Results 1-10of 13 Reviews
Scotland, Scotland, United Kingdom
August 22, 2011
From journal English Highlights
Tunbridge Wells, England, United Kingdom
December 1, 2010
From journal England 2010 report
September 28, 2010
From journal Autumn Memory
November 10, 2007
From journal A Day in Dover
July 9, 2005
We didn't have time to wait for the tour of the secret wartime tunnels, because it is scheduled ahead of time and was very busy. The view of the cliffs and harbor were very nice, and I don't think you could have gotten a better view. We got some great shots of the battlements and castle.
From journal Week in Kent
June 7, 2005
On our third sightseeing day, we went to Leeds Castle, which is not in Leeds but in southeast England, in the county of Kent. By all accounts, this is the most romantic castle in all of England, although not the largest. I believe Windsor is far larger. The castle has 24 bedrooms and, until the mid-20th century, did not have any bathrooms with indoor plumbing! It was a beautifully restored example of medieval architecture, although some of the wine cellars date back to the Normans. The castle’s last owner, Lady Baillie, completely refurbished the castle, and added some 20th-century touches, like central heating. Our tour guide told us it was once called the Ladies’ Castle, since it became something of a tradition to give it as a wedding present to royal brides. Keep an eye out for the pictures of Henry VIII and his six wives!
The grounds of the castle are beautiful and included an aviary with a wide variety of exotic birds, including white peacocks, toucans, parrots, etc. There’s also a huge maze on the grounds, created from over 2,400 yew trees, although our guide asked us not to go into the maze since it might take hours to get out! One note: the castle rules have changed recently and guests are now allowed to take photographs inside the castle, something we didn’t know until after we had left.
Our next stop was Canterbury Cathedral, with a short stop for lunch at Panteli’s restaurant up the street from the cathedral – food was okay, not stellar, and quite possibly the strongest cup of tea I’ve ever had! Canterbury Cathedral was only somewhat interesting, although I found it was incredibly commercialized. The only exit from the grounds forced guests into the gift shop.
After meeting up with our group again, we went to Dover for a 15-minute photo stop. We wished this stop had been longer. My kids certainly would have willingly shortened or completely traded in the stop at Canterbury for a longer stop at Dover. Despite the drizzly day, the kids had a blast on the beach and wanted to climb up to the cliffs.
To round off our day, we stopped for afternoon tea (included with the cost of the tour) at a pub about 45 minutes outside of Dover. We were treated to sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream (yum!) and individual pots of tea. It was better than lunch!
This particular tour was not nearly as attention-grabbing as our other tours (see entries for "Discovering London" and "Stonehenge & Bath …"). However, we would definitely, given the chance, go back to Leeds Castle to try the maze, and to Dover, to climb the cliffs and tour Dover Castle.
From journal London UK in Spring
February 18, 2004
From journal Memories of Kent
Swansea, United Kingdom
June 30, 2003
Also deep underground is a large network of tunnels which were first made in the Napoleonic Wars. Seven tunnels were dug as barracks for the soldiers and officers and are able to hold up to 2,000 troops. These tunnels which cover three underground levels, also played an important part in the 20th century as they were used extensively in the second world war, including Operation Dynamo. This saw the evacuation of 388,000 troops from the beaches at Dunkirk which Churchill and Vice Admiral Ramesey co-ordinated from the tunnels behind Dover's White Cliffs.
Two of the three levels of tunnels are now open to the public, who can take a 55 minute guided tour around them which includes a short film about the evacuation of Dunkirk and the chance to see the subterranean rooms as they were in the time of Churchill and the men and women who worked there.
The WWII tunnels are a highlight, but the whole castle is worth seeing because it encapsulates so much of British history and it is a beautiful sight on a summer's day, whether you're strolling around the grounds, approaching on the ferry from France or looking down over the small port town from the castle itself, this is a major attraction when visiting the area and should not be missed.
Admission costs £7 for adults, £5.30 for concessions, and £3.50 for children of ages 5-15.
From journal Dover, Kent aka The Gateway to England
Hamilton Square, New Jersey
April 7, 2003
As it seemed most people headed directly for the keep, I set out to see the Roman lighthouse and Saxon church located nearby, which allowed me a roughly chronological view of the premises. Built of local stone in the first-century CE, the Roman lighthouse is now hidden from the coast by St. Mary-in-Castro Church. During the Roman rule in Britain, however, the lighthouse stood twice its present height and guided ships across the Channel. I was told that the ghost of a Roman drummer boy can sometime be heard playing in the ruins, but I didn't hear him!
The church next door (for which the lighthouse served briefly as a bell tower) was originally built around 1000 CE, and served as the site of a wedding the day I was there. The inside was closed while wedding preparations were underway, but the outside shows the marks of extensive 19th-century renovation. The view of the castle’s keep from the hill just above the church is excellent for photos.
From the church and lighthouse, it’s a short walk to the fortress itself. Pass through the gates into the yard, and the massive walls of the keep, built by Henry II to replace the wooden one constructed on the spot by his great-grandfather William the Conqueror, rise in front of you, gray and forbidding. You can roam through the inside more or less freely. The stones used in the construction of the interior seem as large as those used to build the outer walls. The ceilings are tremendously high. But what surprised me most was how light it was inside, given the lack of windows. Some of this was undoubtedly due to the addition of electrical lighting, but I expected a dark and cramped space but found one that was remarkably bright and airy.
If you’re feeling spry, you can climb all the way through the keep and walk along the ramparts. They say you can see France on a clear day, and, although the sky was blue, haze obscured the view of the coastline. You can’t see the cliffs from the ramparts though. Instead, head for a viewing stand near the WWII gun. With luck, you’ll be rewarded with the amazing view of the Cliffs I saw that day.
Admission is £8; opening hours are 10am – 6pm (April – September), with closing at 5pm in October and 4pm from November through March.
From journal Give Thanks for London!