Last year, during a transatlantic crossing our ship docked in Dover for the better part of the day.
Dover castle stood high atop the cliff, hundreds of feet above the port and looked most impressive. We decided to visit the castle and have a look.
This fortress has just about anything a connoisseur of castles can dream of -- a ring of walkable walls, a huge keep, complete with multimedia shows, dank dungeons, miles of secret tunnels, even a Roman lighthouse to climb.
Between 1160 and 1180, King Henry II transformed Dover Castle into one of the mightiest fortifications in Europe, expanding and enhancing its defenses. At the heart of the king's project was the construction of the keep.
Below ground, the secret wartime tunnels were first used by British soldiers housed here to ward off a French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1940 the ancient castle was called back to active duty during World War II.l It became the command center for Operation Dynamo, which involved the evacuation of 340,000 British troops from Dunkirk, across the Channel in France, after it became clear they couldn't fend off the German army. By the time the war ended, the tunnels housed an underground city of barracks, military headquarters, a communications center, and hospital.
Today, the castle houses a military museum and a film center, plus "Live and Let's Spy," an exhibition of World War II spying equipment. The hour-long guided tour of the tunnels included dramatic sound-and-light effects. We felt the castle was well worth a visit and the tour was excellent. Should you find yourself in Dover, do not miss the castle tour.