The white cliffs revival

Dover port

The single biggest investment ever undertaken in the port of Dover will deliver shops, bars and restaurants alongside a new marina in 2018.

Cruise passengers sailing into Dover will be able to walk directly from their ship to a vibrant waterfront and marina by the end of 2018.

The £120 million Dover Western Docks Revival is under way and the single biggest investment ever undertaken in the Port of Dover will deliver shops, bars, cafes and restaurants alongside the new marina.

Proposed pedestrian and cycle routes will link the cruise terminals to the new development so visitors can explore the waterfront area at their leisure.

The town is also getting a facelift – the eyesore office block Burlington House has been demolished and the former Charrington’s site will soon feature a 108-room Travelodge, a six-screen Cineworld, Frankie and Benny’s, Bella Italia, Nandos, Next and M&S Simply Food.

Dover cruise port is the second busiest in the UK and its century-old Cruise Terminal 1, formerly the Old Marine Railway Station, is an architectural masterpiece which has undergone two years of renovation. The replacement roof alone cost £10 million.

This Grade II terminal, which served through two world wars, now combines history with a smart modern-day departure lounge.

Cruise Terminal 2 is a larger building which was built in 2000 and designed in the style of an airport facility. From the first-floor departure lounge there are panoramic views over the harbour, the White Cliffs and Dover Castle.

Each terminal has a 340-metre berth and an additional 240-metre berth is available for cruise ships at Admiralty Pier.

The port welcomes around 200,000 cruise passengers every year and is the home port for Saga Pearl II and Saga Sapphire.

Cruise ships such as Disney Magic, Fred. Olsen’s Blackwatch and Celebrity Silhouette, the biggest of Celebrity Cruises’ 10-strong fleet, enjoyed the facilities in 2016.

With destination immersion at the heart of today’s cruise itinerary planning, Dover is well positioned for turnaround or port-of-call visits for Norway, the Baltic, round Britain, Iceland, the Mediterranean and the Canaries.

Dover castle
Dover castle

Dover is also a gateway to London, connected by the high-speed train, which takes 66 minutes to St Pancras International.

Sonia Limbrick, head of business development (cruise) at Port of Dover, said: “We are lucky to have the iconic White Cliffs as a backdrop and the port regeneration will provide another fantastic experience for passengers.

“We actually have some wonderful attractions on our doorstep for passengers to explore. Kent is the Garden of England and we encourage cruise lines and travel agents to highlight how convenient we are for excursions to Canterbury Cathedral, a myriad of castles and gardens.

“Dover Castle, which served as the control centre for the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940, is a ‘must-see’ attraction. Deal and Walmer castles are also nearby, while the romantic Leeds Castle and Hever Castle are within a 45-minute drive.”

The White Cliffs Country is also framed by sandy beaches, coves and secluded bays. St Margaret’s Bay and Kingsdown, near Dover, each have a pub on the beach. Camber Sands, Broadstairs,  Joss Bay and Dymchuch all feature sweeping golden sands and are perfect for families.

Whitstable is a lively seaside resort and the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival takes place during the last week of July.

FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF DICKENS WHILE IN DOVER

Visitors can follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens with a short walk from their cruise ship along Dover’s esplanade to see 10 Camden Crescent, the Georgian terrace where the author stayed for three months in 1852 while writing Bleak House.

From that address he wrote to Miss Mary Boyle: “There are two ways of going to Folkestone, both lovely and striking in the highest degree. There are Heights and Downs, and country roads and I don’t know what, everywhere.”

In 1861 he stayed at the Lord Warden Hotel, in Dover, and in a letter to Wilkie Collins he speaks again of the fine walks. “Of course I am dull and penitent here, but it is very beautiful.   I can work well and I walked by the cliffs to Folkestone and back today.”

In the same year, he also gave one of his public readings in Dover. It was so crowded many people were turned away.
For details of walking trails, events and attractions see visitkent.co.uk

PORT FACTS

• National Transport Awards ‘Port of the Year’
• Two cruise terminals, three berths
• Ample secure parking
• 24-hour CCTV
• 200,000 cruise passengers a year
• International Ship and Port Facility Security compliant

Transport links
Gatwick  76 minutes
Heathrow 95 minutes
London – by rail 66 minutes  – by coach 95 minutes

MUSICAL DISNEY MAGIC

When Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic made her final call of 2016, a musical quartet played a medley of Disney classics to welcome passengers to Dover’s Cruise Terminal 2.

In turn, Disney Magic announced her departure to the tune of When You Wish Upon a Star and swept out of the harbour past a spectacular water salute from the Port of Dover tugboats.

Head of business development (cruise), Sonia Limbrick said: “It has been another fantastic year for Dover Cruise Port and an honour to have the Disney Magic visit us four times this season.”

WHAT TO SEE IN THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND

• Canterbury Cathedral
• Rochester Cathedral and castle
• Dover Museum, home to the Dover Bronze Age Boat, the world’s oldest known seagoing vessel
• Turner Contemporary, Margate

Wine and beer trails

• Chapel Down vineyard
• Biddenden vineyard
• Shepherd Neame brewery

Golf

• Royal St George’s at Deal Castles
• Dover Castle, Leeds Castle and Hever Castle, plus Walmer and Deal castles, built by Henry VIII in 1539 Gardens • Sissinghurst Castle • Penshurst Place • Saluation House, Sandwich

Family fun

• Howletts and Port Lympne Wildlife parks to see gorillas, elephants, lions and the elusive snow leopard.
• Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway
• Dreamland funfair, Margate

Shopping

Canterbury has boutique-lined medieval streets while Royal Tunbridge Wells and Edenbridge boast fine antiques shops. Ashford offers a
designer outlet and Bluewater is the county’s giant shopping mall.

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