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7 Best Things to do in Rochester

by Robert Best on November 29, 2017
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things to do in rochester

Location, location, location. They say that is the key to business. Well, we certainly feel lucky to based in such a historic and picturesque part of the country.

Few areas of England have such a rich history. Medway itself is a group of towns with a powerful history and Rochester is the stand out part of that history.

We enjoy working in this part of Kent so much that we have put together a shortlist of the 7 best things to do in Rochester.

Rochester Cathedral

The most well-known landmark in Rochester is the Cathedral. Founded in 604 Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest Cathedral in England. Be sure to enjoy the Mystery Book Exhibition. It contains the Textus Roffensis, which is the only existing copy of the first code of English law. It was written in Rochester during the 1100's. Textus Roffensis has been described as one of the most important documents in English history and it influenced the wording of the Magna Carta.

The history of Rochester Cathedral is matched by it's breath-taking architecture. It dominates the view of Rochester and can be seen from miles away.

Rochester Castle

Just a stone's throw away from the Cathedral is Rochester Castle. Standing on the East bank of the River Medway, Rochester Castle is considered to be the best-preserved example of Norman architecture in England. Built in 1127 by William of Corbeil it towers over Rochester at 113 feet high.

During the late medieval period, the Castle helped protect the south-east coast of England from invasion. The Castle was rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I and remained an operable fortress well into the 16th century.

Learn about Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens spent many of his childhood years in the Medway area. Rochester was such an inspiration that it featured in his work more than any other city, including London. Buildings included in Dickens' work can still be seen today. In 'Great Expectations', Restoration House served as the home of Estella and Miss Havisham. Other buildings include The Poor Travellers House and the Guildhall Museum.

It's at the Guildhall Museum that visitors can learn about Dickens. During the summer, visitors to Rochester can take a self-guided walking tour to see the buildings the author featured in his novels.

Christmas in Rochester

Rochester has two special events on every year at Christmas time. For two weeks Rochester Castle plays host to a Christmas market. Buy and drink mulled wine, enjoy the smell of roasting chestnuts and browse the stalls stacked with quality gifts. Don't forget to sample some Christmas goodies from the local producers.

For a very special weekend you can see what Christmas would have looked like back in the days of Charles Dickens. As part of the Christmas market you can visit the Dickensian Christmas fair. The event celebrates the writers time in Medway. It includes lantern parades, carol singing and of course dressed up characters from Dickens' most popular books. 

Ghost Walks

Charles Dickens wrote many famous works and the most famous is 'A Christmas Carol'. Yes, it's a Christmas tale but its also another example of Dickens' use of ghost stories. The ancient ruins and spooky gravestones spread across Rochester inspired the writer, and that's the inspiration for Rochester's ghost walks.

On the last Sunday of every month you can take part in the Haunted Rochester Ghost Walk. The tour takes you by the many haunted buildings in Rochester and past the Castle, said to be haunted by the black monk and white lady. With so many ghost tales Rochester is believed to be one of the most haunted places in England. 

Guildhall Museum

The fine architecture of Rochester doesn't end with the Castle and Cathedral. Built in 1687, Rochester Guildhall is another prime example of the historic architecture that can be found in Kent.

In 1979 became the new host to a museum first founded in 1897 as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebration. The museum's highlights include civic silver and regalia from Medway's past, a Victorian drawing room and kitchen as well as the popular Dickens Discovery room. 

Fort Amherst

Built in 1756 to protect the Chatham dockyard and River Medway from French invasion, Fort Amherst is now a visitor attraction. During construction foundations of a Roman building were found, as well as Roman coins and other pieces of brick and tile. 

Since the 1980's plenty of hard work has been put into the restoration of the site. The work of the Fort Amherst Heritage Trust means visitors can now enjoy over 300 years of military history. Other attractions include, tours of the network of underground tunnels and the chance to explore the Fort and enjoy the excellent views.

Rochester is a city blessed with vibrant history and stunning architecture. Even as you wander the cobbled streets today the history bleeds out of each building.

The Castle and Cathedral sitting high on the bluff above the River Medway dominate the eye but the city itself still plays host to curling lanes, book shops and tales of Charles Dickens.

Live in Rochester? Join the conversation below and tell us your favourite parts. 

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