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Holidays in Rochester

Famous home to author Charles Dickens, and the country’s second oldest Cathedral

UK | South Coast | Kent | Rochester
Rochester Castle and Cathedral

Rochester is a large Medway town in Kent. Many people visit the town for Rochester Castle and the country’s second oldest Cathedral – built in 604. It was also home to the literary colossus Charles Dickens who was born and then died in the town. Places in the area of Rochester, Gillingham and Chatham, made famous by his books are still around today waiting to be discovered. There are frequent tours that include highlights such as the Six Poor Traveller’s House and Miss Haversham’s home, Restoration House. The Guildhall Museum is alive with interactive Dickens exhibits, while Baggins Book Bazaar, one of England's largest second hand bookshops, is a haven for bookworms.

Non-literary history in Rochester is just as rich. The towering keep of Rochester Castle is one of the tallest in the country; Rochester Cathedral is England's second oldest, built in 604. The dramatic exhibits at the Historic Dockyard Chatham. include a climb-on-board Victorian Sloop, a WWII destroyer and a Cold War submarine. In Gillingham, the compelling Royal Engineers Museum reveals an absorbing heritage, while Fort Amherst is Britain's largest remaining Napoleonic fortress.

“Book ahead at Rochester Cathedral to see one of the world’s oldest doors…”

Rochester Castle was built at an important crossing of the River Medway. The castle has seen many battles and experienced destruction and restructure over the centuries. Originally built by the Normans in 1127. The Castle is well known for the siege of 1215 when rebel barons were cut-off and starved by King John. The Castle is now managed by English Heritage and makes for a great family day out.

The fort is matched by the ancient which has been standing for nearly 1500 years. The Cathedral is a place of historical interest and pilgrimage. The pilgrim’s steps still remain where people come to pay respects to the murdered William of Perth in the 13th century. Modern pilgrims come to light a candle at the oratory for him. Elsewhere in the Cathedral is the St John the Baptist fresco by Sergei Fyodorov, the first to be painted inside a church in over 800 years. Also book to see one of the oldest hinged doors in the world. Rochester Cathedral, For evening entertainment Rochester has a good selection of pubs and restaurants. If you want to see some live entertainment, the Medway Little Theatre has a varied programme of events - the town also has a multiplex cinema.

Rochester Castle

Walkers in the region can enjoy the long distance trail, the Saxon Shore Way. From the White Cliffs of Dover to the estuaries of the River Thames and Medway. Along the trail there are great views over Romney Marsh along an escarpment that follows the former coastline between Folkestone and Rye. This is the country where invading forces like the Romans, Saxons, and Normans came ashore, and it’s well worth a good walk.

While you’re there

The Historic Dockyard at Chatham

The Historic Dockyard is a super day out for all the family with several ships and tons of artefacts throughout the site. For those that don’t get to see a submarine or war ship every day, this is a must-visit.

Rochester Castle

Visit one of the most famous castle ruins in the UK. It is the site of the Siege of 1215 where several barons took a stand against the formidable King John. The site is now managed by English Heritage.

Rochester Cathedral

Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest in the country, first built in 606. Open to visitors there are any interesting aspects to this well revered place of pilgrimage.

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