Discover Charles Dickens guided tour
13th June 2021
Rochester History Walking Tours presents this guided tour discovering Charles Dickens.
Rochester and Charles Dickens will be forever linked, thanks to his drawing heavily on real buildings, locations and people in and around the former city. Charles Dickens spent his formative years living with his family at 2 Ordnance Terrace (now 11 Ordnance Terrace) in Chatham, little more than a mile from Rochester High Street. He and his family would have come shopping in what is now a unique High Street with over 90% independent retailers - much as it was in Dickens day.
But, in 1855 and by then a World-famous author, he discovered by chance that a house he remembered seeing on a walk with his father when he was 9 years old, was up for sale. That was Gads Hill Place, three miles away in Higham. He bought it and, after a considerable amount of modernisation, he moved in with his family in the summer of 1857. He spent his remaining years, when he wasn't travelling, enjoying life as a country gentleman near to the city he loved.
As a result of his love for this area, he set some of his best-known works here: Sketches by Boz, Pickwick Papers, Great Expectations, and his last, and unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood in which Rochester plays a 'starring role' as the fictional ancient city of Cloisterham.
Join top-rated local guide and Dickens historian, Shane Waterman, on a journey around the key buildings featured in Dickens works: The Blue Boar Inn and Satis House from Great Expectations; The Six Poor Travellers House from his 1854 Christmas story, The Seven Poor Travellers; John Jaspers Gatehouse and many more from The Mystery of Edwin Drood. We'll also visit Dickens surprise Christmas present which he received on Christmas Eve 1864.
Shane will also tell you the story of the day Dickens was last seen in public before he died and retracing his steps - a story that took over a hundred and forty years to finally come together!
The walk is suitable for all ages from age 10 (school Year 6) with no upper limit. The route is accessible to all levels of fitness and mobility, and is wheelchair accessible.
Tours take place every Saturday and Sunday 11am and 2pm, departing from outside the main gates of Rochester Cathedral. Tickets must be bought online in advance.
£7 per person