Skip to main content
  1. Home
  2. Plan Your Visit
  3. Car Free Days around Medway
rochester castle and boley hill.jpg

Historic Rochester


Historic Rochester

Swiss Chalet 3

Historic Rochester


Historic Rochester

Upnor_Castle_with gardens.jpg

Historic Rochester

On this page, we cover the attractions in and near historic Rochester.

Historic Rochester, with its Norman castle, was a place cherished by the Victorian novelist Charles Dickens, who lived in the area as a child and returned as a successful author.  

Historic Buildings

With history dating back centuries, there is so much to see and do in the historic city itself. Explore the stunning Rochester Cathedral, founded in 604 and the second oldest in England. Enjoy the breathtaking views from the top of one of the tallest keeps in the country, the magnificent Rochester CastleBuilt on the highest part of Rochester’s Roman city wall to defend the crossing of the River Medway. Close by and visible from the top of the castle keep is Temple Manor, a 13th-century lodging house that was used by the Knights Templar on their crusades to the Holy Land.

Upnor Castle is situated on the banks of the River Medway. It was built on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 as a gun fort to defend her warships at anchor in the reaches of the Medway and Chatham dockyard. 

Footsteps of Dickens

Dickens’ most impressionable childhood days were spent in Medway. Historic Rochester inspired the author so much that he featured it in his work more than any city, other than London.  Many of the buildings that featured in the works of Dickens can still be seen today on a self-guided walking tour. Leaflet with map available for £1 from Medway Visitor Information Centre.

These include Restoration House, used in Dickens’ novel ‘Great Expectations’ as the home of Estella and Miss Havisham, The Six Poor Travellers House, immortalised by the author in a Christmas short story and the impressive Guildhall Museum on local history. Nearby is Eastgate House a grade I listed building that featured in the works of Dickens and in the gardens visitors can view the author's chalet that was once sited at his home at Gad's Hill Place in Higham.

Explore the High Street

When visiting Rochester, it's worth making the Medway Visitor Information Centre your first port of call. Here you will find information on local attractions, maps, souvenirs and much more, including an art gallery and Huguenot Museum on the first floor.

During the summer months, visitors can explore the city on foot with a local guide or they can literally follow in the footsteps of Dickens’ on a self-guided walking tour and see the buildings he wrote about in his works (leaflet available with map) from the Medway Visitor Information Centre in the High Street.

The High Street is also packed with quaint, independent shops and a great range of cafes and restaurants. For places to eat and drink in Medway, visit this link.

To find your way around Rochester and Medway, download our visitor map.

Special events and festivals are held in Rochester every year.

Attractions distance guide from Rochester and Strood train stations

Local Bus Services serving Rochester

There are many bus stops in and around Rochester. Rochester is well served by local bus routes, as follows (some Arriva routes may be serviced by alternative operators as from 27 August 2023):

  • 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 or

Top Things to See & Do

Medcouncil Cmykstrapline
Visit Medway
Official website of Visit Medway, Medway Council
Our Destinations
Official website of Visit Medway, Medway Council