the main bus station in Dover town Center.
If possible, use your cruise company’s transportation link for London to Dover. Otherwise, it can be extremely expensive for taxi transportation. A one-way fare from Heathrow to Dover is about $250US. Gatwick airport is a 45-minute drive by car and Heathrow airport is about an hour and forty-five minutes from Dover.
Both airports have frequent trains to London for connections to Dover.
From London Gatwick to Dover Priory station, there are two options for travel by rail; both options involve at least one change. The first option is travel via Tonbridge; the journey time is approximately 2 hours. The second option is via London Bridge and the journey time is approximately 2-1/2 hours. Generally this service operates on an hourly basis.
From Heathrow, take the Heathrow Express to London Paddington Station. This service currently departs every 15 minutes and the trip takes 15 minutes. On arrival in Paddington, transfer to London Waterloo East by taxi; once there take a direct service train to Dover Priory Station. On arrival at Dover Priory you will need to take a taxi to Dover Cruise Terminal Two. The terminal is approximately five minutes from the station.
For London airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton — one of the best ways to and from Dover may be a private car or limousine service which is decidedly more economical that taking a taxi. You can rent a car with one-way drop-off.
There are 18 hotels in Dover, many B&Bs, and several inns so there’s a place for every taste and budget. Wallett’s Court country house hotel, restaurant and spa, is one of the region’s best known properties; the Lighthouse Inn offers spectacular sea views;
Best Western’s Marina Hotel and Spa is a new hotel 10 minutes’ walk from Dover’s port, and five minutes’ walk from the center of town. And the Ramada Hotel Dover is set in landscaped gardens.
There are also accommodations available nearby in the towns of Sandwich and Deal. Further afield, the peninsula towns of Westgate on Sea, Margate and Broadstairs also have a great section of accommodations, dining, and historical sites.
If you’re spending a few days in London prior to your cruise or afterwards, that city has a hotel, inn, or B&B for every taste and budget. The city is replete with the usual big name properties like The Fairmont Savoy, Radisson Edwardian, Marriott Park Lane, The Dorchester, Mandarin Oriental, among others.
But those looking for a different experience can find it at properties like the elegant and charming Gainsborough Hotel in South Kensington close to the Natural History Museum. The Nayland Hotel Guest House in the heart of the city offers a sense of tranquility with upscale accommodations at a very reasonable price.
The Durley House is an all-suite hotel featuring 11 uniquely decorated suites in the upscale section of Knightsbridge, a very chic area of London on Sloane Street. The hotel is in the heart of the city’s most exclusive boutique stores like Gucci, Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.
Dover is more than just a seaport although that’s its raison d’etre. It also has a scenic beach, a pier and stylish marina and a rich history that can be discovered in its monuments, castle and audio-visual presentations.
The internationally famous White Cliffs of Dover offer a variety of walks and provide spectacular views across the English Channel. Set high on the cliffs looking down the seafront and dominating the town, Dover Castle deserves a long visit with its secret tunnels, reconstruction of Henry VIII’s court and the 1256 Siege experience.
The Dover Museum tells the story of the town’s history since prehistoric times using original artifacts, fine arts and models. It is also home to Dover Bronze Age Boat Gallery. The South Foreland Lighthouse, a restored Victorian lighthouse with original light mechanism and which once protected the Goodwin Sands, has displays on lighthouse history from the Middle Ages to Marconi.
Dover and the surrounding White Cliffs Country is closer to Calais, France, than it is to practically anywhere else in the UK, so the French have had an influence in eating out in Dover. In fact, French produce is delivered fresh on most days to many of the region’s restaurants. The blending of French and English dining presents an interesting combination of English — ’50s’ ice-cream parlors rub shoulders with traditional beachfront cafés while seaside oyster bars compete with village pubs and stylish French bistros.
Cullins Yard Dover’s is a waterfront seafood restaurant that has been converted from an Old Ship Repair Yard. At Hubert House Inn and Bistro, you’ll get British fare, local seafood, fruit and veggies. In nearby Deal (eight miles) the 250-year-old Kings Head Public House is probably as well known as the annual display of flowers that adorn the building as it is for its food.
Things to do:
In Dover, one of the finest tourist attractions is the nearly 2,000 years old Roman Painted House. Dubbed England’s “buried Pompeii,” it’s all impressively preserved, including an under-floor heating system and it chronicles the Romans occupation of the region from 43 A.D.
Dover is just one town along the eastern coast of England that’s known as White Cliffs Country, and includes the communities of Dover, Sandwich, and Deal. The region has miles of diverse and unspoiled coastline offering activities like rock-pooling beneath the majestic White Cliffs, fishing from a pier, or simply walking the beaches in beneath the towering cliffs.
But this area is also one of the premier golf destinations in the British Isles, the home and former home of many Open championships. There are three championship golf courses within eight miles of one another close to Dover and the most recognizable is Royal St. George’s Golf Course, the site of the 2011 Open. It’s not an inexpensive round of golf, but for about $240US you can have the round of a lifetime.
Prince’s Golf Course, a former British Open site in Sandwich, is an equally dramatic course, but can be played at the more affordable rate of $120US. There is also accommodation available at the course Lodge. And another former British Open course – Royal Cinque Ports – is $200US and located in the town of Deal.
For one of the best golf bargains in the region, try the Walmer and Kingsdown golf course – between Dover and Deal – that’s located atop the cliffs, offering spectacular views of the English Channel at the modest green fee rate of $52US.
The entire region is a place of castles and has a history of intrigue. Walmer Castle is one of the major attractions and has been voted the best tourist attraction in Kent County. It was built by Henry VIII in 1539 as an artillery fortress to counter the threat of invasion from France and Spain. During the Second World War both Queen Elizabeth (then Princess) and her mother made regular visits here to see Churchill.
Further afield, Deal is one of the prettiest towns in Kent County, hugging the coastline. It is also the place where King Henry VIII met Anne of Cleves for the first time and where the king’s staff planted the first apple and cherry trees in Teynham, establishing the region’s reputation as the Garden of England.
At Hever Castle you can see how Anne Boleyn spent her childhood and find many artifacts related to the unfolding of her infamous romance with the King. Rising from a lake in 500 acres of parkland, Leeds Castle is the epitome of elegance and a treasure house of furnishings, paintings and antiques dating back centuries.
The Kent Battle of Britain Museum has the most important collection of Battle of Britain artifacts in the country with aircraft, weapons, flying equipment, fine art prints and relics recovered from over 600 Battle of Britain aircrafts.
– Ray Chatelain