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Most visitors to Dover don’t stay for the appeal of the town itself, although there are a few great attractions in the city that are well worth a visit. Dover’s popularity, however, lies in its location. Located right on the southern coast of England, it serves as a great base from which to explore the south and its surroundings. From the surrounding villages to the white cliffs, there is much exploring to be done here. Car rental agencies are on hand to assist travellers in obtaining that perfect vehicle for excursions.
Who to Book With
The usual car rental companies, including the popular Avis, Hertz, Budget and Sixt, have a presence in the city. These firms can be located at the railway station and at several other locations in the city centre. During peak season, online booking is paramount as competition for vehicles is high.
Best Time to go
Dover’s climate is the best in southern England, with more sunny days to date than any other city. The peak season is during summer, when many travellers pass through. From June through to September, the prices of rentals and accommodation see a small rise. Advanced online booking is highly recommended during this time.
Need to Know Essentials
Don’t forget the following when collecting your rental car:
- A form of photographic identification, like a passport
- The credit card used to make the deposit
- A valid driving license or an International Driver’s Permit
- Proof of the booking
Dover is quite a small city, so driving, especially in the central business district, is not generally necessary. A car is really only needed for those that plan on using Dover as a base from which to explore the coastline. The public transport system is not that extensive, so a rental car is needed if this is your plan. The roads in the region are of a good quality and link quickly to the larger UK motorway.
Travellers who do drive in the city should note that all parking needs to be paid for. The city has short-term and long-term options; short term parking, on the street and in public car parks, costs around £1.20 per hour, but cars are only permitted to stay until 18:00. Some parking lots only allow stays of a maximum of two hours, so double check the specifications before entering. Long-term parking tickets are pre-paid and cost around £3.75 per day for a minimum of two days.
Dover’s public transport system is not too extensive, comprised only of a bus and a ferry network. However, the city is small enough for most of it to be navigated without a vehicle. Travellers interested in making daytrips really do need to hire a car, as the regional train line only runs to a few locations outside of the city.
The local bus service in the city is the main mode of public transport used by both locals and visitors. The system is operated by Stagecoach East Kent, which runs the buses across the entire region. Tickets can be purchased from bus stations and from vending machines on the buses themselves, and need to be validated before boarding. The central bus station is located on Pencester Road, from where both local and regional buses can be taken.
The ferry is also quite popular and useful for two reasons; firstly, it is one of the main modes of crossing to Calais; secondly, the companies run a service from the harbour to the local train station for those just passing through. The train station is quite a ways from the docks and taking a taxi can be expensive.
Taking a taxi in Dover is really only necessary when going to the train or bus stations. They are also useful for those without a hire car who want to embark on daytrips. Taxis can be flagged down from the side of the road but, more reliably, the can be pre-booked with companies like Dover Taxis and Dover Sherwan Taxis.
While Dover has a few interesting sites of its own, it’s the surrounding area that carries most of the tourism appeal. With quaint southern English charms and stunning coastal panoramas only a few hours outside of the city boundaries, Dover really is a great place to be based if daytrips are your thing.
Canterbury - Located 35kms outside of Dover, Canterbury offers a daytrip not to be missed. Most travellers know the town only from Chaucer’s writings, but this fascinating town is home to many museum, galleries and even a Roman complex, all just waiting to be explored.
The White Cliffs of Dover - A trip to Dover is simply not complete without seeing the famous white cliffs. Granted, the cliffs have more of an effect when visitors face them from the sea, but they are nonetheless still quite breathtaking from the top. The cliffs, standing at 110 metres high, are known for their chalk white façade and have been the inspiration for many works of art and songs.
Dover Castle - A short distance from the white cliffs is Dover Castle (pictured above). As far back as the Iron Age, the site has been used as a fort. The Castle itself manned a strategic purpose atop the cliff as the closest point to France. Built around 1066, the remarkably well preserved castle is open to the public to enjoy.