A Conversation for Great Castles
deackie Started conversation Jan 5, 2002
Being a true Kentish girl, I couldn't choose any other castle than Dover as my favourite place to visit. It has been the first line of defence for Britain for more than two thousand years and remained an important part of planned defences until the end of the twentieth century.
True to it's name (unlike another confusingly named castle in Kent, Leeds) Dover Castle is in Dover. It is accessible by car and has plenty of free parking, but can also be travelled to by bus, train and of course ferry. Visitors be warned though, buses, trains and ferries drop you off near to the castle but it is a very steep climb up its hill defences to the ticket booth. It is a climb worth making though as it offers spectacular views of the English channel, allows closer inspection of the magnificent defences and provides an insight into how daunting ancient invaders must have found the task of attempting to beseige the castle.
The entrance fee to the castle is £7.00 for adults, £5-30 concessions and £3-50 for children. A family ticket is £17.50. Entrance is free to all English Heritage members. The entrance price is well worth it though as there is enough to see to fill a day out and as the entrance price includes not only the castle but also the Princess Of Wales/Buffs museum and the Second World War Tunnels in the cliffs, you are actually receiving three days out for the price of one.
As mentioned before, the history of the castle spans over two thousand years. It is built high on the cliff tops, overlooking the English Channel. It was originally an iron age site, and evidence of the iron age earth works can be seen. It was then used by the Romans. Half of the Roman pharos, or lighthouse, still remains. Next to the pharos is the restored Saxon church. Following the Norman invasion, William the Conqueror (or William the Bastard as he was known in Kent) built his keep on the site. This was then replaced by a stone keep by Henry II and this still remains in its entirity. The keep has housed many famous visitors including Henry VIII.
A key feature of Dover castle is its many defensive tunnels, first built after a great seige in 1216. These tunnels were added to and more dug throughout the castle's history. The fortifications became the largest to be built during the Napoleonic Wars but came into their own during World War II when Churchill himself had his own living quarters down inside the cliffs and when much of the war effort was directed from these secret passages. Further information that has only in the last few years been released, as it was still governed by the Official Secrets Act, is that in the 1960's, 70's and 80's, the tunnels below Dover Castle were going to provide a Regional Seat of Government following a nuclear attack.
Throughout the year the many periods of the castle's history are brought to life in special events. These include military dipslays of various periods, craft demonstrations and actors bringing history to life. There are also permanent displays and plenty of English Heritage volunteers to answer any questions. If all the sights mentioned still aren't enough to fulfil the interested tourist, then be sure to walk around each ring of the castle's defences and view them from the battlements of the keep, or for those a little daunted by the walk, ride on the free road-train provided. It truly is worth a visit.
Researcher Marj Posted Jan 8, 2002
I was pleased to see that someone else had nominated Dover Castle. I seem to have put my piece in a different place, but as I am still finding my way round this place, I am not sure where now. Still I agreee with all you said about my Facvourite castle as well. Cheers Marj
deackie Posted Jan 9, 2002
Hello Marj I love Dover Castle, as you may have guessed I too have visited it more times than I can remember. I have found your comments on Dover Castle, you wrote them as a guide entry. The link to this entry is on your personal space. I hope what I've written has answered some of the questions you had about the place.
If you click on 'Edit Page' to the right hand side on your personal space, and write anything by means of an introduction, I can come over and start a conversation with you there. It can take a little while to get used to h2g2 and how everything works, so I can come and give you a few tips.
Hope to hear from you soon - deackie
Researcher Marj Posted Jan 10, 2002
Thanks Deakie I will try and find the palce you suggested but having received 4 replies to things I have entered today I cannot re find them It seems to take ages I must make a note of where I put things. Hope to be able to speak to you. marj
deackie Posted Jan 10, 2002
I found the introduction you wrote on your personal space and I have written a reply to it. It's a link just beneath the introduction titled "Hi Marj, I found you :0)" I notice someone else has also left you a message. I'll see you over there
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