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Canterbury to Dover: 9 Great Things to do on a Day Trip by Train

Discover highlights of a day trip to Dover from Canterbury, England. Plan a Dover day trip and learn about the WWII history of this region of the UK.
Dover, at the southern tip of England in Kent is easily accessible on a weekend with a home base in Canterbury. 

A quick, 30 minute train ride will whisk you to the coast. Given the rich history in Dover from Medieval times to World War II, we couldn't resist including Dover in our Canterbury weekend itinerary

Here are nine ideas of things to do on a short trip to the area.

Canterbury to Dover: Dover Castle sitting above Dover town

1. Trek to Dover Castle

The train pulls into the station right in the center of town. We could see Dover Castle in the distance up the hill. Get a bit of exercise hiking up the hill to the castle and enjoy sweeping views along the way.
Day Trip to Dover: walk to the castle

2. See France in the Distance

Dover is the closest point in the UK to France. It's possible to look out across the English Channel and see France in the distance on a clear day.
Day Trip to Dover: Views of France

3. Relive the tension of WWII

Given Dover's position at the narrowest point in the English Channel, we could only imagine the tension here during World War II as troops readied to deploy for occupied France. 

Imposing guns still stand overlooking the channel and seem to be frozen in time while trained on an enemy that fortunately no longer exists.
Day Trip to Dover: WWII era guns overlooking the English Channel

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other historical points of interest in Europe, especially related to World War I and World War II? Why not visit:

4. The Norman Castle

We walked into the shadow of an impressive Norman castle. Even back in 1066, rumor had it that Dover Castle was an impenetrable fortress

At the time, William the Conquerer found that reality did not quite live up to the legend and the occupants surrendered unconditionally. It was only 200 years later in the 13th century that the castle took on its current imposing dimensions.
Day Trip to Dover: The Norman Castle

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other historic places to visit in England? I recommend:

5. Imagining Life in the Medieval Castle

Dover Castle was decorated inside and out to reflect what the inhabitants may have experienced during Medieval times. We were even able to take a seat on the throne in the center of the castle. Actors in period costume were found teaching kids how to operate a small catapult.
Day Trip to Dover: Inside Dover Castle

6. Drink in the Sweeping Views

We climbed to the top of the fortifications and enjoyed sweeping views of the grounds, the English Channel and France beyond.
Day Trip to Dover: Views from Dover Castle

7. Sit on Comfy Embroidered Cushions in the Chapel

We popped into a chapel on the grounds of Dover Castle. The interior was modest but what impressed me the most was the exquisite embroidered cushions put in place to make the services here just a bit more bearable.
Day Trip to Dover: The Chapel at Dover Castle

8. Taking the Road Less Traveled

After completing our tour of Dover Castle, we began our descent down the hill into town. About two thirds of the way down, we saw a sign for Hubert Passage. I'm always a fan of taking the road less traveled so we took a detour down a lovely quiet path.
Day Trip to Dover: Hubert Passage

9. Sup a Pint of Real English Ale at the White Horse

We were rewarded for taking the detour when we stumbled upon the White Horse, a traditional English pub. The sun was shining so we sat on the swing in the back garden for a while supping on a pint of real English Ale. 

When we started to fear sunburn, we made our way inside for a quick game of Connect 4 (there were a variety of board games available) before making our way to the train station for our return trip to Canterbury. 
Day Trip to Dover: The White Horse Pub

Dover is certainly an iconic destination. Are there other day trips from Canterbury that you might consider? Mamma Prada has some great suggestions for traveling in Kent that you could try, particularly if you're bringing your family along.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for more ideas for a day out around London? why not:

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Canterbury to Dover: 9 Great Things to do on a Day Trip by Train
Canterbury to Dover: 9 Great Things to do on a Day Trip by Train
Discover highlights of a day trip to Dover from Canterbury, England. Plan a Dover day trip and learn about the WWII history of this region of the UK.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog