Alongside its stunning coastal and natural beauty, the Dover district is one of the most historic areas of the UK with no less than:
- 50 scheduled ancient monuments
- 2,800 listed buildings
- 57 conservation areas
- 9 historic parks and gardens
Given its strategic location, Dover has played a key role throughout history and is known as the ‘Lock and Key of England. It's heritage is closely linked with the defence of the realm and with the development of the port. It is rich in military history as a garrison and frontline town, with Dover Castle perched high above the town on the White Cliffs.
Dover’s historic Town Hall – the Maison Dieu – dates from 1203 and was originally used as a hostel for pilgrims en-route to Thomas Becket’s shrine at Canterbury Cathedral. Plans to reawaken the Grade I Listed Maison Dieu in Dover town centre are underway thanks to a £4.27m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. More on the Maison Dieu ».
The heritage of Deal too has been shaped by its coastal location, with The Downs providing safe anchorage for ships seeking shelter from Channel storms and the notorious Goodwin Sands. Both Nelson and Captain James Cook are known to have visited Deal. The Deal Timeball Tower was built in 1821 to signal Greenwich Mean Time to ships anchored offshore, and today houses a local history museum. Deal’s unspoilt seafront is as popular as ever, whilst the town was recently named ‘High Street of the Year’ by the Daily Telegraph.
Sandwich is famed as one of the most complete medieval towns in the country. The Guildhall, built in 1579 dominates the Market Square and the town features many buildings of architectural and historical note. Thomas Pain, of the of the founding fathers of the United States lived in Sandwich in the 1790’s. Sandwich too was once a great port before the River Stour silted up and blocked the shipping channel.
For more information on things to do and see in ‘White Cliffs Country’ visit www.whitecliffscountry.org.uk