Latest Visitor News and Updates

Rochester Castle on the National Day of Reflection

Medway marks the National Day of Reflection

Published 24 March 2021

Medway's landmark buildings were illuminated yellow for the National Day of Reflection, marking a year since the start of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Rochester Castle, Rochester Cathedral, Rochester Bridge, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Brook Theatre were all awash with yellow light as the nation came together to pause and reflect on the losses, struggles and challenges of the last 12 months due to the global pandemic.

Rochester Cathedral also launched a Ribbons of Remembrance commemoration, encouraging people to tie a single ribbon to the railings outside the Cathedral or on the historic Catalpa tree as an act of remembrance and sign of hope. The ribbons will remain in place for 50 days.  

Rochester Food and Drink Awards 2021 - The results are in...

Published 15 March 2021

The winners have been announced in the Rochester Food & Drink Awards 2021.

With more than 49,000 votes cast across 14 categories, the winners and runners-up are as follows:

BEST FINE DINING RESTAURANT - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - Café Nucleus Rochester; Runner-up - Shozna

BEST CASUAL RESTAURANT - Sponsored by Tonic Communications
Winner - Chuck and Blade Burgers; Runner-up - The Cheese Room Deli & Café

BEST INTERNATIONAL RESTAURANT - Sponsored by Hairstyle Avenue
Winner - Shozna; Runner-up - Don Vincenzo

BEST PUB - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - The Dead Pigeon Pub; Runner-up - The Coopers Arms

BEST VEGAN MENU - Sponsored by Get Ready Comics
Winner - The Seaplane Works; Runner-up - Café Nucleus Rochester

BEST NEW OPENING - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - Chuck and Blade Burgers; Runner-up - Cheeky Clucker

BEST TAKEAWAY OR DELIVERY RESTAURANT - Sponsored by Clear Skin Laser Treatments
Winner - The Dead Pigeon Pub; Runner-up - Chuck and Blade Burgers

BEST BAR - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - The George Vaults; Runner-up - The Cheese Room Botanicals

BEST COCKTAIL LIST - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - Oliver’s Bar & Restaurant; Runner-up - Latino Joes

BEST CAFÉ OR COFFEE SHOP - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - The Cheese Room Deli & Café; Runner-up - Deaf Cat Coffee

BEST GARDEN OR TERRACE - Sponsored by New Openings Rochester
Winner - The George Vaults; Runner-up - Café Nucleus Rochester

BEST SHOP - Sponsored by Visit Rochester UK
Winner - The Cheese Room Deli & Café; Runner-up - Austen’s of Rochester

BEST SERVICE OR SUPPLIER - Sponsored by MOXY Property Consultants
Winner - Austen’s of Rochester; Runner-up - Naked Products Co.

BEST EVENT SPACE - Sponsored by Ginger Lily Florists
Winner - The George Vaults; Runner-up - The Vines of Rochester

The organisers of the awards have announced that they will be also be launching the Medway Food & Drink Awards taking place summer 2021. 

The Strand Lido

The Strand beach in the 1940s

The Strand – 125 year anniversary. Tell us your favourite memories

Published 9 March 2021

This year marks the 125 anniversary of The Strand since it first opened in June 1896.

The hugely popular Gillingham leisure park and its famous lido has brought joy to generations of families over the years. To celebrate, Medway Sport wants to hear your favourite memories of The Strand from years gone by, or your family photos which showcase the history of this iconic Medway attraction.

The best memories and photos as part of an exhibition to celebrate this very special anniversary later this year.

Perhaps you can remember your first visit to the park? or maybe memorable summers’ day at the lido?…maybe you shot an unbelievable hole in one on the crazy golf course…..or maybe you had a lovely family picnic on the beach that you look back on with a smile.

What’s your favourite memory? Tell us why you love The Strand and help us create a celebration of memories that will live on forever.

You can take part by sending us:

  • Pictures of The Strand from your family archives
  • Telling us your favourite memory

Send us your Strand 125 entry along with a picture (if you have one) to [email protected] by midnight on Sunday, 21 March.


Ami and Mark from Kits Coty Glamping

Top award for glamping site

Published 9 March 2021

Congratulations to Kits Coty Glamping on Blue Bell Hill which has won Gold in the Glamping Business of the Year category at the 2020/21 Beautiful South Awards.

The awards celebrate the cream of South East England’s tourism industry. Some 63 businesses and tourism professionals received Gold, Silver or Bronze awards at the virtual ceremony, with the Kits Coty site also picking up the Unsung Hero Award.  

Run by Tourism South East in partnership with Services for Tourism Ltd, the awards celebrate achievements in the tourism industry over the past year, also recognising the difficult circumstances and the incredible lengths South East tourism businesses have gone to.

Fran Downton, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said, “Achieving excellence is not easy, particularly in the year we have just navigated. All the finalists can be extremely proud of what they have achieved. I was blown away by the quality, positivity, and innovation of the tourism businesses we have across the South East. Many of the winners are truly world class.

Bookings are now being taken for 2021 and 2022 and can be booked directly from the glamping site’s website

Update on Spring Events in Medway

Published 19 February 2021

Medway’s spring festivals and events will not go ahead this year amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Government restrictions on mass gatherings remain in place, with social distancing requirements anticipated for some time while the roll-out of the vaccine continues.  

Medway Council has cancelled The English Festival, which would have been held in April, and May’s Rochester Sweeps Festival. Both events would usually attract large crowds of thousands of residents and visitors from outside of Medway, making social distancing almost impossible. There are currently no plans to reschedule these events.

Future events beyond the end of May 2021 will be kept under review by the council, as the government announces more information about its roadmap for recovery.

Full story


National Lockdown 

All of Medway's non-essential shops, and the vast majority of our visitor attractions and destinations remain closed in line with the national lockdown requirements. 

Parks, open spaces and extensive network of footpaths remain open for people to explore and enjoy safely within the restrictions. For more information see our Coronavirus update page.