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May 2021

Visitor news May 2021

Bob & Roberta Smith's Draw Hope

Make and view art with Bob and Roberta Smith

Published 22 May 2021 

Draw Hope pavilion is an outdoor gallery and art-making space that has been set up on the green outside Chatham Library, right on the River Medway.

As part of the Estuary Festival, it is an opportunity to make and view art by drawing directly onto the walls of the structure, and through workshops with acclaimed artist Bob and Roberta Smith and six local artists.

Find out more about the workshops. Draw Hope runs until Sunday, 13 June at Chatham Library. 

Cafe Nucleus in Rochester

Taste of Kent Awards 2021 

Published 20 May 2021

Café Nucleus in Chatham & Rochester scooped two prestigious awards at the annual taste of Kent Awards - Winner Food & Drink business of the year as a group and Hospitality business of the year for their Rochester Café. It's a hat trick for Café Nucleus which won Cafe or Coffee Shop of the Year for 2019 and 2020 respectively. 

The Judges noted Café Nucleus' commitment to both its staff and directly supporting the micro economy of Kent, from starting in the most unlikely of humble surroundings to delivering a unique experience. 

Large scale arts festival celebrating the Thames Estuary

Published 15 May 2021 

Estuary 2021 – the second edition of the large-scale, multi-disciplinary arts festival including contemporary visual art, film, music and literature – comes to North Kent and South Essex on 22 May.

Estuary 2021 has been carefully reimagined and redesigned to take place both online and in the open air along the Kent and Essex shoreline.

Following the route once taken by Victorian paddle steamers, artworks will populate locations from Southend in Essex, through the marshes of north Kent, via towns including Gravesend and Medway, and on to Ramsgate, incorporating multiple sites along the way.

It is hoped that visitors to the festival will imagine the Estuary in its entirety, a complex and dynamic tidal artery that connects both Kent and Essex to Southern England and also to the rest of the world.

Designed to be enjoyed outdoors, the festival invites visitors to take an epic walk along the stunning coastline of South Essex and North Kent encountering contemporary artworks and performance within the estuary’s landscape, historic sites and coastal towns using the urban areas, nature reserves, industrial landscapes and spectacular views of the estuary as their starting point. 

Find out more about the Festival and the activities taking place in Medway

The famous Strand elephant slide has been given a rainbow makeover

The Strand Open Air Pool to re-open for the summer

Published 15 May 2021

Medway’s popular open-air swimming pool will reopen later this month.

The Strand pool will reopen for weekends only from Saturday, 29 May. The pool will then open daily from Saturday, 24 July until Wednesday, 1 September.

The Strand boasts a leisure pool, a 25-metre swim area, a 300-metre lazy river and children’s slides.

A new, online pre-booking system will be in place and visitors will be able to book a morning or afternoon session. Numbers for each session will be limited, in line with government social distancing requirements. All sessions must be booked online, in advance.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of The Strand and the council is currently creating an online exhibition, using fond memories and images from residents to celebrate the history of The Strand, along with new signs which look back at memorable moments over the last 125 years. The exhibition also forms part of Estuary 21, an arts festival which celebrates the lives, landscapes and histories of the Thames Estuary. There are more than 20 exciting events and activities happening across Medway during the festival, which supports Medway’s aspirations to become UK City of Culture in 2025.

The iconic pink elephant is currently having a makeover and will be painted all the colours of the rainbow as a tribute to Medway’s keyworkers and the NHS for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Medway Council has launched a competition to name the elephant. You can email suggestions to [email protected] or message Medway Sport on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, before 5pm on Sunday, 20 June. 

Rochester Castle

More Medway attractions set to re-open as alternative summer events programme announced

Published 10 May 2021

Heritage attractions and indoor hospitality businesses across Medway will be able to welcome visitors back once again from Monday, 17 May.

In line with the latest steps on the government's roadmap to recovery, Rochester Castle and The Guildhall Museum and the Visitor Information Centre in Rochester will all be reopening on Tuesday, 18 May, with other big attractions including the Historic Dockyard Chatham and the Royal Engineers Museum also re-opening their doors.


Medway Council has announced it is developing an exciting alternative, flexible and COVID-19 safe festival and events programme for the summer. The innovative events programme will demonstrate Medway’s strong cultural offer and the resilience the area has shown during the pandemic. The programme will also shine a light on Medway’s creative spirit as it prepares to bid for UK City of Culture 2025. 

As government restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing remain in place, until at least late June, and as it is not yet known what restrictions will be in place over the summer, the council has taken the difficult decision not to hold its usual summer festivals and events programme, including the Rochester Dickens Festival in June. Full story

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