There’s plenty to see and do on a British Isles cruise while stopped in the southeastern English town of Dover, which remains quaint and uniquely British. As a port city, Dover has seen a lot of ship traffic over the centuries, adding to its industrial charm. On Dover cruises, you’ll look out across the strait of Dover facing France and quickly understand how the city’s strategic position facilitated its road to prominence.
The town is home to the White Cliffs of Dover, perhaps its most world-renowned attraction, as well as the beautifully preserved Dover Castle, which you could spend an entire afternoon getting lost in. Don’t miss the opportunity to sip a traditional British cuppa or pose for a picture in front of the Banksy mural. Rich history awaits along every corner of Dover, whether you’re exploring the city’s roots at the Dover Museum or touring the Secret Wartime Tunnels for a closer look at life during the World War II. Pop into a local pub for a bite and a pint, enjoying the simple laid-back pleasures of England right at your fingertips.
For history lovers, the perfect day while stopped in on Dover cruises includes a tour of the stunning Dover Castle, a long-preserved symbol of nobility and power. Founded in the 11th century, it’s one of the oldest medieval structures in all of Dover. Don’t miss a guided tour while you’re here, where you’ll learn all the details of the castle’s rich history.
When you cruise Dover, the legendary White Cliffs are a must-see experience for all ages, where the sea breeze and stunning vista will make you feel refreshed and humbled all at once. Dover’s most enduring and famous attraction is made of chalk and has been immortalized in both movies and TV. Stand at what feels like the edge of the world, admiring the Strait of Dover in the near distance.
Curious about the history of Dover throughout the centuries? There’s no better or more comprehensive place to discover British history than the Dover Museum, which is dedicated to past wars, ancient archaeological finds from the Roman period, and art collections dating back hundreds of years.
A stop on Dover cruises provides a unique opportunity to see a work of art by Banksy in the flesh. Located near the ferry terminal, it depicts a painter chipping away at the EU flag. It’s a political and personal statement on Brexit that has been standing in Dover since 2017, but like many of Banksy’s controversial art pieces, it may not be there for long.
You can’t spend time in the British Isles without enjoying morning and afternoon tea, which is a cultural must-do in England. In Dover, cafes and tea houses serve it the traditional way, with however much milk and sugar your heart desires.
Under Dover Castle, you’ll find a series of tunnels used during multiple conflicts and wars which have protected Dover from invasions ever since. Tour the tunnels and you’ll eventually come upon recreations of communication hubs, hospital rooms, and important wartime barricades used for hundreds of years, particularly during World War II.
The food in Dover isn’t just British pub classics like meat pies or fish and chips, though you’ll find that in spades at the town’s many hole-in-the-wall pubs. Recently, Dover has expanded its culinary repertoire to include high-quality Indian food at spots like Namaste, Turkish cuisine at Aspendos, or comforting cheeseburgers and fries just like home at V Lounge Burger Bar. It’s not all fancy white tablecloth spots, but the food in Dover matches the personality of the city: unpretentious and easygoing.
Dover is an important, strategically located city that populations have fought to control for centuries because of its critical access to the English Channel. It’s affectionately called “the lock and key of England,” because famous conquerors throughout history like Julius Caesar, Napoleon, and Adolf Hitler have tried to take Dover for their own. Dover has been in the hands of the Romans, the Saxons, the Normans, the Tudors, and many other groups over the centuries. Dover played an important role in both world wars as a stronghold for Allied forces. The city remains a prominent hub for international commerce, trade, and increasingly, tourism, as many people cruise Dover on the way to London and other parts of England.
Call a cab or take a mile-long walk from the Port of Dover over to the center of the city. There’s also a shuttle bus ready to take passengers from Dover cruises to the city, and if you book excursions with Celebrity, transportation is included. There’s a tourist information center at the Port of Dover to provide maps and suggestions or answer questions.
Getting from the cruise terminal into the city of Dover is usually the domain of taxi drivers, which are easy to hail and relatively inexpensive. If you have more time during your cruise, Dover is also home to a variety of car rental agencies. To get to London from Dover, there’s a train that takes about an hour or so to get into the city.
The majority of shopping in Dover can be found in boutiques and marketplaces along High Street, Biggin Street, and Market Square, where many local and higher-end establishments are based. There’s also the picturesque De Bradelei Wharf, where you can enjoy some seaside shopping for souvenirs and local goods for the entire family.
The official currency in Dover is the pound sterling, called “quid” by the locals, and you’ll find most places accept credit cards. Visa and Mastercard are the two most common credit card providers accepted in Dover. Foreign currencies are rarely accepted. There are also plenty of ATMs throughout Dover. Tipping isn’t required, but it is extremely polite. Leave a 10-15% tip in restaurants or pubs, and leave 10% or round up for your taxi driver.