DOVER: WALKING CAPITAL OF THE SOUTH-EAST COAST
Dover has been a port since the Romans arrived in AD46 and established their harbour Dubris. Many of you will have passed through on your way to Calais, France but we suggest you stay a while or make it your chosen destination, just over an hour from London Paddington station by high-speed train. Dover is undergoing a revival with the regeneration of the town centre including a £3.6m Market Square and water feature opening this summer and the £250m renewal of the Western Docks, including a new cargo terminal and waterfront with the new Marina Curve, now home to street food stalls and bars. This is attracting new businesses and artists, making for a very exciting time in the town.
The town does, however, retain its historical heart with the unspoilt Castle Street and medieval buildings such as the 800-year-old Maison Dieu currently undergoing restoration as part of the heritage quarter. Don’t forget the magnificent Dover Castle with Secret Wartime Tunnels deep within the White Cliffs which offers hours of interesting history.
We are sure you will wish to hear about the area’s countryside and walking opportunities out of the town. There is the North Downs Way which after a section along the coast heads inland through Kent or, stay on the coast with this section of the England Coastal Path or, a walk in the Kent Downs AONB Protected Landscape
Every summer the town hosts the White Cliffs Walking Festival which this year is 25 to 30 August and brings together everyone involved in walking in the area.
Links with continental Europe have always featured as part of life in Dover with cross-channel projects. One such historical connection is the Via Francigena (Italian:ˈviːa franˈtʃiːdʒena]) which is an ancient road and pilgrimage route running from Canterbury Cathedral, Kent, through France and Switzerland, to Rome and then to Apulia, Italy, where ships sailed for the Holy Land. Last year’s celebratory “staff” handover to France for the next part of the journey, was a little spoilt because of COVID restrictions however, the organiser was so taken with the area that this year there will be a larger Pilgrim’s Festival hosted by Dover from 21 to 25 September. Whilst the event is not all about walking, there will be walks as part of the festival.
Dover is so much more than a port.