Visit Dover by Mouse
Dover, in Kent, on the English channel, is 78 miles southeast of London, 18 miles southeast of Canterbury, and just 21 miles west of France. It is port of entry into England for ferries across the English Channel to and from Calais, Dunkerque and Boulogne. Dover is noted for its white cliffs, made of chalk, as in the movie and song, "The White Cliffs of Dover". These are the first thing you see of England from the Calais ferry, looming larger and larger as you approach.
Dover played a very important part in World War II. Because of its proximity to France it was incessantly the target of German war planes. It also was the port of disembarkation by the huge fleet of every kind of available boat that sailed or motored across the channel to Dunkerque to evacuate the beseiged British Expeditionary Force trapped on the beach there. Between May 27 and June 5, 1940, over 200,000 of the 338,000 evacuees passed through Dover on their way to safety. The cliffs under Dover castle harbored a military hospital for the wounded where they would be safe from bombing , and also an observation and command post from which the evacuation from Dunkerque was supervised. Later, in the Battle of Britain, one could see dogfights between the RAF and the Luftwaffe up close from there. Winston Churchill himself would come to peer out of the cliff openings. These tunnels and rooms under the castle were dug during the Napoleanic wars and enlarged in WW II. The hospital and command post is open to tourists.
There are at least two things in Dover that are worth a visit. One is the Dover museum. The other is Dover Castle.
The museum is focussed on the history of Dover from the stone age through today. It has many bronze age artifacts, including a bronze age boat discovered nearby. Dover's special role in WWII is also featured.
Because of the strategic location of Dover, the position where Dover Castle is now had already been fortified before 1066 AD when William the Conquerer took England. He strengthened it and it was modified further by later kings of England. The World War II buff will find a great deal of interest in the castle tour which includes a tour of the cliff tunnels.
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