When it comes to museums, Dover has it all. From World War ll relics to vintage cars, take an insightful journey through the rich heritage of the area at any one of these magnificent tourist venues.
Museums in Dover
One of the oldest museums in Kent, Dover Museum walks you through the captivating history of the town – from the Bronze Age right the way to the modern day. Exhibitions on show cover every major stage of Dover’s history including Roman Dover, Saxton Dover, Tudor Dover and many more. What you really want to see, however, is the impressive Bronze Age boat – the oldest known seagoing boat in the world. It’s quite a sight to behold and is thought to be over 3,000 years old. Situated in the heart of the town, you can get here from our Dover Central hotel in just over 10 minutes by foot, and five minutes by car.
A truly unique experience in Kent, Dover Transport Museum is a vintage-lover’s paradise, home to a fantastic selection of antique vehicles including cars, trains, boats and more. Set in almost two acres of beautiful grounds, it has two large galleries with over 50 vintage modes of transport set in street scenes that mirror the vehicles’ eras. A must-do for any car or train buffs, there are many unique and interesting displays here including a newly restored St Thomas Saddle Tank Engine that will delight any young fans of the TV show Thomas the Tank Engine. There is also a wonderful model railway that little ones are sure to love. If you need to take a pit stop, the Tram Stop Café offers a great selection of hot and cold dishes, soft drinks and yummy cakes at very sensible prices. Dover Transport Museum is open Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays between 17 March–28 October, and Sunday only between 4 November–15 March.
Drive 12 minutes from Dover Transport Museum and you’ll find the Roman Painted House. Discovered in the 1970s by Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, this is the finest Roman house in Britain and is now one of the most visited cultural attractions in the area. Built in around AD 200, it’s believed that this was once either a mansio – an official stopping place on a Roman road – or a hotel for travellers crossing the English Channel. With beautiful wall paintings and exhaustive displays on Dover’s Roman history, this gives a great insight into the rich heritage of the area. There isn’t an on-site café here, but there is a lovely outdoor area for picnics and limited free car parking. Open from April–September the Roman Painted House is staffed entirely by volunteers.
If war history is your thing, you need to head to St Margaret’s Museum in St Margaret’s Bay, just opposite the Pines Garden. Focused on the history of St Margaret’s during World War ll and beyond, it was created in memory of Fred Cleary CBE – a philanthropist dedicated to environmental causes and the promotion of open spaces. The museum itself is always changing, with new displays on the history of the area updated regularly. There is also an impressive statue of Sir Winston Churchill in the grounds which was created by Oscar Nemon, a Croatian sculptor known for his work on the British politician. If you want to stop off for a tea break during your visit then head next door to The Pines Garden Tea Room which offers delicious sandwiches, cake and tea. St Margaret’s Museum is free to enter and is open Wednesday–Sunday 10am–4.30pm.
Deep within the walls of Dover Castle you’ll find the PWRR & Queen’s Regiment Museum. Telling the story of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the Queen’s Regiment – from inception to the present day – this chronological trip through history is the perfect tourist destination for anyone interested in the army in general and royal regiments in particular. Filled with magnificent artefacts, objects, audio-visual displays and scene recreations, this museum is small but it tells a fascinating story of the lives of soldiers and the hardships they endure. Open daily from April–September 10am–6pm, and 10am–5pm in October, it is only open on weekends during the winter.