Dover is a port in East Kent, in the South East of England.
Dover has been a permanent settlement since at least the time of the Romans, who were the first to record its presence, giving it the name Dubris
. It also marked the start of Watling Street, a major Roman road. The Roman lighthouse built on the present-day site of
is one of the oldest buildings in Britain.
Today Dover is a major port town facing into the English Channel and, at just 21 miles from the French port of Calais, it is the closest port to continental Europe on mainland Britain. It is most famous for its
which have been celebrated in song.
Archeological finds have shown that there were Stone Age people in the area and that some Iron Age finds also exist. During the Roman period, the area became part of the Roman communications network. It was connected by road to Canterbury and Watling Street and it became Portus Dubris, a fortified port. Dover has a partly preserved Roman lighthouse (the tallest surviving Roman structure in Britain) and the remains of a villa with the only preserved Roman wall painting outside Italy. Dover later figured in the Domesday Book.
Forts were built above the port and lighthouses were constructed to guide passing ships. It is one of the Cinque Ports. and has served as a bastion against various attackers: notably the French during the Napoleonic Wars and Germany during the Second World War.
Geography and climate
Dover is in the south-east corner of Britain. From South Foreland, the nearest point to the European mainland, Cap Gris Nez is 34 kilometers (21 mi) away across the Strait of Dover.
The site of its original settlement lies in the valley of the River Dour, sheltering from the prevailing south-westerly winds. This has led to the silting up of the river mouth by the action of longshore drift. The town has been forced into making artificial breakwaters to keep the port in being. These breakwaters have been extended and adapted so that the port lies almost entirely on reclaimed land.
The higher land on either side of the valley – the Western Heights and the eastern high point on which Dover Castle stands – has been adapted to perform the function of protection against invaders. The town has gradually extended up the river valley, encompassing several villages in doing so. Little growth is possible along the coast since the cliffs are on the sea's edge. The railway, being tunneled and embanked, skirts the foot of the cliffs.
Dover has an oceanic climate (Koppen classification Cfb) similar to the rest of the United Kingdom with mild temperatures year-round and a light amount of rainfall each month. The warmest recorded temperature was 31 °C (88 °F) and the coldest was −8 °C (18 °F), but the temperature is usually between 3 °C (37 °F) and 21.1 °C (70.0 °F). There is evidence that the sea is coldest in February; the warmest recorded temperature for February was only 13 °C (55 °F), compared with 16 °C (61 °F) in January.