The day was grey and cloudy but I was determined to venture out to explore Rochester. Only about 45 minutes away from where I live, Rochester is a small city with a lot of personality, and probably most known for inspiring Charles Dickens and being featured in many of his works.
My first stop was the Castle. Visiting the Castle was my main reason to visit the city, as I really love castles, and I was so excited. For £6.40 I spent about 45 minutes exploring the ruins of this once powerful castle, and learning all about the history behind it. As I was there as soon as it opened, I shared the castle with only a couple of people and was able to explore to my heart’s content.
The next place on my ‘to visit’ list was directly opposite from the castle: the cathedral. Even though I’m not necessarily religious, I love visiting churches and cathedrals and I loved Rochester Cathedral. The second oldest in the country, Rochester Cathedral features many different designs from different time periods, and has been a continuous place of worship since 604 AD. I was there for the Royal Marines’ Prayer, which was very moving.
After visiting the museum, I wandered down to the tourist information centre to find out what else there was to see in Rochester, and there was a museum right there! For £4 I explored the Huguenot Museum, a museum dedicated to explaining the story of refugee French Protestants. The museum had so much information and I really enjoyed it, but it was very small and I wished there was more.
After visiting the museum, I had lunch at a cute Charles Dickens themed tearoom named Tiny Tim’s and I was off to explore the high street!
Wandering down the high street, I found not just one but two historic places to visit that I had not heard about. The first one was the Six Poor Traveller’s House. This building was a charity house to provide lodgings for travellers and was active until the Second World War. There is also a beautiful garden attached, and it was a lovely surprise to find in the centre of town.
The last place I visited was Eastgate House. A former city mayor’s house, this building was been through many lives as a museum, a schoolhouse and a home, and is now open to the public. I saw an exhibition about solving Charles Dickens’ famously unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood which was interesting, but mostly ashed over me as I am not familiar with the text. The building itself is absolutely beautiful and is Grade I listed, so it’s pretty unique!
I was inspired to visit Rochester after seeing photos of it linked to Southeastern’s tourism campaign, and I would definitely agree that Rochester is one of Kent’s hidden gems.
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