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Dover Castle

Last updated: 13 March, 2024

Known as the ‘Key to England’, Dover Castle is the largest castle in England, originally commissioned back in 1160 by Henry II, and subsequently enhanced by later kings including Henry VIII. It has long played a pivotal role in British conflicts, including the English Civil War, the Napoleonic Wars and the Second World War, evidenced by a rich legacy of moats, keeps, and secret underground tunnels, with drama lurking in every tower and turret.

During the English Civil War, it was held for the king but fell to a Parliamentarian trick without a shot being fired, sparing it the demolition job received by many other British castles.

Don’t miss 

Secret tunnels under the castle have played a critical role in the castle’s history since the Napoleonic Wars. A permanent exhibition uses artifacts, real-life stories, imagery, and original wartime footage to tell their fascinating story, including a vivid recreation of the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation.

The Great Tower has been restored and richly furnished, complete with costumed actors, to give an insight into life in the medieval court of Henry II.

Logistics

Price from: £24
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

Dover castle is about 1.5 hours’ drive from London; there’s free on-site parking. Dover Priory Station (about an hour by train from London St Pancras) is 1.5 miles away.

You don’t need to pre-book, but it’s recommended to guarantee entry and get a discount.

Wartime tunnel tours (about 50 minutes) are part-guided and depart at 10-minute intervals. Access to the Underground Hospital is by guided tour only (about 20 minutes).

When to do it

The castle is open all year round, Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Monday. From November to mid-February, it is only open on weekends.

Who to go with: organised tours

3

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle & White Cliffs Guided Day Tour from London

  • London

On this small group tour, take a journey into the county of Kent. View the famous White Cliffs of Dover, explore Dover Castle, and visit historic Canterbury. This tour includes either a walk along the cliff-top or a walk along the beach to view the White Cliffs (weather dependent – your tour manager will advise on the day), entrance into Dover Castle, visit to Canterbury and entrance into Canterbury Cathedral, luxury coach travel throughout and the services of a tour manager.

Price £115

Min age 0

Rating 4.35 / 5 [431 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Small Group Canterbury, Dover Castle and Cliffs & Kent Villages Day Tour

  • London

Join us on a 11 hour small group, maximum 16 people, day tour from London, to Canterbury, Dover and Kent Villages. This tour takes us through the county known as the "Garden of England". We will travel through time - literally, with a visit to Greenwich where GMT began. Then out deep into the beautiful Kent countryside and a stop in the glorious traditional Kentish village of Chilham. Following Chilham we take the scenic route onto the famous White Cliffs of Dover where we descend down to the shore for spectacular views along the coast and up at the glistening white cliffs immediately behind us. On from the cliffs we head to Dover Castle, where you can explore and see over 2000 years of history, from the Roman era church, to the Medieval embattlements and tunnels dug during WW2. Then on to the city of Canterbury, with its world famous 900 year old cathedral. Visit the cathedral and join us on a guided walking tour of Canterbury before our return to London after a full day exploring.

Price £144

Min age 3

Rating 4.91 / 5 [116 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Luxury Private Day Hire from & to London via Dover & Leeds Castle

  • London

After your preffered pickup from the central London Hotel, you will travel by air-conditioned luxury Mercedes V-Class to your first stop, Leeds Castle Here, you will take self guided walking Tour. Afterward, we will continue to Canterbury or May be Dover castle and its White Cliffs. On the way to Leeds Castle you will admire some of Londons iconic buildings from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London. From Leeds Castle we will make our way to Dover Castle and its White Cliffs this has an amazing view over the English channel.

Price £815

Min age 0

Rating 4.85 / 5 [14 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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