There are so many places to visit when you arrive at Dover docks. There is much that can be included in a full or half-day tour. From Dover you are a short drive away from some of the most iconic buildings and sites in Britain.
We can arrange for you to be collected from the cruise terminal in your own personal vehicle. Here are a few suggestions for some tours, but we can also put together other tours to suit your personal requirements - see our bespoke tour enquiry form. We know that time in-port is precious and we are specialists in making the most of short shore excursions so don’t waste a moment of your precious time when you dock at Dover and take a look at how we can help.
Chartwell - Home of Winston Churchill
Drive through the wonderful Kent countryside with a guided commentary on the places we pass and then on to the home of Britain’s great wartime leader, Winston Churchill. The house, the personal mementoes and pictures are as they were during his lifetime. 2015 is the 50th anniversary of his death and this year there is a unique exhibition ’Death of a Hero’. It is a unique display of many items associated with the great man and his life. We can combine this trip with Dover and a visit to the Operation Dynamo exhibition in Dover Castle or visit Walmer Castle where Churchill stayed when he was Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Rye and Romney Marsh
Smuggling, wonderful English villages, mysterious Romney Marsh and the medieval town of Rye. Drive along the coast from Dover, passing Folkestone and Hythe and then across Romney Marsh, the haunts of notorious smuggling gangs associated with Kent and Sussex and 'Dr Syn' in Dymchurch. Learn about the Cinque Ports, look out for the medieval churches that this part of England is so famous for and on to Rye. Enjoy a walking tour of this fascinating town – once a thriving royal port now a wonderful example of a medieval town. Rye has many literary associations – see Lamb House the home of Henry James and spot the locations for the recent TV production of 'Mapp and Lucia' based on the novels of E. F. Benson. We could also drive the short distance to Winchelsea and visit Spike Milligan’s grave – his headstone says "I told you I was ill" and had to be written in Gaelic to get the permission of the Chichester Diocese!
Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens
The world renowned garden of Vita Sackville-West can easily be reached from Dover. The beauty of the garden is well known and the story of Vita is just as fascinating. Enjoy a tour of the garden and a visit to the nearby town of Cranbrook to see the 'Cathedral of the Weald' St. Dunstans, the magnificent church. Cranbrook is home to the Union Mill, the tallest and finest working smock mill in England. The countryside we pass is a joy and quintessentially Kentish – orchards, oast-houses, Kentish tiled houses, medieval churches, windmills and the darker side of the weald; the vicious smuggling gangs who terrorised the area.
How about a visit to a vineyard? Biddenden and Tenterden vineyards are nearby. Why do so many of the names end in ‘den’? Before the forest or ‘Weald’ was cleared, there were small clearings or ‘dens’ where pigs were pastured. This is a wonderful tour to take if you want to admire the magnificent scenery of the Kentish Weald as well as seeing some of the most beautiful villages in Kent.
Canterbury with Leeds Castle
The historic city of Canterbury boasts a great deal to keep the visitor interested and entertained but how about combining a visit to Canterbury with a visit to Leeds Castle? Often called the 'Loveliest Castle' in the world. It has a fascinating history including being transformed from a fortified stronghold to a magnificent royal palace for the use of King Henry 8th and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. One of their visits was on the way to meet Francois 1st of France at the magnificent 'Field of the Cloth of Gold' in France. Learn about Mrs Wilson-Filmer, Lady Bailie as she was to become. This Anglo-American heiress wanted a Kentish retreat and had the necessary style and funds to carry out extensive renovations. During the 1930s Leeds Castle was to become one of the greatest country houses of England and a centre of lavish parties for leading statesmen, royalty and film stars. In 1974 Leeds Castle was passed in perpetuity to the Leeds Castle Foundation which was set up by Lady Baillie. You can enjoy a 1,000 years of history in an afternoon!
Deal, Walmer, Sandwich & Dover
This is a perfect circular route from the cruise terminal. All the towns are within a 20 minute drive of Dover. In your own personal vehicle we can stop at these wonderful places and enjoy the lovely Kent countryside and also some gorgeous sea views. Both Deal and Walmer have 'Tudor Rose' castles built by King Henry VIII as part of a chain of coastal artillery defences in the 16th century. Walmer is also home to the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. The Duke of Wellington held the post for 23 years and died here. This year there will be displays marking the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo.
Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother were also past wardens. Sandwich 'the most preserved medieval town in England' is a very old with the earliest mention of it’s name in 664 AD but it probably is even older, as it is very close the Roman Fort at Richborough. Ghost stories and mysteries abound, and the street names can be curious – they’ve even got one called No-name Street! Famous former inhabitants include Thomas Paine who lived in Sandwich in 1759 and his home is marked with one of the famous 'Blue Plaques'. Many of his ideas were incorporated in the American ‘Declaration of Independence’. You can admire the enormous range of architecture which is contained in this small town. Needless to say there is a huge choice of places to enjoy something to eat and drink. Maybe a sandwich? Or how about a cream tea in The Salutation garden – Lutyens designed with the help of his friend Gertrude Jekyll. You can start or end your tour with a visit to Dover Castle or just enjoy Deal, Walmer, and Sandwich on their own. As ever, the choice is yours.