Dover Museum and Bronze Age Boat

Dover museum

As the UK's closest point to mainland Europe, Dover has a long, fascinating maritime history and much of this can be seen in the modern Dover Museum. Situated in the town centre, it exhibits some of the most important findings from the area, including the 3,500 year old Bronze Age boat, the world's oldest known seagoing boat. The Bronze Age boat gallery with interactive exhibits is included in the admission price for the museum.

History of Dover

Known as the 'Lock and Key of England', Dover has always been an important town in British history, due to it's geographical location. Many notable historical figures have attempted to invade England via Dover, including Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, Napoleon and Hitler. That is why there is a strong presence of defence around the town, from the huge castle above the White Cliffs to the Roman and Napoleonic fort remains. The town was also pivotal in the country's defence during both World Wars.

The town's history can be traced as far back as the Stone Age, where farmers once lived along the River Dour. The first known shipwreck occurred just off of Dover, in the Bronze Age and the wooden vessel which was discovered in 1992 has became one of the most important maritime artefacts ever discovered.

Dover Bronze Age Boat

The museum is home to the Bronze Age Boat Gallery which lets customers explore the oldest seagoing boat ever discovered. The vessel is thought to be around 3,500 years old and, after having been through seven years of research and conservation, is now on display at the museum.

While building the A20 road into Dover back in 1992, the construction team came across the boat's wooden remains. They then worked alongside the Canterbury Archeological Trust to dig up the Bronze Age boat. It is now an internationally recognised artefact and a fantastic insight into life in Prehistoric Britain.


Along with all the exhibitions on show there are a number of facilities that you may use while in the museum. These include the museum shop, which sells a large range of souvenirs and local history materials. There is a research library with archives from the Dover area, open Monday to Friday by appointment only. A photographic service is also on offer, where the museum will provide prints, scans and transparencies of objects for home study.

There are a number of events put on at the museum throughout the year, including family days which are suitable for children of all ages and admission is free.