The port of Dover, while not being a place you can just visit, not being a World Heritage Site, and not being an instantly recognisable scene photographed by endless tourists is a place that everyone in the UK knows of, hears regularly about on the news and knows exactly where it is. That being said it is a place that, until Autumn 2019, I had never seen and never even been near.
Dover, in the county of Kent in the south east of the UK, is the nearest point to mainland Europe – a meagre 21 miles to Calais in France. According to Wikipedia it is one of the worlds busiest passenger ports with “11.7 million passengers, 2.6 million lorries, 2.2 million cars and motorcycles and 80,000 coaches passing through it in 2017“.
Having never visited the area before I was therefore surprised as we explored Kent that the main road to Dover – the M2 – was only two lanes wide rather than three, and wasn’t choked with cars and trucks. In fact half way through Kent is changed from a road designated as a motorway to an “A road” – the A2.
As we walked along the top of the famous “white cliffs of Dover” not only did we get an excellent view of France (which I never knew you could actually see from England – it took me almost 50 years to find this out) but we got a really good view of the port. Again I was surprised at how small it was and the relative lack of inactivity. It all just seemed… quiet and not what I expected at all.