Dover

The legendary White Cliffs
The medieval St Mary-in-Castro Church
The Great Tower

Find Northern Europe Cruises

Dover/London

As far as the eye can see

When your MSC cruise takes you to Dover, by far the most interesting of the port’s attractions is the castle. Also not to be missed is a walk along the legendary White Cliffs, which dominate the town and have long been a source of inspiration for lovers, travellers and soldiers sailing off to war.
 
It was in 1168, a century after the Conquest, that the Normans constructed the keep that now presides over the bulk of Dover Castle, a superbly positioned defensive complex that was in continuous use as a military installation until the 1980s. Much earlier, the Romans had put Dover on the map when they chose the harbour as the base for their northern fleet, and erected a lighthouse here to guide the ships into the river mouth.

Beside the chunky hexagonal remains of this stands a Saxon-built church, St Mary-in-Castro, dating from the seventh century. Further up the hill is the impressive, well-preserved Great Tower, built by Henry II as a palace. Inside, Henry’s opulent royal court has been painstakingly re-created; everything from the pots and pans in the kitchen to the tapestries in the Kings Chamber has been meticulously researched and reproduced using, where possible, the materials and methods of the time.

Forty miles north-west of Dover, MSC Northern Europe cruises also offer excursions to Leeds Castle, which more closely resembles a fairy-tale palace than a defensively efficient fortress. Work on the castle began around 1120, half on an island in the middle of a lake and half on the mainland surrounded by landscaped parkland.

Following centuries of regal and noble ownership (and, less glamorously, service as a prison) the castle now hosts conferences and sporting and cultural events, while the grounds hold a fine aviary with some superb and colourful exotic specimens, as well as manicured gardens and a mildly challenging maze.

Must see places in Dover

Discover our excursions

7 results found

  • THE WHITE CLIFFS WALK (approx. 4.5
    hours)

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE
    • Limited seats

    • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

      Difficulty Level
      Strenuous

    • Duration
      4:30 h

    • Adults$50Price per person

    • Children$36Price per person

    DOV08

    Dover is famous for its white cliffs, which stand guard at the gateway to England; these famous chalk faces have been immortalized in song, literature and art. Composed of millions of small sea creatures and coral from the bottom of the sea, the chalk is soft and easily worn away by waves, so the cliffs are continuously eroding. Your tour will take you along the cliff tops, with an informative introduction to the surrounding coastline and a trip to the White Cliffs visitors' centre. A 1.5-hour walk along the downland path will offer spectacular views and ample opportunity to take pictures - so be sure to take your camera. On a clear day, you can even see the cliffs of the French coast! The walk will also take you to the South Foreland Lighthouse. The view from the lighthouse balcony is well worth the 73-step ascent as it looks out over a wonderful panorama of East Kent, the English Channel and the North Sea. Please note: as this tour involves almost 3 hours of walking to and from the lighthouse on uneven ground, it is not recommended for guests with walking difficulties. Guides are available in English only.
  • CANTERBURY (approx. 4.5 hours)

    CITY TOUR
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour - Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4:30 h

    • Adults$80Price per person

    • Children$58Price per person

    DOV02

    Look forward to a day out in medieval Canterbury, one of England's most venerable cities. This is the setting of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Canterbury offers a unique blend of medieval atmosphere and modern amenities. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century and your guide will provide a historical overview of the details on this famous edifice, and you can then look around inside. You will have free time at your disposal to explore this lovely city at your own pace before the tour concludes by returning you to the port and your ship. We recommend you take your camera to take some snapshots for your family album. Please note: the entrance ticket to the cathedral is included in the price of the tour but you will visit the cathedral on your own without a guide. Conservative attire is recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
  • LONDON ON YOUR OWN (7 hours, lunch not
    included)

    CITY TOUR
    • No guide available

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      7 h

    • Adults$76Price per person

    • Children$58Price per person

    DOV10

    Whether you've already seen the sights of London or fancy a more independent day off the ship, this unguided tour is ideal for those who wish to sightsee on their own, who like shopping or are keen to explore Britain's wonderful capital city at their leisure and their own pace. After leaving the port, a two-hour coach transfer will take you to the heart of London and drop you off close to the main shopping areas and key tourist attractions. London's fantastic public transport system, which naturally includes the iconic tube, will then speed you to wherever you want to go. There is certainly no shortage of things to do. London's museums are always a pleasure to visit, as are its many art galleries, for instance The Tate Britain and The Tate Modern. Or perhaps you might want to immerse yourself in the enjoyable hubbub of Covent Garden, London's former fruit and vegetable market and home both to the Royal Opera House and a plethora of interesting shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants. Not surprisingly, it is an extremely popular shopping and tourist destination. A trip to Kensington will take you to what is arguably the world's most famous department store, Harrods - a must-see on any London itinerary. Have your camera at the ready to capture all the amazing sights that London has to offer. Your day out in London will draw to a close in the afternoon with your return to Dover and your vessel.
  • LONDON PANORAMA (7 hours, lunch not
    included)

    CITY TOUR
    • Shopping

    • Best seller

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      7 h

    • Adults$94Price per person

    • Children$69Price per person

    DOV01

    A 2-hour coach drive will take you to London and meet your guide. Enjoy a sightseeing tour around one of the greatest cities of the world, the capital city of the United Kingdom. If you are new to the city, this day out is a great way to immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of "The Big Smoke”, covering the main attractions in a grand sightseeing circuit. With its iconic red buses and friendly "bobbies”, magnificent churches and down-to-earth pubs, our excursion will take in the key attractions including Buckingham Palace, London Bridge and Westmister Abbey. Get some snaps of the neo-Gothic Parliament buildings located majestically on the banks of the River Thames and see the landmark clock tower of Big Ben. You will also have free time for lunch (not included) and world-class shopping opportunities. The return to the port will be unguided. Please note: this tour is not available for guests onboard MSC Magnifica.
  • CANTERBURY & WALMER CASTLE (7 hours,
    lunch not included)

    CULTURE AND HISTORY
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour - Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      7 h

    • Adults$98Price per person

    • Children$58Price per person

    DOV09

    A short journey from Dover through the county of Kent, known as the "Garden of England”, will take you to the historical and picturesque city of Canterbury for an enjoyable sightseeing tour. Famed for its cathedral and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this city on the River Stour is situated in one of the most attractive corners of this rural county. The wealth of Canterbury was brought in by pilgrims who, in medieval times, flocked to the city to visit the shrine of Thomas Becket, the former Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered in the cathedral in 1170. After a brief guided walk through the city, you will have some free to visit the imposing Norman cathedral, have lunch (not included in the price of the excursion) or simply stroll around this lovely English city. Re-board your coach for the afternoon leg to Walmer Castle. Originally built during the reign of Henry VIII as part of a chain of coastal artillery defences against Catholic attack from Europe, Walmer Castle has evolved over time into an elegant residence. A circular keep surrounded by an open courtyard and protected by a concentric wall stands at the centre of Walmer Castle. After visiting the castle, the tour will conclude with your return to Dover and your vessel. Please note: the entrance ticket to Canterbury Cathedral is not included in the price of the excursion. The guide will give explanation only outside the Castle; guests will visit the site individually. Conservative attire is recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
  • LEEDS CASTLE  (approx. 4.5 hours)

    CULTURE AND HISTORY
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour - Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4:30 h

    • Adults$80Price per person

    • Children$58Price per person

    DOV04

    Experience a taste of quintessentially historical England on this tour to Leeds Castle, one of the most romantic and ancient castles in the United Kingdom. The castle dates back to the 12th century, is surrounded by a moat and set in 500 acres of stunning landscaped gardens. Do remember to take your camera since this beautiful castle provides a wealth of material you might like to capture for posterity. The interior of the castle has been carefully restored and you will have an opportunity to view the castle's rooms and take a fantastic trip back in time admiring the medieval furnishings, paintings, tapestries and treasures of generations past. You will be given some free time to spend at your leisure before the tour concludes with your return to Dover.
  • MEDIEVAL RYE & COUNTRY DRIVE
    (approx. 4.5 hours)

    CULTURE AND HISTORY
    • Limited seats

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      4:30 h

    • Adults$65Price per person

    • Children$47Price per person

    DOV03

    Upon leaving the ship you will enjoy a scenic drive through the rural Sussex countryside, passing pastoral farmland, picturesque villages and small country towns on the way. As you drive through Tenterden, you might like to note the broad high street that is lined with shops and houses mostly sporting their original 16th- and 18th-century façades. You will then reach Rye, which was once surrounded by the sea and is now a thriving market town supported by fishing and pottery-making. You will enjoy a short visit to the Heritage Centre to view the beautifully-crafted model of the town. You will have some free time to explore the delights of this medieval town and discover Rye for yourself - and at your own pace. It is well worth taking your camera.

The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
 
Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

United Kingdom

God Save the Queen
God Save the Queen

The United Kingdom is not just one country but four – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and a multitude of cultural identities: God forbid you should call a Scot or a Welshman English for example.


Don’t miss the true London experience during your holiday to the United Kingdom; the capital is the one place that features on everyone’s itinerary. 

Brighton and Canterbury offer contrasting diversions – the former a lively seaside resort, the latter one of Britain’s finest medieval cities. 


The southwest of England holds the rugged moorlands of Devon, the rocky coastline of Cornwall, and the historic spa city of Bath, while the chief attractions of central England are the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge

Further north, the former industrial cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle are lively, rejuvenated places, and York has splendid historical treasures, but the landscape, especially the uplands of the Lake District, is the biggest magnet. 


The finest of Scotland’s lochs, glens and peaks, and the magnificent scenery of the West Coast islands, can be reached easily from Glasgow and Edinburgh – the latter perhaps Britain’s most attractive urban landscape. Finally, a cruise to the United Kingdom isn’t complete without a stop in Northern Ireland with its capital city Belfast and the spectacular Giant’s Causeway.