Last weekend, I had the chance to visit my brother while he's studying abroad in London. He's been there for three months, so by now, he really knows his way around. We visited remarkable street markets, beautiful churches and even a couple war museums. Everything in London was incredible, however, my favorite day of the trip was when we took a train to Dover.
The train from London to Dover only took about an hour, but upon arriving in Dover, it was clear that this city was very different from London. Dover is a coastal town situated on the strait of Dover. If you were to sail about 25 miles across the Strait, you would soon find yourself in France.
First, we hiked up to the Castle of Dover. This magnificent fortress was built in the 11th century, and surprisingly enough, it is the largest castle in all of England. There are three floors to the castle, including WW2 secret underground wartime tunnels. This amazing English monument has survived countless wars and sieges; it has been remodeled several times to adapt to modern warfare of the time.
I found the hospital and wartime tunnels to be immensely fascinating. The views from the castle tower were incredible. The tour was a bit pricey, but well worth it to learn more about arguably the most important castle in England's history. I haven't toured many castles in my life, so I don't have a great frame of reference, but Dover Castle was really quite amazing.
After leaving the castle, we headed over to the White Cliffs of Dover. The cliffs are an iconic piece of Britain's rich history. The cliffs are composed of chalk and this is what gives them their white appearance.
We walked across the seaside path for about twenty minutes until we got to the first cliff viewpoint. The view of the strait was amazing. Because Dover is a coastal town, there are many ships and barges that are traveling to a port near the cliffs. Dover is an interesting cross between natural beauty and industrial production.
We had to be careful not to walk too closely to the seaside path's edge because the chalk could easily crumble. My mom was a lot more concerned about this than my brother and I were. We encountered lots of local wildlife along the walk. There were herds of ponies some 30 yards away from us. I've seen flowers and bushes that were clearly indigenous to the area because I had never seen them in the U.S. I later read that the chalk soil provides the minerals that allow many of these exotic plants to flourish. Although there were several other hikers out on the trail, it was an exceptionally peaceful experience.
It was another forty minutes of walking until we would reach the South Foreland Lighthouse. This was yet another historical landmark in England, built in 1843. It was the first electrically lit lighthouse. Although the South Foreland Lighthouse was decommissioned thirty years ago, it was still a truly fascinating site.
I was really happy that we had the opportunity to venture out of London to check out a town with as much history like Dover. This city is incredibly important to all of England and it was an awesome spot for tourism as well. I was amazed at how different Dover was from London although they were both very close to one another. There was never an idle moment in London, but Dover seemed to allow a bit more relaxation even though we embarked on an awesome hike that ended up being my favorite part of the trip. London was great, but Dover was more of my kind of destination.
Written by Mike Krohn, Intern at Bighorn Apparel
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