Port and resort on the southeast coast of Kent, England, 10 km/6 mi southwest of Dover; population (2001) 45,300. There are passenger ferry and SeaCat (high-speed catamaran) connections with Boulogne, France, and to the northwest of the town is the British terminal of Eurotunnel, which offers a high-speed train link through the Channel Tunnel to Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, for private and haulage traffic.
The physician William Harvey, who discovered the circulation of blood, was born here in 1578; his statue stands on the cliff top.
The Eurotunnel Exhibition Centre illustrates the building of the Channel Tunnel. To the east of the town is the East Cliff and the Warren, a chalk landslip basin between high cliffs, rich in fossil remains. Many of the town's buildings date from the 19th century, reflecting its development as a resort following the arrival of the railway in the mid 19th century. The Leas is a long promenade above the beach along the cliff top. The original fishing quarter and harbour has some of the town's oldest buildings, and is now a popular yachting and cruising venue. There is a racecourse, and the Leas Cliff Hall (1927) is used for concerts and conferences. The town suffered considerable damage during World War II.
The first nunnery in England was established here in 630 by St Eanswythe, grand-daughter of Ethelbert, the first Christian king of Kent. The Early English and Perpendicular church of St Mary and St Eanswythe was built just west of the site of the nunnery.
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