White Cliffs Country is rich in maritime history

Maritime History in White Cliffs Country

Uncover a treasure trove of history in this unique destination by the sea

It’s no wonder that White Cliffs Country, home to the world-famous White Cliffs of Dover, is rich with maritime history. With more than twenty miles of coastline that’s seen action from the Roman invasion through to the Second World War and beyond, you’ll find a treasure trove of ancient hidden gems to uncover here. Immerse yourself in a plethora of interesting maritime facts about this unique destination where coast meets countryside, ancient meets modern and England meets Europe.

Did you know that the world’s oldest-surviving sea-going vessel is found in Dover? The 3500 year old Bronze Age Boat was discovered just a few hundred yards from its resting place in Dover Museum. It was also in Dover that the first successful attempt at swimming across the English Channel was made, by Captain Matthew Webb in 1875… at the White Horse Pub, you’ll find a wall signed by all who have successfully followed in his swimming-strokes. Ancient history meets modern at Dover Castle, with a labyrinth of underground tunnels beneath the c.900 year old fortification that have been used for secret military operations throughout the centuries, including Operation Dynamo in World War Two: the evacuation of Dunkirk.

Deal, Kent was a frequent port of call for Nelson and evidence of its maritime significance is strong, with the Timeball Tower and museum a quirky landmark on the seafront, and Deal Museum home to a Dunkirk ‘Little Ship’, an exhibition detailing the history of the Royal Marines in Deal and more. Deal is also famous for once having been a smuggling haunt and hiding places for contraband are still unearthed in the town’s Middle Street today – while just a short walk along the seafront you’ll find Deal Castle, a fortress built on the orders of King Henry VIII as part of a chain of the Tudor monarch’s coastal defences.

North of Deal, Richborough was once on the Kentish coast and marks the spot where the Romans first set shore in Britain. Neighbouring Sandwich was one of the original Cinque Ports – formed in the 11th Century and granted many rights and privileges in return for providing men and ships for 15 days free service a year to the Crown. Visit the Guildhall Museum and Archives to discover the history of this perfectly-preserved Medieval town and its pride at holding such status.

With so much to take in on this voyage of discovery, you’ll be in need of a restful night’s sleep and you won’t be disappointed, with a range of wonderful accommodation options to choose from – many of them by the sea, as you’d expect. Choose from coastal cottages and comfortable hotels to guesthouses, camping and more.

There’s a wealth of historical treasure to uncover in White Cliffs Country so make 2021 the year you surprise yourself as you explore the fascinating maritime past of this unique destination.