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The History of Dover

The town of Dover has played a vital role throughout English history. The town is the gateway to the continent, controlling the English Channel and known as the 'Lock and Key of England'.

Due to this key strategic position, Dover has been the subject of several attempts at invasion: Julius Caesar tried to land at Dover during the Roman Invasion of 55 BC. Dover was also the prime objective of the invasion plans of William the Conqueror, Napoleon and Hitler.

As a result of its decisive position, Dover has always been a military and garrison town: the iconic Dover Castle has guarded the town for centuries. In Dover one can also find extensive remains of Roman forts, Napoleonic forts and defences from both the World Wars when Dover was Britain's Frontline Town.

Today, Dover Port is the busiest passenger ferry terminal in the world, the busiest cruise liner terminal in Britain and a major port for freight, particularly for fruit and other perishables imported via the large reefer cargo ships.

This brief history of Dover has been divided into historical periods :




Contact Us

Dover Museum
Market Square
Kent CT16 1PH

Tel: 01304 201066

Enquiries: museumenquiries@dover.gov.uk

Opening Hours

April - September: 9.30-5.00 Monday to Saturday,
10.00 - 3.00 Sunday 
October - March: Monday -Saturday 9.30 - 17.00
Closed Sunday.
Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Free Admission