Discovering Dover – {Sept 2014}

This year we plan to fit in as many weekend excursions around England as possible.  Today’s trip was to discover Dover and the White Cliffs.  Zipping down to the southern coast on a high-speed train, we were there in about two hours.  England’s scenery is so varied and beautiful, it’s always fun exploring new places and learning the vast history of each one.

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The little city of Dover was pretty quaint and quiet.  We lucked out in the weather department with clear blue skies and sunshine!

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We quickly found a taxi to take us up to the cliffs since the boys were anxious to hike around.  The white chalk cliffs have a steep, dramatic drop overlooking the English Channel with views to the French coast.  We took the narrow pathway along the edge, where I trailed behind the boys with great anxiety as they neared the edge and threw little rocks over the cliffs.  It was such a beautiful view, but hardly stress-free trying to keep this bunch in line!  The pictures don’t do the height and drop off justice!

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The vast castle grounds weren’t far off and we were ready to check them out.

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We stopped to check out the port and see the cruise ships along the way to the castle.

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Dover Castle – known as the “Key to England” has an elaborate 2,000 year old history, the site believed to be a fortress during the Iron Age.  Set high above the White Cliffs, the castle has been a strategic asset in guarding England from invasion in many wars and battles, especially since it’s only a mere 21 miles from France.  The grounds are expansive and all surrounded by a massive and thick curtain wall.

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The Great Tower is the heart of the castle. Inside, we learned all about the various royalty that once walked these halls.  It’s surreal to imagine we’re retracing the footsteps of so many historical figures.

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Cade made a buddy.

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The boys loved pretending to cook in the large kitchen and had even more fun sitting at the King’s table to dine.

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Jace matter-of-factly declared, “When I grow up I want to be a King!”

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Winding through countless steep stairwells to all the rooms, it was strange to imagine nearly a century of royalty that passed through these cold halls.  They must have been exhausted just getting around.  The boys enjoyed seeing how these people might have lived.

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Finally making it to the steep rooftop overlooking the compound, Jace was so proud of his hiking accomplishment.

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The secret wartime tunnels fascinated the boys as they learned how the military used them to provide protection as an air-raid shelter in WWII, as well as a command center.   Over three miles of tunnels are carved into the white cliffs back in the 1200s and beyond, some of which are undiscovered.  There was also a hidden hospital underground that was interesting to check out.  It’s hard to imagine the 2,000 soldiers that occupied this space during the war.

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This is at the exit of one of the tunnels, overlooking the ports.

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Wandering the grounds, the boys were delighted to spot some sheep on the hills that they desperately tried to lure down with no luck.

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What boy doesn’t love checking out canons and artillery?

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A few good grass stains before heading home.

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Every outing must end with a nice dinner out.  Tyler’s always convincing us to try the oldest pub he can find.  This boy never tires of fish and chips.

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Today was a perfect day out – we loved exploring Dover and learning about it’s amazing history.

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