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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dover Castle...

Time for another post about our recent trip; I've already written about the charming town of Folkestone where we stayed, and also posted about the not so nice hotel. We used Folkestone as our base for our day trip to Dover Castle, a few miles away. 
On the way to Dover, I snapped this photo of a group of motorbikers; fellow Queenslanders would understand; (changes to the law in this state prevent certain groups riding en masse on public roads without permits.)  

The day that we were going to Dover Castle turned out to be a big Family Day, so the rather large crowds meant we parked way away from the castle and rode a shuttle bus...here's a view of the castle from our farmer's field/paddock carpark...

The castle has formed part of Britain's defences during the centuries and was a vital cog in Churchill's defence plans in WW2. The evacuation of Dunkirk was all masterminded and directed from Dover Castle. DH had been fascinated by the stories of the network of tunnels which lie under this fortress; these tunnels have been dug into the softish chalk on which the castle sits. Many of these tunnels are very old...but a number of  new areas were excavated at the beginning of the Second World War. So the first thing we did after we paid our entry was to go and queue for the tunnels tour. It took about 45 minutes of waiting for our turn...but we had a lovely view while we waited...




The first part of the tour, we were treated as though we were soldiers...brusque instructions were given to only move when the green lights were on and we were sent to a number of 'stations' where we listened and/or saw images explaining how the tunnels and underground rooms worked in war time. 
The Dunkirk section featured holograms and very authentic sounding audio...



After the guided tour of 'barked' instructions for 20 minutes, we were then allowed to continue to look through the rest of the area open to tours...The guide then went back to the entrance to bring the next group through the first part of the tour.

We saw Operations Rooms...




A kitchen area...

 Is that a ghost that DH spied in the tunnel ahead?
 There were information boards at various points...

And during all this time in the tunnels, we were moving farther under the castle...eventually we emerged to see a magnificent view of the sea and the port...



A nice sunny spot too

There is also the Underground Hospital Tour but it also had a long waiting time so we decided to go and explore other buildings in the castle complex...the hill was steep but we got a 'lift' part of the way in a little land train. 


 On the grassy slopes in front of the castle there were lots of activities for families to join in. One activity for children was 'army drill' and obstacle courses...the 'soldiers' dressed in vintage uniforms, may have sounded grumpy and officious...but they were just pretending! lol! The children loved it !

We stopped and joined in a bit of a sing song with this couple who were playing old 'Seaside favourites'. 

The man sitting near the castle wall was making a daisy chain...for himself? or maybe for his little girl :-)

 As you can see, the day was beautiful...lots of sun...but still a bit cold.
Some more entertainers dressed up and wandering through the crowd...
 There were family dogs there enjoying the day too...


I'm just about to cross the drawbridge here...the planks of the bridge were rather rough and uneven making it tough for the young man behind me to push the wheelchair...

I loved the museum inside of what life would have been like in Saxon times ...






Just look at this! It's chainmail! I just had to touch it! It felt a bit like those metal chain gloves that butchers sometimes wear when cutting up large pieces of meat...





A few other views from the castle...




We spent most of the day there at Dover Castle but certainly did not see all of the areas open to the public as it is such a huge complex, full of history!

3 comments:

Una said...

Wow! Thanks for this. We live about 60 miles away from Dover and didn't realise what a lot there is to see at the castle. My husband would love this visit, so I will keep it in mind for a day out.

Marit Johanne said...

It was so nice to see photos from Dover Castle. I have been there a long time ago, I was only 19 years old,in 1973! At that time they had not all the displays or tunnel tours, or guided tours. And I don't remember they said anything about the WW2 history. But the castle was so exciting to explore, you could go everywhere in the old castle. I love old castles!

Soma Acharya said...

I love British castles! Thank you for the travel log. I have been enjoying reading them immensely :)

-Soma