Destination UK

A springtime visit to Dover Castle

Posted on
May 28, 2019

Last weekend we were invited to stay in a stunning holiday cottage in Littlesea, by Kent and Sussex Cottages.

When we go on holiday we tend to head West, so Kent is somewhere we have yet to explore properly and we have a long list of places we would like to visit.

Sadly a weekend is not enough to do everything on the list, so we decided to take advantage of our English Heritage membership and visit Dover Castle.

Dover Castle is a large medieval castle that was founded in the 11th century and has been described as the “Key to England” due to its defensive significance throughout history.

The War Time Tunnels

The first thing the kids wanted to do was explore the secret wartime tunnels which are buried deep into the hillside underneath the castle.

Photography is not allowed in the tunnels, but inside are brilliant interactive displays which tells you how the greatest rescue of all time took place with a series of special effects, projections and real film footage to bring the operation to life.

Outside of the tunnels is a small museum, cafe and shop with displays and dressing up for the kids to interact with.

Next door to the Operation Dynamo tunnel is the Underground Hospital.

This tunnel gives you the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds and smells of this authentic underground hospital by following the dramatic journey of a wounded WWII pilot, fighting for his life as he is rushed through to the operating theatre. Be aware that this experience may not be suitable for young children as there are flickering lights and bangs as if the local area is being bombed.

During the First World War, Dover was officially designated as a fortress with Dover Castle acting as military headquarters and there are displays for the kids to interact with and see how the military communicated with each other.

It took them a while to figure out how to use the phones!!

There is a great signalling platform to climb which offers fabulous views over the infamous white cliffs of Dover too.

TOP TIP: It is best to get the tunnels done early as they can get busy later in the day – we arrived just after opening and got on a tour straight away.

The Castle

First used by Iron Age inhabitants as a hill fort, the Romans built a lighthouse, the Saxons a church but it was Henry II who was responsible for the impressive Great Tower.

There are a few pathways to the Great Tower and we chose to climb up to the outer walls and make our way round the long way and take in the lovely views over the countryside.

The Great Tower has been staged just like a medieval court so you can see how the King would have lived.

At the base of the tower are the kitchens, complete with hanging carcasses, bread ovens and all the tools you would need to serve up a banquet fit for a King.

As you climb the different floors, the rooms are dressed as if they are waiting for a royal visitor. We even happened on a feast led by King John and watched as he was entertained by a harpist and a court jester.

The rooms include colourful wall hangings and stunning furnishings, all based on historical research and evidence.

The view from the top is breathtaking.

Dover Castle is a full day out of fun and history for all the family and costs £54.30 for a family (2 x adults and up to 3 children). English Heritage members are free.

TAGS
RELATED POSTS
23 Comments
  1. Reply

    Chad

    May 29, 2019

    This must have been quite an experience! I would love to visit this castle, so much history..Fascinating.

  2. Reply

    Luna S

    May 30, 2019

    I really like all of the interactive parts of this tour that they offer, it was cute to see the kids in the little coats.

  3. Reply

    Cristina Petrini

    May 30, 2019

    Visiting castles or palaces and villas is my favorite pastime not only on vacation, but also on weekends!

  4. Reply

    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    May 30, 2019

    Looks like they go all out to make it a fun family day for all the family.

  5. Reply

    Indu

    May 30, 2019

    Exploring castle is a learning experience. Can be great family outing on weekend or holiday.

  6. Reply

    Catherine Santiago Jose

    May 30, 2019

    I have never been and I am sure everyone of you is having a great time exploring that place. Hope to visit castles and palaces someday!

  7. Reply

    Yeah Lifestyle

    May 30, 2019

    Dover Castle looks like a fantastic place to explore. It is great that it is so affordable in price but even better if you are an English Heritage member!

  8. Reply

    Samantha Donnelly

    May 30, 2019

    It looks like you all had a great time, I have never been to Dover Castle before but I do love visiting places like this full of history x

  9. Reply

    Claire Lee

    May 30, 2019

    Sounds like a fun and interesting place to explore & learn! I’d love to visit the castle!

  10. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    May 30, 2019

    Dover Castle seems like such a lovely place to go and visit! I have to admit I don’t think I’ve been before myself and Spring seems like such a lovely time to go as well.

  11. Reply

    Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    May 30, 2019

    Such a fun place to take the children, loving all the interactive features

  12. Reply

    Arya

    May 30, 2019

    This is the ultimate historic experience for kids! Are those loaves of bread real? I can imagine their excitement!

  13. Reply

    Daniielle

    May 31, 2019

    This castle looks like such a fun place to visit and explore! I am loving all of your photos!

  14. Reply

    Wren

    May 31, 2019

    Such a beautiful place. Looks like a once in a lifetime experience and I love how the kids can get involved! Looks like so much fun.

  15. Reply

    Shannon Gurnee

    May 31, 2019

    Wow – this looks like such a fun experience! I bet they had a blast! Love all the pictures too.

  16. Reply

    Jasmine Hewitt

    May 31, 2019

    i’ve seen a lot about dover castle lately. i’d love to go here

  17. Reply

    Krista

    May 31, 2019

    What a cool spot; and it looks like your kids actually REALLY enjoyed themselves too! What a perfect day.

  18. Reply

    Afshan Nasim

    May 31, 2019

    This mini break looks ace. How nice to have been invited to a lovely cottage. So much history and learning for the kids too.

  19. Reply

    Playdays and Runways

    May 31, 2019

    Looks like a great place to visit. My boys would love exploring

  20. Reply

    michelle twin mum

    May 31, 2019

    Isn’t it fabulous? We really love Dover Castel, there is so much to see and do there. Mich x

  21. Reply

    Kalyan Panja

    June 1, 2019

    I would love to spend a day in the Dover Castle as I love visiting medieval castles. Thanks for sharing about your experience.

  22. Reply

    rhian westbury

    June 2, 2019

    I’ve only ever been to Dover when getting the ferry but I think it would be a great place to explore x

  23. Reply

    Jessica

    June 6, 2019

    These cottages are gorgeous ! I would love to stay at one of these ASAP! Looks like so much fun.

LEAVE A COMMENT

KARA GUPPY
Bournemouth

Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk