Dickens' character Mrs Gamp
St James' Church, Cooling
Dickensian Characters in Rochester
Dickens' Swiss Chalet at Eastgate Gardens
Swiss Chalet
Eastgate House, Rochester
© Simon Kelsey
Dickens' character Scrooge
Restoration House, Rochester

Dickensian Medway

In 2020, Medway will be commemorating the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens with a series of events and activities taking place between the 10-14 June and the opening of an exciting new gallery dedicated to the author at the Guildhall Museum.

Charles Dickens moved to the area when he was five and spent a happy childhood around Chatham.  His father, John, a clerk in the Royal Navy pay office, was transferred to Chatham Dockyard in 1817.

Dickens' most impressionable childhood days were spent in Medway and it was the place he found inspiration for some of his work's greatest characters and settings.  Many of the buildings found on Rochester's historic high street carry plaques detailing how the author incorporated them into his novels.  A gentle stroll around local sites and graveyards will reveal where he found the names of many of his characters.  

Discover more about the life and times of the author at the Guildhall Museum's Dickens Discovery Room where you will find authentic Dickens-related objects on display and can watch a short film on the author's connections with the area.

Eastgate House is an exceptional Grade I listed building and in the gardens the author's Swiss Chalet can be found.  The chalet was a present to Dickens from his French actor friend and was used by the author as his study at Gad's Hill Place, near Rochester.  Other attractions to visit in Rochester associated with the author that feature in his work include Restoration House, the Six Poor Travellers House and Rochester Cathedral.

The best way to explore Rochester and its Dickensian connections is with a local guide.  The City of Rochester Society offer free 90-minute walking tours (April to October) on selected days.  There is no need to pre-book, just turn up and enjoy the tour.

Costumed guided walking tours are available with Footsteps in Time for pre-booked groups. Some of Dickens' most famous characters, including Nancy, the 'tart with the heart' will escort you around Rochester pointing out the places of inrterest that featured in the works of Dickens.

Dickens was not only famous for his classic books but also his ghost stories.  A Christmas Carol being the most popular and The Signalman the eeriest.  On the last Sunday of each month join Count Von Dickens on a haunted ghost tour around Rochester.   

A self-guided walking trail with map 'In Dickens' Footsteps' is available from Medway Visitor Information Centre for only £1.


In Dickens' footsteps

Things to see and do