hastings and dover


for christmas, i gave the boy a joint english heritage membership. this means that the two of us can enjoy free entry to hundreds of historical sites around the green and pleasant land this year. we decided to christen our membership with visits to the 1066 battle of hastings abbey and battlefield and dover castle last weekend. we decided that even though it was preeeetty chilly exploring these places, it’s fantastic to visit in the winter because there were zero crowds! it’s amazing to think about the incredible history of his land, while standing right in the middle of its relics!

here’s ian backgrounded by the locale of one of the most influencial european battles ever fought in 1066 in hastings (he lost his hat at beachy head so he got to wear mine with its pom-pom!):
we wandered through the ruins of the abbey that was built on the battle site. it is so beautiful! the ceilings (how the heck did they build those sooo long ago?!) are so remarkably well preserved!
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learning about the normans and how battles went down about a thousand years ago:
exploring the remnants of the crypt:
here’s the spot where king harold died:
we liked exploring the abbey grounds, full of pretty suprises like this archway … and then we headed to dover castle!:
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dover castle, built in the 11th century, has had a role in history thoughout the ages. we started our exploring with a tour of the underground hospital that was used during world war two, and then kind of went back in time learning about other parts of the fortress that were used for defence in different ways throughout the ages.
the inside of the castle is so much cooler than i expected! i loved how bright and colourful it is:
views from the top tower of the castle:
we went to see the world-famous white cliffs of dover just as the sun was setting, and emphatically agreed that the beachy head cliffs are far superior scenery. but so much history is tied to dover’s coast! we could see france across the channel, and the ferry terminal is right in front of the castle down the way from the white cliffs.

that year-long christmas gift is already well worth its purchase! there’s soooo much to see in england, and so much history to learn about. it’s going to be a fun year!


  1. Love these posts with all kinds of historical goodness! Living vicariously through other people is all I can do for now until we can travel ourselves. ;)

  2. I have just finished reading Phillipa Gregory's historical novels about the cousins wars and Henry VIII wives. These pictures make me visualize a lot of what was described there. Love it!

  3. Be sure to go over to Normandy (fabulous WWII site)to Bayeux and see the Bayeux Tapestry depicting the Battle of Hastings in crewel embroidery. It is so fabulous.
    I love reading of your adventures - you make me want to seize the day and not be so bound by my weekend chores!

  4. I love early British History and literature. I can't wait to explore some of those places soon :)

  5. I spent the day yesterday at the Legion of Honor and then Ocean Beach. My heart is so happy to be where I am, but this reeeeeally makes me wish I lived in England, too. I think I need a summer home in London.