Did you know... South Foreland Lighthouse was the first to carry an electric signal, and from where Marconi made the world's first ship-to-shore radio transmission? (© National Trust)

A Journey of Discovery in White Cliffs Country

If you’re not making a big journey abroad this year, make a big journey of discovery instead. Book your staycation in White Cliffs Country and let your mind unfold as you soak up the fascinating stories of this unique destination.

White Cliffs Country is the gateway to England, but how much do you know about this corner of the south east? Did you know

...That 22% of our entire region is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with 3% designated as Heritage Coast? The breathtaking countryside and spectacular coastline surrounding St Margaret’s Bay for example, hugged by the world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, is waiting to be discovered by you. Uncover the exciting history of the area and learn about the development of St Margaret's as a holiday resort for the rich and famous in Victorian times -  and the role played by St Margaret’s village in the Second World War, when the area earned the nickname “Hell Fire Corner” due to constant bombardment from enemy troops. Did you know that The Coastguard in St Margaret’s is England’s closest pub to France? Only 21 miles separate the two countries and so it follows that many cross Channel swimmers begin their attempt from the shores of St Margaret's Bay.

...That two of England and Wales’ National Trails are in White Cliffs Country - the wonderful North Downs Way and the England Coast Path? Explore these beautiful walking trails and get closer to the nature, wildlife and communities that are lucky enough to call these outstanding rural and coastal areas their home.

Journey into the past…. Did you know...

...That White Cliffs Country witnessed the beginning, and almost the end, of Roman rule in Britain? Richborough Roman Fort and Amphitheatre near Sandwich is an English Heritage site on the East Kent marshes. The impressive ruins of the Roman Township at Richborough mark the point from which the Romans launched their successful invasion of Britain in AD 43 and extensive remains of the walls and defensive ditches can be seen. For a unique way to explore this significant slice of the history of England’s early civilisations, catch a boat trip with Captain Colin’s Riverbus and travel upriver to arrive at the fort by water – just as the Roman’s would have arrived by sea.

Did you know... Richborough was from where the Romans launched their AD43 invasion? (© Paul Wells)

...That Horatio, Lord Nelson was a frequent visitor to Deal in White Cliffs Country? Evidence of Deal’s rich maritime history is visible on almost every turn, from the quirky Timeball Tower to Henry VIII’s coastal fortress to the winding streets known as “Smugglers’ Town” where contraband hiding places are still being discovered. In St George’s Churchyard in Deal, the tomb of Captain Parker RN, a close friend of Nelson’s, was donated by the Admiral himself, following the death of the young officer in 1801.

...That James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming and English playwright Noel Coward lived here? In 1945, Noel Coward took the lease of the beachside house, 'White Cliffs' in St Margaret’s Bay as his weekend retreat, spending his time writing, painting and entertaining his well-known friends, including John Mills and Ivor Novello. He decided to leave the house in 1951, after which Ian Fleming took up residence. Nearby Kingsdown is assumed to be the setting for Ian Fleming's novel, 'Moonraker', published in 1955. It is here - 'on the edge of the cliffs between Dover and Deal' - that Sir Hugo Drax is building the Moonraker, an atomic rocket. And it is here that James Bond is sent to investigate. However, as previously ‘secret’ photographs come to light, you can easily picture James Bond in Fleming's own St Margaret's Bay with its Sci-Fi radar masts and cold-war bunker disguised as a bungalow.

...That Dover is home to the world’s oldest-surviving seagoing vessel, the 3000 year old Bronze Age boat? Discovered in 1992, this incredible archaeological find was unearthed just yards from where it is now on display in its own private gallery at Dover Museum. Visit for free and uncover the story of one of Dover’s most unusual and exciting discoveries.

Did you know... Admiral Lord Nelson was a frequent visitor to Deal and stayed in the Royal Hotel? (© Caroline Mills)

...That Britain’s National Memorial to “The Few”, the Battle of Britain Memorial, is in White Cliffs Country? Dedicated to the heroic and selfless deeds of the men who won the Battle of Britain in 1940, this incredible clifftop memorial, together with the replica Spitfire and Hurricane and Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall, offers a calm place of reflection and pilgrimage. The Wing, an eye-catching building designed in the shape of a Spitfire wing, complete with its famous uplift, houses the visitor centre and Scramble Experience - an exciting, hands-on attraction that uses audio-visual effects, a video wall and other special techniques to show something of what "the Few" experienced in the summer and early autumn of 1940.

That Sandwich – now two miles inland, but once right on the coast – was an original Cinque Port of Edward the Confessor’s? Grouped together for defence purposes, the ancient Cinque Ports had special responsibility to the Crown, providing men and ships in exchange for privileges. Explore centuries of English history with a guided tour of Sandwich - visit the historical centre and discover perfectly preserved medieval architecture, the features of the town’s Cinque Port status and evidence of its prestigious origins. Make sure to include a visit to the Guildhall Museum, home to Sandwich’ very own Magna Carta! The town’s street plan hasn’t changed much at all since the Domesday Book was commissioned.

That Admiralty Pier in Dover was from where the first person to swim across the English Channel launched himself? On 24th August 1875, Captain Matthew Webb dived into the sea from Admiralty Pier in Dover and landed near Calais after 21 hours 45 minutes. His previous attempt to swim the channel had failed. Capt Webb was killed in 1883, attempting to swim Niagara Falls. Walls of The White Horse pub in Dover have been decorated with the autographs of cross-channel swimmers throughout the decades. This traditional inn, an ale house since 1574, has survived wartime bombing raids while its neighbours have not been so fortunate.

Did you know... that the creator of James Bond, Ian Fleming, lived in St Margaret's Bay?

What else you didn’t know about White Cliffs Country

Deal High Street was voted High Street of the Year by The Telegraph - White Cliffs Country is home to Kent’s Golf Coast - Wingham Wildlife Park near Sandwich has the largest number of animal and bird species of all Kent's wildlife parks and zoos...

...There's more - but why don't you discover for yourself?

Travel less distance than if you were going abroad this year, but make a big journey of discovery as you discover what you didn’t know about White Cliffs Country. Expand the journey in your mind as you follow new paths and journey into the past. Book your White Cliffs Country staycation today.

Find a fantastic variety of places to stay in White Cliffs Country here.

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