17 Jul Rochester… one of Kent’s best kept secrets.
Rochester… one of Kent’s best kept secrets.
With its cobbled streets, riverside setting, quaint architecture and historic background, Rochester makes for an extremely interesting place to visit. The Victorian charm in this Medway town is clear for all to see, prime examples include the decorative lamp posts, large pavements and attractive building designs.
There is so much to see and do in Rochester, whether it is strolling along the cobbled streets and grabbing a unique collectable in one of the many antique shops or enjoying an afternoon tea at the 18th century deanery.
Visiting the castle is an absolute must while you are there; it is a fine example of Norman architecture and has been well preserved. It is also reaped in history, having been involved in a major battle in 1215, left for 11 years before being renovated and once again being involved in a further battle in 1264. The castle is thought to be haunted by a previous tenant, Lady Blanche, who was accidentally killed by her fiancé during the battle in 1264 in which she ended up with an arrow through her heart. The ghost of Lady Blanche has been spotted at the castle on the anniversary of her death.
If these kinds of story interest you and don’t put a chill up your spine, the organised ghost tours are also a must for you.
The cathedral is a stunning medieval masterpiece that has been around since 604AD, it is actually the second oldest one in the whole of England. The cathedral shows great examples of Norman architecture and decor, which makes this a truly beautiful and awe-inspiring place to see.
If you are looking for unusual gifts, shops and cafes, they are here by the plenty; you will not find the usual high street stores but rather independent one off stores, with their own individual charms.
There are 2nd hand bookshops, a wide array of craft shops with the latest hand made crafts, cafes selling a wide selection of home made cakes, including the all time favourite; custard tarts, Danish pastries, doughnuts and many more mouth watering creations, as well as freshly made baguettes and light lunches.
Charles Dickens the novelist is heavily linked to Rochester due to him living nearby in Higham and often frequenting to Rochester. It is possible to see many of the establishments that Dickens used as inspiration for his novels, such as The Six Poor Travellers almshouses (which were inspiration for Dickens short story ‘The Seven Poor Travellers’) Restoration house and gardens (that was used in his novel ‘Great Expectations’ as Satis House) and the Elizabethan mansion that starred in his Dickens novel ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’.
Throughout the year there are many exciting organised events, ranging from farmers markets with all their colourful and fresh produce, to festivals with parades, such as the Dickensian summer festival and even a variety of concerts to suit all tastes that are perfectly staged in the castle gardens.
There are plentiful lodgings to accommodate you, ranging from family run B&B’s to high street hotels.
For dining there is a large choice, you can eat in a traditional local tavern or opt for a more modern approach and eat in one of the many bistros that can be found.
If Rochester sounds like your cup of tea, start planning your trip to visit now, but ssshhhh don’t tell anyone about this hidden gem, otherwise it won’t be a secret for long.
Kim Kashmere writes for an expat community blog that provides calling cards to Italy and Swiss calling
cards. As well as writing she enjoys Travelling, Photography and Walking with her Husband and Dogs.