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Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival

3rd December - 4th December 2022

Step back in time and start the festive season in Dickensian style.

Step back in time and start the festive season in Dickensian style at the popular Rochester Dickensian Christmas festival taking place on Saturday, 3 and Sunday, 4 December. 

Each year, the first weekend of December brings Victorian festivities to Rochester in the form of a Dickensian Christmas, where you can experience street entertainment, readings, song and dance.

You’ll be captivated by Dickens’ characters as you explore the literary journey that was the great writer’s life.

A full programme of colourful and lively events will be published nearer the time, but below are some of our festival highlights...

Festival Highlights
Taking place on Saturday & Sunday

Seven Poor Travellers Procession at 11am

Led from outside the Guildhall Museum, the procession will move along the High Street and conclude outside the Seven Poor Travellers House, next to the Medway Visitor Information Centre, where a short speech will be made by Charles Dickens, followed by the carving of the Christmas turkey.

 

Main Parade at 12noon

Led by the Mayor of Medway, Councillor Jan Aldous, the parade of costumed characters will start at Almon Place, travel the length of High Street to Boley Hill Stage.

The Candlelit Parade at 4.45pm

A spectacular parade of costumed characters and street performers will begin on the High Street near Almon Place, proceed down the High Street, turn left at Northgate into Boley Hill, and end near the stage. 

Carols for Christmas at 5pm

As dusk starts to fall, come and join in the Christmassy open air concert outside Rochester's magnificent cathedral on Boley Hill.

This year, we welcome the Rochester Choral Society Choir as they lead the magical concert.  Join the BAE Systems Brass Band and all the festival performers in a selection of popular Christmas carols. 

Eastgate Christmas Village from 10am-5pm

This year sees an exciting new feature of the annual Dickensian Christmas Festival.
 
Eastgate Christmas Village will be located in the historic Eastgate Quarter of Rochester between Blue Boar Lane and Star Hill.
 
The village will feature two days of live entertainment on a large stage; local, affordable street food from some of the Quarter's best restaurants; and, best of all, the official festival Santa's Grotto, which will appear overnight in time for the first day at Kiss the Bride, 170 High Street.
  
Come along and join us for some great music and entertainment, food, and a few surprises! For the entertainment at Eastgate Village Stage, click here.

Dickensian Christmas Festival Programme

Click here for a copy of the festival programme.

You can also obtain a printed version from the Medway Visitor Information Centre and event stewards working at various locations during the festival.

  • Visiting by Coach

    If you are visiting the festival by coach or minibus, please pre-book your parking space by Tuesday, 1 November by downloading the coach booking formThe booking system has now closed.

  • Visiting by Car

    As town centre parking in Rochester will be extremely limited during the Dickensian Christmas Festival. We strongly advise visitors to use the park and ride service, which will operate from the University of Greenwich, adjacent to The Historic Dockyard Chatham between 9am-6pm on both days of the festival. For further details on P&R, click here.

    To help plan your journey visit www.traveline.info 

  • Blue Badge Parking

    Blue Badge spaces are available in all public pay and display car parks. Please note, for car parks operating ANPR camera systems, blue badge holders will need to register their vehicle in advance to qualify for free parking and must continue to display your badge when parked.

    For the Christmas Markets and Dickensian Christmas weekend, additional on street blue badge parking spaces are provided on the Esplanade (beneath the castle wall). These spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.

    For further details on blue badge parking in Medway, please visit Medway Council's website.

  • Visiting by Bus

    There are many bus stops in and around Rochester, and Rochester is well served by bus routes.

    • From Chatham: Arriva- 133, 140, 141, 190, 191, (193 Sundays) 700;Nu-Venture 151, 174, ASD 173,197
    • From Gravesend: Arriva 190  
    • From West Malling, Halling and Cuxton: Nu Venture 151  
    • From Grain, Hoo: Arriva 191 (193 Sundays)

    Full timetable details are available at www.medway.gov.uk/buses or www.traveline.info

  • Visiting by Train

    The easiest and quickest way to visit Rochester is by train. Rochester Train Station is roughly a two-minute walk from the high street. Strood Train Station is under a 10-minute walk. Please use the 'Live' trains timetable below or visit South Eastern Trains website to plan your journey.

Tickets and Pricing

FREE

Days and times

  • Saturday, 3 & Sunday, 4 December
    10am - 6pm
Medcouncil Cmykstrapline
Visit Medway
Official website of Visit Medway, Medway Council
Our Destinations
Official website of Visit Medway, Medway Council