Feeling like a mini ‘sea change’ or break from your daily routine but don’t have the time to go to the other end of the earth to make it happen? We could just have the answer you’ve been looking for…
Getting out on the open road and heading towards the iconic White Cliffs of Dover for a day or two of exploring the beautiful countryside and history surrounding this magnificent ‘Gateway to England’ destination, could give you that much needed breath of fresh air. And, the best news is that it’s only just over two hours from home! For this weekender we’re starting from Watford – but it’s just as easily reachable from central London, and before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re in a whole new world. So, if you’re (even just a little bit!) inspired, read on for a few tips on making this short trip an adventure of a lifetime.
A few directions
From Watford we’ll be taking the M25 and A2 and covering a distance of about 110 miles. The trip to Dover will take you approximately 2 hours (depending on the traffic, roadworks and how fast you go!) A great option to break the drive is to stop in Canterbury for a walk, a coffee or a look around. Steeped in a medieval past, Canterbury Cathedral is a destination in itself – watch this space for more details for another trip with Vitora, coming soon!
The all-important question of vehicle and tyres
Being an easy-going ride, this is one that just about any vehicle can take on – and there’s a perfect Vitora tyre to suit. A comfy sedan fitted with SportLife or CityLife tyres would be a winning combination – offering a quiet, smooth and comfortable drive and ensuring outstanding traction whether the weather’s wet or dry.
A bit about destination Dover
Port Dover is the launching spot (and arrival point) for the world-famous ferry trip to and from Calais in France — 21 miles across the English Channel. Dover’s also renowned for its hallmark towering white cliffs and medieval castle (England’s largest!) and its network of secret wartime tunnels. Plus, it’s home to a number of other historical sites and museums, a lighthouse, walking trails, lovely parks, gardens and coastline, a water sports’ centre – and so much more.
What to do and where to stay
A real bonus of Dover is that it’s friendly, spectacular, brimming with character and intrigue, surrounded by rolling countryside and a fresh sea breeze – all wrapped up in one! Whether you take a leisurely walk over the white cliffs to the lighthouse, decide on a more serious hike or horse-ride, or plan to explore the castle and history of the area, there are a range of activities for everyone in the family. And when it comes to accommodation, from quaint guesthouses and inns to hotel chains and apartments — there’s something to suit just about every budget. Here are a few suggestions of what to see and do, just for starters…
The medieval castle is an imposing sight set on the cliffs and a ‘must do’ while you’re in Dover. Complete with its underground Secret Wartime Tunnels, Great Tower and other exhibits – there’s lots to explore and if the weather is good, take a picnic to enjoy in the castle’s vast gardens.
Walk the White Cliffs to the South Foreland Lighthouse
Did we mention the views? For some of the best ones, take a walk along the cliffs to the lighthouse. By the time you get there you may have worked up an appetite for some tea and scones at Mrs Knott’s tea-room.
The free-to-visit Dover museum is a treasure trove of Dover’s history including the 3,000-year-old Bronze-Age Boat (the world’s oldest known sea-going boat).
Roman Painted House
Another must for history lovers, these preserved ruins are an archaeological find from the Roman times in original colours and designs, and tell the story of the Romans landing on Dover’s shores.
Commemorating the first pilot to fly across the English Channel in 1909, this is a plane-shaped stone memorial for French aviator Louis Blériot, situated where he landed in Dover’s Northfall Meadow.
Parks, gardens and green spaces
In addition to the cliffs themselves, Dover has an abundance of parks and peaceful, picturesque spaces that are perfect for a walk, picnicking or simply sitting breathing and watching the birdlife. Take your pick from Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens, Bushy Ruff or The Pines Garden (to name just a few) and enjoy woodlands, lakes, gardens, conservation areas and of course, more of Dover’s breathtaking views.
Walking Trails and guided walks and cycling routes
If you’re looking for more than a leisurely walk in solitude and want to join a group – Dover’s a brilliant place to be. Along with walking clubs and guided walks, there are many opportunities to get out and enjoy the amazing countryside with other walkers over varying distances at a level to suit your fitness. If cycling is more your thing, take one of the cycling routes Dover has to offer – if you don’t have your own bike, you can hire one locally.
Restaurants, pubs and tea rooms
Whether it’s ocean fresh fish and chips, a traditional English tea or pub meal you’re after, finding a good bite to eat or something more fancy isn’t hard to find. And with some truly wonderful views added into the mix, what are you waiting for?
Anything else I need to know?
There’s a good reason some well-known songs have been written about the White Cliffs of Dover over the years! Along with its history and stature, Dover is one of those places that’s uniquely impressive on a sunny day. However, don’t despair if our elusive sunshine doesn’t appear while you’re there – the cliffs are still an inspiring sight when it’s stormy and a bad-weather-day will give you the perfect chance to discover a piece of Dover’s history indoors or underground. Failing that, hunker down with a good book next to the fire in a friendly pub — or treat yourself to a wicked piece of cake and tea in one of Dover’s famous tearooms, and enjoy!
And now, it’s over to you. From the team at Vitora, we wish you a safe and fun-filled trip – and of course, most importantly, remember to check and inflate those tyres before you hit the road!