My mom came in from the states for a couple weeks and before her arrival I asked “Do you want to leave the airport and come rest at our house for a day… or do you want to hit the ground running?” Of course she said “hit the ground running!” My mom is where I get my sense of adventure. She is someone that doesn’t need nor want a cell phone to tell her how to get somewhere. She doesn’t plan. Doesn’t need an agenda. She is perfectly content just ending up wherever a road takes her. Whenever we go places together she likes to wander off by herself and you always watch her and wonder what she is thinking. On a beach she will explore every pebble and every shell. In the forest she inquire on the types of trees and animal footprints.
Mom has a great appreciation for open spaces and outdoor scenery. So after we picked her up from Heathrow airport we decided to drive out to Dover on the southeastern coast of England. We stayed at a Best Western right on the beach with a great view of the white cliffs. This hotel was the perfect location but certainly came with quirks. The floors on the entire top level we stayed on were so slanted that even sleeping in the bed we kept falling in the direction of the decline. Other than this oddity we found the hotel to be a great value for the money with free parking right on the street. It’s fun to think about how old these buldings in Europe can be. The history and stories behind them that give them these quirks.
The White Cliffs of Dover
We parked for free thanks to our National Trust membership and set off on our hike 300 feet above sea level. The scenery is breathtaking and you can even see France in the distance across the channel. The cliffs reminded me of a white, chalky version of the cliffs of Moher in Ireland. What I was most surprised at was the beautiful blue color of the water. The water we have seen up until this point has been in the Suffolk region and typically a muddy brown or grey color.
We hiked for about an hour, allowing the boys to set the pace (surprisingly fast) and taking a million pictures. Then we noticed the large, dark clouds rolling in our direction and decided that it might be time to head back to the car. As we began our journey back it started pouring. Ben took off running with Carter while Mom and I took turns running or walking with Kellan and trying to keep my camera dry. There had been no rain forecasted that day. Welcome to England, Mom!
The next day we had tickets for the euro-tunnel at 1 so we only had a couple hours to spend at the castle being they didn’t open until 10 am. You get in free with an English Heritage membership, which we don’t have…so we decided to be cheap with our limited time and only walk the grounds and tunnels of the castle (free).
Made entirely of Caen stone, Dover is the largest castle in England and pretty impressive. They aren’t sure when the grounds were first fortified-around the iron age- but the castle mostly began to take form around the time of King Henry II in the 1100’s. This guy had a lot of power. There is a lot of history on this land in regards to wars throughout Britain and Europe. I would definitely enjoy coming back and touring the inside and reading up more on all the history.
*From Dover we drove to Folkstone and boarded the euro-tunnel that crosses into France. Stay tuned for my post on our adventures in France and Belgium!*