Dover, UK

Most of us have been through Dover many times but do not visit it.  Profiting from a break in a journey from London to Dusseldorf, I managed to pay the town a visit.

The big question is where to park and for that I don't have an answer.  There are places for a few hours slep before boarding the ferry but my experience has been that one invariably gets woken by drunken idiots banging on the van in the middle of the night.

There is however a layby overlooking the castle and the Channel outside the town which I frequently use.

Dover is near the extreme south-east corner of Britain. At South Foreland, the nearest point to the continent, Cap Gris Nez near Calais is 34 kilometres away, across the Strait of Dover.

The site of its original settlement lies in the valley of the River Dour, making it an ideal place for a port, sheltered from the prevailing south-westerly winds. This led to the silting up of the river mouth by the action of longshore drift; the town was then forced into making artificial breakwaters to keep the port in being. These breakwaters have been extended and adapted so that the port lies almost entirely on reclaimed land.

The higher land on either side of the valley -- the Western Heights and the eastern high point on which Dover Castle stands -- has been adapted to perform the function of protection against invaders. The town has gradually extended up the river valley, encompassing several villages in doing so. Little growth is possible along the coast, since the cliffs are on the sea's edge. The railway, being tunnelled and embanked, skirts the foot of the cliffs.