When I planned my time in England, Dover was meant to just be a quick stop in order to catch one of the Dover Ferries across to France. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Dover. There was far more to do in and around the city than I expected. I had scheduled myself 2 nights in Dover so that I could spend a day on the computer working. In the end, I didn’t end up spend any time working on the computer. Instead, I found myself going on hikes along the coast and through town. For a city that doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a tourism hot spot, I found Dover to be a quite refreshing stop.
Time Needed: 1-2 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: 40-50 Pounds
Things to do in Dover
While the town of Dover itself doesn’t have much in terms of museums or galleries to check out, the surrounding area has a couple things to keep you occupied.
- The Castle: Obviously, Dover Castle is the biggest draw card to town. You can, if you’re not interested in staying in Dover, do this on a day trip from Canterbury as well. The structure is very impressive and well worth almost a full day’s exploration. You should be warned, however, that the castle is only open on Saturday and Sundays during the Winter months. In other months, the castle is open from about 10am to 6pm.
- White Cliffs: I found the White Cliffs of Dover to be absolutely stunning. One of my better days in England included me hiking along the cliffs for a couple kilometres. Along the way there are amble opportunities to spot some wildlife like rabbits and there are plenty of birds. A good hike from town is out to the lighthouse and back.
Where to Eat in Dover
As I only had two nights out in Dover I didn’t exactly dive into all of the culinary opportunities. The truth is there didn’t seem to be all that many any ways. Down on High Street, a place called The Allotment served up really good food in a very English looking environment. However, it would be a splurge for most backpackers to eat here. I also ate one night at Hubert House which was really good, but again might be out of the budget of many backpackers (I paid about 25 Pounds for dinner).
Where to Stay in Dover
While I was in Dover I had the privilege of being put up at the Castle House Guesthouse which was absolutely great (check out my review of Castle House). The property is in a great location and the staff is really friendly. Other than Castle House, there is one hostel that I know of in town called Dover Backpackers which seems pretty standard.
Getting out of Town
They say that most people in Dover are either coming or going. As such, Dover is a link to a number of different places.
- Train: The train has links to London and Canterbury. You can then go basically anywhere in the country from there. As a warning, I found that the price of the train tickets from Dover to be really quite high. If you’re just going to Canterbury or London, just take the bus, you’ll save a fortune and it will only take you slightly longer.
- Boat: The main boat link is to Calais, France. There are also services to Belgium, but when I checked there was no options of passenger only travel there, you need to be with a car. If you’re jumping on the ferry to France be sure to book in advance by a day if you can. You can also book online via a number of different sites.
- Bus: From Dover the bus is quite cheap. National Express has buses that run to Canterbury and then on to London every hour. In my opinion, this is the best means of transport to the two previously mentioned destinations as you’ll save a lot of money.