Walk in Dickens' footsteps
The great writer Charles Dickens is one of Medway's proudest claims to fame.
Dickens' childhood years in Rochester and Chatham greatly influenced his future life and career, and it was his fondness for the area which later brought him back to live here as a global superstar.
Many of Dickens' characters and stories are set in the Medway area, but what do we really know about the man behind Great Expectations, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist?
The Making of Mr Dickens is a permanent exhibition at The Guildhall Museum in Rochester. Visitors can enjoy an exciting and immersive journey through Dickens’ life in Medway, while exploring the people and places which shaped his complex personal and public life and inspired him to create some of the best loved stories in English literature.
Dickens' most impressionable childhood days were spent in Medway and it was the place he found inspiration for some of his works' 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.
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 character tours are available from Medway Arts Tours. Groups can pre-book guided tours led by a costumed character – we offer both real people (famous and infamous) as well as fictional characters from the works of Charles Dickens – but all rooted in historical accuracy, illuminating a depth and breadth of knowledge of the towns. We operate tours around historic Rochester and Intra Chatham.
Join Stephen Moriarty on a costumed tour around historic Rochester. Entertaining costumed tours of Rochester in English or French. Learn how Charles Dickens' childhood informed his stories. Contemplate the eternal dilemmas with which life and society confront us, including Charles Dickens!