River Heritage

Meander on the Medway

The river continues to support an immensely diverse ecosystem, providing the perfect habitat for thousands of breeding and wintering birds. These birds are so important that the estuary is protected by both national and international designations.   

Along the river there is a fascinating array of yacht clubs, marinas and boatyards offering a wide range of mooring facilities. Boat owners can explore the estuary and experience the spectacular maritime attractions throughout Medway. Public pier access is available in Rochester and at Sun Pier Chatham.

During the summer months on board the Jacob Marley, Jetstream Tours offer river cruises, private charters and excursions from Rochester Pier, and a wet and wild experience on their high speed jet boats from Sun Pier. To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway in June, a special timetable will be available incorporating stops at Upnor Castle, Chatham and Rochester.

River trips, private hire charters for that special occasion are available from Medway Sailing, Edith May and Swanning About based at Chatham Marina.  

People have lived and worked on or around the river for thousands of years. As a result it is rich in both archaeological and historical remains including prehistoric droveways (used to move cattle); Roman pottery kiln sites, Anglo Saxon fish traps and numerous military installations going back centuries, and two historic dockyards.

Many defences can be seen from the river that were important to the dockyards, these include Upnor Castle, built on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I to protect the naval warships at Chatham and Fort Amherst situated on a hill built in 1756 to protect the dockyard from landward attack, and continued to serve this purpose up until the end of World War Two.   

Gillingham Pier is now home to Medway Queen.  During the Second World War the ship was requisitioned and converted to a minesweeper, initially operating out of Dover.    

In July, plenty of action on the river can be seen from Chatham Waterfront at the annual Medway River Festival.  This is a spectacular family event with activities on the river including races, floating processions; plus activities on the waterfront for the whole family to enjoy.    

Whether you are looking to relax in the glow of incredible beauty, or get active on water or land, the River Medway has something for everybody.

River Moorings  Jetstream Tours  Medway Sailing  Edith May Swanning About Upnor Castle The Historic Dockyard Chatham