A few weeks ago I ventured out of the city of London to see some sights further afield. I went on a day-trip through the company Anderson Tours, travelling to Canterbury and Dover to visit Canterbury town and Canterbury Cathedral, the white cliffs of Dover and Dover Castle!
The Cathedral itself is absolutely beautiful.
After visiting the Cathedral I wandered around the town a little. Not only is it home to the famous Cathedral and shrine but Canterbury is also where the playwright (and peer of Shakespeare) Christopher Marlowe was born. There is also a little ‘shrine’ for him.
After wandering around some more I also discovered an amazing old-fashioned lolly shop!
The cliffs are white because the stones are made of chalk. You can even pick a bit up and try it out!
View towards Dover Castle, our third and final destination
The Pharos (lighthouse) which dates from Roman times.
While it was initially founded in the 12th Century (and there is evidence of fortifications from before the Romans invaded) it was during the reign of Henry II that the great keep (as seen below) was built up for defence. Today there are displays within the keep to show how it would have looked during his reign, with the throne room (in rather garish colours in my opinion), kitchens, bedrooms and the King’s private chapel furnished in the style of the time.
The “Secret Wartime Tunnels” are also interesting, you can enter the tunnels built into the cliff-face under the castle and see where the British coordinated their defence of the English channel during the Second World War. It was in these rooms that the evacuation of Dunkirk was directed and there is even some footage of German and Allied forces warships fighting just beyond the harbour walls.
The weather became even worse as the day came to an end, with fierce winds and rain coming up which led me to decide that living in a castle would not have been pleasant at all!
The tour company I used Anderson Tours was quite good; only a very small group of six people in a minivan and we got a tour and information as we walked into Canterbury and plenty of free time at the sites to explore on our own.
If you would like some more information on Dover Castle the English Heritage page can also be found here.