Dover, England, United Kingdom
With the shortest channel crossing point between England and the continent, Dover has always been of strategic importance. Dover Castle is a medieval castle, and the largest extant castle in all of England. When William the Conqueror arrived in England, he set about establishing a defensive site at Dover Castle, but it was made of clay and understandably did not last long. The current stone building was built in the 12th century, and thereafter, it came to be called the “Key to England”, such was its strategic importance.
Fast forward the early 19th century and the Napoleonic Wars. During this time the site was of no less importance strategically and the castle was used as a barracks. At this time extensive underground tunnels were built and used as the world’s first underground barracks housing more than 2000 men. During World War II the castle was used as a military command center and underground hospital. In 1939 with the outbreak of war, the tunnels were again put to good use.
Visiting the castle and the tunnels is like taking a walk through England’s most important military history from medieval to modern times. The castle is open to tourists all year round and it is just a short drive or walk east of the town of Dover.