Dover has always been known, first and foremost, as a port.
In fact, its first recorded mention is of Portus Dubris, which either means port of the River Dour, or port of the double bank, depending on which view you want to take. It was recorded as being a port in the Domesday Book, and is an ancient place that is still just as busy as it ever way today.
It is also famous for being so close to France (just 21 miles (about 34 kilometres) across the English Channel), and therefore strategically important. It was one of Henry VIII’s Cinque Ports, as well as being an important bastion during the Napoleonic Wars and, of course, during World War II when the tunnels that run beneath the stunning Dover Castle were utilised as a hospital and an invaluable secret military base. Some say that it is entirely due to the work that went on underneath Dover Castle that meant Hitler never made it across the Channel.
Apart from the magnificent 11th century castle, there are plenty of other things to do in this east Kent town including visiting the world renowned White Cliffs, taking a sea safari, visiting the natural beauty of Samphire Hoe, and the Dover Transport Museum to name just a few. They are all close to the port which is the central hub of Dover.
Ferries and cruise ships from Dover
|Dover Calais||15 daily||1½ hours||See prices|
|Dover Dunkirk||12 daily||2 hours||See prices|
|Dover Calais||21 daily||1½ hours||See prices|
This information is for reference purposes only. Journey times are approximate. Frequency is based on typical schedules. Schedules are subject to availability and weather conditions. Information correct at the time of writing.
Taster Cruise Ship Itineraries
|Cruise line||Typical itinerary||Prices|
|Dover Ports such as Rouen; Honfleur; Cobh; Dublin; Belfast||See prices °|
|Dover Ports such as Cherbourg; Guernsey; Le Havre; Amsterdam; Zeebrugge; Bremerhaven; Rouen; Guernsey; Brest||See prices °|
This information is for reference purposes only. Information correct at the time of writing.
Top 3 Cruise & Ferry Deals
- Celebrity Cruises mini cruises from £349pp
- DFDS Amsterdam Mini Cruise From £49pp
- DFDS Keukenhof Gardens mini cruise from £120pp
To find other ports near you, take a look at the UK port map here.
Harbour House, Marine Parade, Dover, Kent, CT17 9BU, United Kingdom
The Port of Dover is adjacent to the A2 which is very easy to get to regardless of whether you are travelling on the M2/A2 via Canterbury or the M20/A20 via Ashford.
Dover also sits within close proximity to Folkestone using the A20 so the Channel Tunnel services may be a handy alternative in case of unexpected delays or cancellations to the ferry services.
If you are travelling to catch a ferry service then follow the signs for the ferry terminal. Cruise passengers should follow the signs to the cruise terminal which is around 3 miles (about 5 kilometres) to the west of the ferry terminal. Both the cruise and ferry terminals are well signposted.
No on-site parking is available for ferry customers although the Port does recommend contacting the companies 'Relyon Parking' and 'Port Parking' who may be able to help.
Cruise customers can choose between indoor and outdoor parking. Pre-booking this online works out at a cheaper rate than turning up and paying on the day. In May 2016 the rate for indoor parking was £12.50 per 24 hours while the outside parking was slightly cheaper at £10 per 24 hours.
Be aware that a minimum charge applies for cruise parking. For inside parking this was £40 and for outside parking this was £38.50 when I last checked.
Getting there by coach
National Express operates route 007 which links London to Deal through Canterbury and Dover. Book your tickets here.
Eurolines runs coach services to Europe via Dover. There are over 1,200 destinations across Europe and many of the services that depart from the UK use the ferries at Dover.
From London Eurolines coaches head to: Linz and Vienna (Austria); Brussels, Ghent, Liege, and Bruges (Belgium); Plovidiv, Stara Zagora, Burgas and Sofia (Bulgaria); Dubrovnik, Rijeka, Senj, Split, Varazdin, Zadar and Zagreb (Croatia); Copenhagen, Vejle, Rodby, Nykobing, Aarhus and Aalborg (Denmark); Parnu, Tartu, Valga, Narva and Tallinn (Estonia); Paris, Lyon, Dijon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Perpignan and Chamonix (France); Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart (Germany); Rome, Naples, Turin, Florence, Verona and Venice (Italy); Riga and Bauska (Latvia); Kaunas, Marijampole, Panevezys, Palanga and Vilnius (Lithuania); Amsterdam, The Hague, Breda, Rotterdam and Eindhoven (The Netherlands); Oslo and Sarpsborg (Norway); Lisbon, Faro, Coimbra, Portalegre, Viseu and Porto (Portugal); Arad, Lugoj, Fagaras, Deva and Bucharest (Romania); Novi Sad and Belgrade (Serbia); Ljubljana and Maribor (Slovenia); Almería, Malaga, Alicante, Madrid, Benidorm, Bilbao and Barcelona (Spain); and Uddevalla, Gothenburg, Helsingborg and Malmo (Sweden). Book your tickets here.
Getting there by train
If you'd rather arrive by train, Dover Priory Railway Station is approximately five minutes away from the Port of Dover. Local services link to London, Faversham and Ramsgate.
Many national services will use London as a hub and so include at least one train change. The journey time from London is around 2 hours. The typical journey time from Birmingham is around 4 hours, Cardiff is 5 hours, and Edinburgh is 6¾ hours. Plan your journey here.