“Write about a day trip you’d recommend”, said Dave.

Well, where else to start but Dover ? Best known for these,

The  Forces  Sweetheart  projected onto the iconic White Cliffs of Dover

but I was rather charmed by the seafront. And the hills.


Disparaged by Bill Bryson in “Notes from a Small Island“, it’s a rambling, slightly shabby town with more character than your Stratfords and Southwolds, and the walk to the well-preserved castle is a joy.


Some attractive pubs where you might get a proper Doom Bar, or even Courage Best.


But ultimately Dover is a cut price Ramsgate, packed with cheerful micropubs.

I really enjoyed the Thirsty Scarecrow, which was demonstrating why Childrens Services have a harder time here than in Maidenhead.


Mr Thirsty playfully tried to get a child to take those first tentative steps into the world of adult bar snacks.

Go on !  Try a pickled egg ”

Noooo  !” screamed the toddler.

What about scratchings ?

The Lanes (sadly now closed) catered to a more mature drinker, and wouldn’t appeal to the Sam Smiths fan, but wouldn’t offend the PubMan.

All sorts of non-beery banter, from a review of the relative merits of Fred Olsen and Royal Carribean cruise lines (the posh table) to the joys of San Miguel on the other.


But rarely have I had such a genuine welcome in a pub, or felt such a sense of contentment from the regulars.  I asked the landlord to recommend a beer (Tonbridge Pale, NBSS 4), and was grateful to get a clear steer, rather than that “Depends what sort of beer you like” flannel.

They even shook my hand on the way out; possibly in recognition of my rate of consumption, but more likely because they’re just lovely folks.

My favourite pub, though, is the Spoons, one of the “lively at 9am” ones you lot love.

Great view to the formalwear shop from the beer garden.


The Old Dairy beers here were superb (NBSS 4). Grab the seat by the coffee machine for the best fun.


For your essential craft, Breakwater Tap is quite a pleasant place to drink, with a good buzz aided by “Fox on the run” and “Since you been gone” booming away.  (I’m not joking).

But the beer was a bit thin, so best stick to the Strongbow.


Oh, you want entertainment ?

I brought Matt to Dover recently to see some Californian hardcore in the old Port Booking Office. At 17 he was one of the oldest lads there.

At the interval your hero, some 37 years older than the average stagediving local nipped out for a half in the Cinque Ports., only accessible by clambering over a flyover. It reminded me of a scarily isolated pub in Barking Docks that once made the Guide.

Two unused handpumps so I have a half of Fosters, the crafties’ choice. I’m the only one not standing at the bar, discussing Strictly, domestic disputes, and undercooked broccoli at the GBBF.

I get up to go, and realise my elbow is stuck to the table. Then I try to exit from the locked door. BRAPA style embarrassment.

Bye” someone shouts. Everybody hates a tourist.

I think you’re best off finishing the night with a kebab.

ALWAYS go for the one called “The Best Kebab and Pizza”, eh ?

17 thoughts on “A DAY TRIP TO DOVER

    1. John, I remember reading a while back that the lanes had sadly closed.

      Was the pandemic, the primary cause, or were there other reasons?


  1. The thing that sticks in my mind about Dover is encountering the new softer Mars Bar there for the first time in 1992. Probably twice the size of the current one. It was on the day before Black Wednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The bigger question is what location did Bill Bryson not speak disparagingly about? Most of us drive through Dover and don’t get up into the center. In doing so you aren’t likely to go back. Nice to see the center a bit in the pics.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Well, where else to start but Dover ? Best known for these,”

    Yes, yes but… aren’t white cliffs (and faces) racist these days?

    “and the walk to the well-preserved castle is a joy.”

    In that photo below, they need some clockwork type fellow to come out in a semi-circle swinging a hammer or something.

    “Some attractive pubs where you might get a proper Doom Bar”

    In the OS map above, Tower Hamlets? They nicked that from London! And, Broadlees Bottom? Shouldn’t that be abutting The Grand Shaft? Finally, Fort Burgoyne. Is that some local dialect for fort begone?

    “which was demonstrating why Childrens Services have a harder time here than in Maidenhead.”

    Yikes. Nuff said.

    “and Royal Carribean cruise lines (the posh table)”

    Pfft. Holland America, if you’re of a certain age. 😉

    “They even shook my hand on the way out; ”

    What! Oh, wait. This was some time ago.

    “But the beer was a bit thin,”

    While those chairs above look a bit thick!

    “It reminded me of a scarily isolated pub in Barking Docks that once made the Guide.”

    It’s that French undertone, innit.

    “Everybody hates a tourist.”

    Told ya! Lookit that Euro flag stuck to the ceiling.

    “ALWAYS go for the one called “The Best Kebab and Pizza”, eh ?”

    Stop nicking my accent, eh! 😉


    Liked by 1 person

  4. My home town although I have not lived there for 35 years and my elderly parents now reside in more salubrious Folkestone. I visit regularly though.
    Dover has had a Checkered micro pub history
    The Rack of ale and Arlington closed before Covid and now sadly the Lanes.
    The Mash Tun is now the Hoptimist. Confusingly not linked with the hoptimist chain of micro pubs in North Wales

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was a teenager it wasn’t salubrious at all, a,whole street of Edwardian villas converted into bedsits housed a population of young Merseyside heroin addicts who elicited a mixture of fear pity and revulsion in us local youths . They would steal CDs from Our price to order which some of us took advantage of.
        South coast resorts were much grittier in the 80s
        These days those buildings are luxury flats for DFLs
        The addicts would not have survived in Dover where all outsiders were viewed with violent suspicion.Nobody in my class at School had ever been to France even the kids whose dads worked on the ferries

        Liked by 1 person

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