It’s strange, but the more we travel the more we actually aspire to own our own home! Maybe we are sick of packing everything we own up into boxes in my poor Dad’s spare room, or maybe we’ve just been to so many amazing properties. We are constantly collecting cool ideas for our future.
And lets be honest, Dover castle is the pinnacle of permanent safe home ownership! The castle has stood for 800 years and counting! And the medieval earthworks began as an iron age hill fort before 1000 ad! We spent 6 hours exploring Dover castle and we’ve decided September is the perfect time of year because the weather is still warm and cloudy/sunny yet the crowds won’t bowl you over the turrets.
On the site of the castle on top of the tallest mound is an ancient Medieval Saxon church from 1000 AD which has been rebuilt in the 17th century, and believe it or not an actual Roman Lighthouse! It was built in AD 43 when the Romans invaded England and is one of the best surviving Roman Lighthouses in Europe.
We did the Dynamo tunnel tour, and as the film Dunkirk came out recently it was great timing to hear the real story of how the British forces managed to evacuate so many soldiers. Dover Castle is the largest castle in England and was totally unbombed by the German forces because Hitler put an embargo on damage as he wanted to own it for himself! The castle had to prove itself in a war situation in 1216 when a few hundred men defended it from Prince Louis of France after King John reneged on Magna Carta.
In the late 18th century, during the Napoleonic Wars, Dover Castle’s defenses were upgraded again. More gun positions and platforms were added, and the roof of the keep was replaced with bricks so that heavy artillery could be used from the top of the keep. If you go into the Gallery inside the Great Tower (the Keep), you can stand above the King’s throne, but you can see how the roof was rebuilt in a curved brick design which does cover the top part of the gallery windows.
A series of tunnels were constructed as a garrison for troops during the Napoleonic Wars. About 2000 used the underground barracks, you can explore some in the Hospital and Dynamo tunnel tours, but most of them are closed off.
During World War II, the tunnels were used as air-raid shelters and then as a secret command center and military hospital. There are over three miles of tunnels, and many parts of the underground system have not yet been fully explored. WE would totally have offered to do some exploring on English Heritages behalf… don’t think they trusted Tony not to go into any dangerous areas! 🙂
To read more about the history of Dover castle please follow this link to the English Heritage page http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/dover-castle/history-and-stories/history/
We definitely needed more than 4 hours to explore the castle complex fully, we took 6 hours because we stopped to explore lots of the gate houses and walked along the walls a lot. While wandering around the The Constables Gate area we discovered that you can rent rooms from English Heritage and stay in the castle walls overnight… wish we had known this earlier because although our self catering apartment in Dover was a great location for walking to town we would FAR rather have slept in a castle!
As the entry fee for Dover Castle is around £20, we decided to join English Heritage for £40 each a year in the hope that this will make us visit more castles and historical buildings in our time in the UK. We really enjoyed ourselves and have had a great time in Dover, and we have aspirations to build our future home around a courtyard design.
This blog will feel quite different to Tony’s style of blogging, however I had to take over because he is down to the final edit of book 6 (Which will be called “Don’t you know who I am?”) We just have to finish the front cover and format it, so fingers crossed you can all be reading his prequel in a fortnights time!
Next week we will be living aboard a canal boat in Wales so check back on the blog to see what happens there (Hopefully we don’t sink into the depths of a welsh aqueduct!)
Roo, what a great blog entry! I loved the history of the castle and wouldn’t mind living there, myself. As to you and Tony building a house, a castle would definitely keep you safe, except for the possibility of falling off the ramparts. Will you have a treboucet? I saw one for sale on eBay UK last week.
Omg a treboucet would be great! We have been idly designing our dream home for years and at first it was definitely like a castle but apparently that’s both hard to build and very expensive….doh! Glad you liked the Blog, thanks for reading x x x
Hey Roo and Tony,
Different from your usual posts, but no less enjoyable! Your tour of Dover Castle was very interesting. Did not get a chance to visit Dover when I was in the UK, missed alot. The history of the place is fascinating and the age of the Roman Lighthouse is mind boggling. Glad you are having fun and giving us a different take on the local sites. I can totally see you exploring the forbidden areas! Take lots of pictures and leave a bread crumb trail…..;) Have fun and look forward to more of these posts, and yes your book also.
HI Becky, thanks so much for reading and commenting on our blog! 🙂 Even though the UK is small compared to Australia its so FULL of history and things to see we are definitely going to miss things ourselves! Hope you enjoy Tonys new book 🙂
Thanks for sharing your visit to Dover Castle! That was on my list of “Places to See” when I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath in the 80’s. Unfortunately I didn’t make it there. Hopefully someday I will! Looks like it’s worth the 20 quid entry fee. I’m eagerly awaiting your next book! Have fun on your European travels!
HI Richard, its definitely worth the entry price! WE spent an entire day there and loved it all! 🙂 Shame you didnt get to see it in the 80s, but i bet you had some crazy adventures yourself :0! Tonys book is available on Amazon as of yesterday, we hope you enjoy it x x x
Hi you two looks like you’ve had a great time. Can’t wait for the new book as it will keep me going and cheer me up as I’m waiting to have finger joint operations. Will I be able to buy it on Kindle? Take care of yourselves you both look happy and well.
Best wishes Sue xx
Sue, oh my gosh finger joint surgery?! Ouch i hope you have a willing slave to turn kindle book pages for you because Tonys book ‘Don’t you know who I am’ is available now on amazon! Hope you arent in too much pain x x x
Great tour of an interesting part of the world, and nice job of photography. Thank you.
Thanks so much for reading our blog Bob! 🙂 Im really enjoying sunny weather to practice with my camera.
Nice article. Good to see you’re still adventuring and nice to hear that the next book is well and truly in the works. Best wishes from Australia!
Hi Bill, Hi all the way back to Australia! The new book ‘Don’t you know who I am’ is now available on Amazon, we hope you enjoy the antics of a younger Tony! 🙂
Good job, Roo!
Your reference to Tony not being trusted in dangerous areas prompted my own thought that many areas are not inherently dangerous, but become so with Tony’s presence… LOL!
Looking forward to the book.
Bob, I think you might be right there….many places become more dangerous when Tony arrives!! 🙂 Honestly Ive never known a more clumsy person! We hope you enjoy the new book, its available on Amazon now. Thanks for reading our blog x x x
Hi Roo and Tony!
Great newsletter Roo. Loved the Photos! Are you still over in the UK? Where will your travels take you next?
Scratch that question! I forgot you said you will be in Wales!
Thanks Laurie! Yup it was a quick week in Wales, now a few weeks in Croatia checking out some Game of Thrones locations and letting Tony get started on some scifi writing 🙂