1,000 years of history in 1 day
Rochester has much more to offer than just the Cathedral. There really is something for everyone, making it the perfect day out. It's really easy to get to Rochester by road, bus and train. Did you know we are just over 35 minutes from London by train?
For history lovers there is the magnificent Rochester Castle with the tallest Norman keep in the country. It was the site of a bloody siege by King John during the Bishops' War in 1215 after he signed the Magna Carta. There are two brilliant museums on the historic high street. The free Guildhall Museum tells the story of Rochester as well as the life of Charles Dickens. Rochester is also home to Britain's only museum of Huguenot history located just above the Visitor Centre. All the attractions have a wonderful programme of events and family activities throughout the year.
One of England's most famous authors, Charles Dickens, lived just outside Rochester at Gad's Hill for many years. He loved Rochester and set several of his stories here. Fans of Dickens will recognise many of his buildings as they walk around the town. The impressive Restoration House played a starring role as Miss Havisham's Satis House in Great Expectations. Visitors can also see the writing chalet of Charles Dickens in the gardens by the Elizabethan Eastgate House. It was in this chalet that he wrote much of his most famous novels including Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. Rochester was disguised as Cloisterham in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Dickens' famously unfinished last novel. Rochester Cathedral itself plays a starring role along with many other buildings in the town. Rochester also has the largest secondhand bookshop in the country making it a perfect day trip for book lovers.
Rochester High Street is a great destination for shopping and dining. The buildings along the beautiful Dickensian high street have remained virtually unchanged for centuries. They are home to many independent shops and restaurants and are certainly worth exploring.