Houses of History
Each house of history has its own story to tell, from the rich and famous, Kings and Queens, heroic men of war and one of Britain’s best loved novelists and story- teller, Charles Dickens.
Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in England and has been a place of worship and prayer for over 1,400 years. The glorious Norman architecture of the nave and parts of the crypt, as well as one of the finest Romanesque facades in England, make it an inspirational place to visit. Audio- visual tours in several languages bring to life the untold stories of its stones.
As you wander through historic Rochester, a cluster of historic houses of history can be found. Eastgate House a delightful Elizabethan house, which is of great architectural and historic significance, built in 1590 for Sir Peter Buck, once Alderman and Mayor for the City of Rochester and Clerk to the Cheque at Chatham Dockyard. The house featured in the works of Charles Dickens as a school for young ladies and in the author’s unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. In the gardens of the house stands Dickens’ Swiss Chalet, used by the author as his study at his home at Gad’s Hill Place.
Just a short stroll from Eastgate is Restoration House, an imposing red-brick city mansion, so named after Charles II stayed here on the eve of his restoration to the throne. It was also used as the home of Miss Havisham and Estella in Dickens’ Great Expectations. The house and gardens are open to the public on selected days during the summer.
In the heart of Rochester’s historic High Street stands the Six Poor Travellers House – a charity founded property immortalised by Dickens in one of Christmas short stories.
A few doors away from the house is La Providence, a delightful Victorian square with properties with accommodation to provide homes for people of Huguenot descent. You can discover more on the Huguenot's at the Huguenot Museum located inside the Visitor Information Centre.
Things to see and do