Town mouse on a tour of historic buildings

Off we went on Saturday to see Dover Castle. On the journey down, I told the children how it’s always been a symbol of Britain’s indomitable spirit, its clifftop position ensuring that our toughness and intrepid nature were broadcast to any vessel using the English Channel. Imagine, then, my chagrin to find, after a drive of two hours, that it was closed indefinitely.

The reason? Snow. Although it wasn’t actually snowing, there was snow on the ground, and presumably English Heritage felt that anyone following in the footsteps of the ancient garrison would have risked taking a purler. But the National Trust managed to keep open its White Cliffs visitor centre next door. It didn’t seem to worry about visitors slithering off the heights and into the port of Dover below. EH 0, NT 1, I think.

We went on to Canterbury Cathedral, the centre of religious life in England, and, having handed over more than £16, were graciously allowed to go in. We weren’t there very long, but I have to admit it was worth it. They’ve taken the chairs out of the nave, so you can experience the space as it would have been in the Middle Ages. And, late on a cold February afternoon, there were virtually no tourists. Not such a bad day after all.