Discover England's Castle
A brand new, fully immersive Escape Room experience is now open at Dover Castle. Race against the clock to reach the safety of the bunker by solving puzzles, cracking codes and completing challanges. Do you have the skill and teamwork needed to survive, or will your party bomb out?
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800 BC - AD 43Iron Age Hillfort
Massive earth ramparts and ditches are constructed, which will provide the foundation for the medieval castle's curtain walls. Regular cross-Channel trading takes place.
115-40A Roman Lighthouse
The Romans build a lighthouse here to guide ships into the harbour, the base of the fleet patrolling the Channel.
7th CenturyMinster Church
Eadbald, King of Kent, founds a minster church for 22 monks in the 'castrum' of Dover - either the Roman fort in the town or the hillfort on the headland.
10th-Early 11th CenturySt Mary's Church
The church of St Mary in Castro is built beside the lighthouse.
William the Conqueror defeats King Harold, then turns to Dover. He takes the town, burns it, and builds fortifications there, before heading to London for his coronation.
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1180-89The Castle Rebuilt
Henry II rebuilds Dover Castle, spending vast sums on it. It is the most expensive castle project of its time.
1205-15First Royal Fleet
King John establishes the first royal fleet and completes the castle's outer defences.
After King John reneges on Magna Carta, Prince Louis of France invades England and besieges Dover Castle. It is successfully defended by a few hundred men.
1217-56The Castle Completed
Under Henry III, enormous sums are spent strengthening Dover, making it one of the largest and most strategically important castles in England.
1263-65De Montfort's Dover
Simon de Montfort challenges Henry III's government and captures Dover Castle. The future Edward I is briefly held prisoner here.
1265Countess Eleanor de Montfort
After de Montfort is killed in battle his wife, Eleanor, leads the defence of Dover, holding out with 29 archers. She is forced to surrender to Prince Edward when he brings troops from London.
1520Fit for an Emperor
On 25 May the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, arrives at Dover for a meeting with Henry VIII. The emperor probably stays in the great tower.
1625-6Castle in Decline
Henrietta Maria, the teenage French princess, occupies the castle but is said to be 'poorly accommodated'. It is later refurbished by George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham.
The garrison of 20 remains loyal to Charles I. A daring merchant called Drake and 11 men scale the cliffs and take the castle for Parliament, with few shots fired.
18th CenturyExpert Defences
England faces the threat of French invasion, so the defences are upgraded.
1793-1815Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
Huge sums are spent on the town and castle defences. Barracks are constructed in a complex of tunnels beneath the castle.
Major renovations take place again with the threat of invasion from Napoleon III.
The top floor of the Great Tower is furnished with displays of armour and opened to the public.
The church of St Mary in Castro, Roman lighthouse and Colton's Gate are transferred to the Ancient Monuments Branch of the Ministry of Works.
1939-45Second World War
The Napoleonic tunnels have a new role as naval and later combined services headquarters, where the Dunkirk evacuation is masterminded. Air attacks earn the area around Dover the nickname 'Hellfire Corner'.
1956End of Military Use
The castle's last gun batteries are scrapped.
After the Cuban Missile Crisis, the tunnels are renovated and equipped to serve as one of 12 regional seats of government in the event of nuclear war.
1963Care of the Nation
The castle is transferred to the Ministry of Works for preservation as an Ancient Monument.
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