Top 50 Places to Visit in Rochester, England, U.K : Wandering and travelling is always fun, let us check out what Rochester has in store for us. The Cathedral city of Rochester is located on the south bank of the River Medway, in the county of Kent, approximately 26 miles east-south-east of London and 8 miles north of Maidstone. The town has a population of around 24,300. Administratively it is within the Borough of Medway which covers an area of approximately 192 sq km and which has a population of around 251,000. A blend of the modern and the antique, there are many unique places to visit in Rochester, U.K.

Explore Rochester with the help of this Top 50 Places to Visit in Rochester, England, U.K. list and see things to do in Rochester from here.  This ancient and once fortified city, which guarded the Medway, is a busy port and thriving industrial and commercial centre which retains many notable historic buildings, including its 12th-century cathedral and magnificent Norman castle keep which overlooks the town. Rochester has had strong associations with Charles Dickens, who was a long-time resident here and featured the town many times in his works. The old, cobbled streets he loved to mention so much come alive with stalls, carol singers and lamp-lit parades for a grand Dickensian Christmas each December. You can check out Leeds and Liverpool when in U.K. 

Here the non-literary history is just as rich. Marinated in heritage, the towering keep of Rochester Castle is one of the tallest in the country, the graceful Rochester Cathedral nearby is England’s second oldest functioning since 604 AD. The dramatic exhibits at The Historic Dockyard Chatham include a climb-on-board Victorian Sloop, a WWII destroyer and a Cold War submarine. In Gillingham, the compelling Royal Engineers Museum reveals an absorbing heritage, while Fort Amherst is Britain’s largest Napoleonic fortress. You can also visit the city of Cambridge to check out beautiful forts. All this is detailed in this article about Top 50 Places to Visit in Rochester, U.K.

Top 50 Places to Visit in Rochester, England, U.K.

Rochester Castle

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Rochester Castle is a magnificently well-preserved and fine example of Norman architecture in England. It was on or close to the present castle site that the Romans had built their first fort to guard the bridge carrying their legions over the river on their way from Dover to London along the Roman Watling Street and beyond. It was the site of a bloody siege by King John during the Bishops’ War in 1215 after he signed the Magna Carta.

Why should you Visit: This impressive castle and fortress have had a chequered history, as for being strategically placed astride the London Road and beside an important crossing of the River Medway. Bishop Gundulf – one of William the Conqueror’s finest architects – began the construction of today’s castle in 1087, making use of what remained of the original Roman city walls. The great keep was built by William de Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury, to whom Henry I granted custody of the castle in 1127. The castle has been subjected to three sieges.

Timings: 10:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m

Entry Fees: Adult: £6.40

Official Website: Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Rochester Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary, is an English church of Norman architecture in Rochester, Kent. The church is the cathedral of the Diocese of Rochester in the Church of England and the seat (cathedra) of the Bishop of Rochester, the second oldest bishopric in England after that of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Why should you Visit: “A thousand years of history in a day!” Nothing could sum up the experience of visiting the Rochester Cathedral. This cathedral dates back to the year 604 AD when the Rochester Diocese was founded by Justus, a Roman Catholic missionary who later became the fourth Archbishop of Canterbury. The cathedral and diocese, even though very old are still functional and very much active.

Timings: 7:30 a.m – 6:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Rochester Cathedral

Chatham Historic Dockyard

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Chatham Historic Dockyard is a maritime museum on part of the site of the former royal/naval dockyard at Chatham in Kent, South East England. Chatham is one of Rochester’s neighbouring towns which now come under one single large urban area known as the Medway Towns.

Why should you Visit: Chatham Dockyard covered nearly 400 acres and was one of the Royal Navy’s main facilities for several hundred years until it was closed in 1984. Of all of the 400 acres, about 80 acres was transferred to a charity called Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust that is now open as a visitor attraction. It claims to be the world’s most complete dockyard of the Age of Sail

Timings: 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £24.00

Official Website: The Chatham Historic Dockyard

Fort Amherst

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Fort Amherst was constructed in 1756 for defence purposes of the Chatham Naval Dockyard. This was largely the result of the Raid on the Medway in 1667 when the Dutch fleet inflicted heavy damages on the dockyard. 

Why should you Visit: Aside from view overlooking the river and banks of Medway, the fort site contains within its walls a long history of battles and sieges, beginning in 1667 with the Dutch navy succeeding in the Raid on the Medway, while the English battleships were virtually unmanned and unarmed, through to the Napoleonic Wars, when the fortifications on the Medway had to be strengthened. Since the year, 1959, the site of Fort Amherst was scheduled as an ancient monument and stays open as a visitor attraction throughout the year with tours provided through the tunnel complex. 

Timings: 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £5.00

Official Website: Fort Amherst

Rochester Guildhall

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: The Guildhall is a Grade I listed building in Rochester, Kent, constructed in the year 1697. It has been made a part of Rochester museum since 1979. If you’re an avid reader, fond of Victorian English literature of the day, you should know that the Guildhall Chamber is the same one which features in Dickens’ famous novel Great Expectations. Dickens, for the better half of his life, lived and wrote in the town of Rochester.

Why should you Visit: If neither Literature nor Dickens appeals to you, then, surely the Guildhall itself should be enough to compel you to pay a visit. It is a very attractive Seventeenth-century building with magnificent plaster ceilings which have been there since Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell added them to the building in 1695! The treasures at the Guildhall include a curious looking weathervane shaped like an Eighteenth Century Warship, that dates back to 1780.

Timings: 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m

Entry Fees: Nil

Official Website: Rochester Guildhall

Temple Manor

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Temple Manor was built in the 13th century by The Knights Templar, a military and religious order founded during the Religious Crusades. Located to the west of the River Medway, the hall was designed to provide lodging for dignitaries travelling between Dover and London.

Why should you Visit: Well, this is a fine example of medieval architecture, to begin with, this manor house is where high ranking officers of the Knights Templar used to moved about and often resided. In current times, in contemporary fiction and film, the Knights Templar have achieved a celebrity status through a revival of their role in European history during the dark ages. To feel the full might of the Knights’ power during their heyday, visit the Temple Manor in Rochester.

Timings: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (Open only on Weekends)

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Temple Manor

Eastgate House, Rochester

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: This Grade I listed 16th and 17th Century townhouse is one of the most impressive and distinctive buildings in Rochester’s historic High Street. Once the family home of Sir Peter Buck, a senior officer at the Royal Tudor Dockyard, the house has also been a Victorian boarding school, a hostel, a museum and an inspiration to the great author Charles Dickens.

Why should you Visit: In the gardens of the Eastgate House stands Dickens’ Swiss Chalet, used by the author as his study at his home at Gad’s Hill Place. Visitors to the house can explore the amazing rooms of the house while learning the remarkable story of those who lived, worked and played here throughout the centuries. Step inside Eastgate House and explore a maze of beautiful rooms and displays have many, many fascinating stories to tell

Timings: 10:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. (open Wednesday – Sunday)

Entry Fees: Adult: £5.50

Official Website: Eastgate House, Rochester

Upnor Castle

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Upnor Castle is an Elizabethan artillery fort located on the west bank of the River Medway in Kent. It is in the village of Upnor, opposite and a short distance downriver from the Chatham Dockyard. It was constructed between 1559–67 on the orders of Elizabeth I, during a period of tension with Spain and other European powers.

Why should you Visit: Set in tranquil grounds adjoining a riverside village, this rare example of an Elizabethan artillery fort that was built to protect warships moored at the Chatham dockyards. Despite a brave attempt, it entirely failed to do so in 1667, when the Dutch sailed past it to burn or capture the English fleet at anchor. It is currently an English Heritage property.

Timings: 10:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £6.40

Official Website: Upnor Castle

Restoration House

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Restoration House in Rochester, Medway, South East England, is a fine example of an Elizabethan mansion. It is so named after the visit of King Charles II on the eve of his restoration. Although essentially a private home, the house and garden are open to the public during the summer.

Why should you Visit: Restoration House was originally two medieval buildings (1454 and 1502–22) with an empty space in between. The houses were joined together in 1640-1660. The current owners over the past decade have uncovered decoration schemes from the mid 17th century, which reveal the fashionable taste of the period, much influenced by the fashions on the continent.

Timings: Nil

Entry Fees: Nil

Official Website: Restoration House

Chatham Naval Memorial

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

About: Chatham Naval Memorial is a large obelisk located in the town of Chatham which is a part of the city of Rochester, Kent. The memorial is a feature of the Great Lines Heritage Park. It is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. It became a listed building in 1996, and was upgraded to Grade I in May 2016 for the centenary of the Battle of Jutland.

Why should you Visit: Chatham was a principal manning port of the Royal Navy during the First World War and thus was dedicated as the site of one of three memorials to sailors, airmen and marines of the Royal Navy who lost their lives during the conflict but who have no known grave. 

Timings: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Chatham Naval Memorial

Tilbury Fort

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Tilbury Fort, also known historically as the Thermitage Bulwark and the West Tilbury Blockhouse, is an artillery fort on the north bank of the River Thames in England. This location is potent for tourist visitation because of its scenic location as well as its long withstanding history of association with battles and wars. The 17th-century defences are considered by the historian Paul Pattison to be the “best surviving example of their kind in Britain”. Tilbury Fort is now operated by the heritage agency English Heritage as a tourist attraction.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £6.20

Official Website: Tilbury Fort

Kit’s Coty House

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Kit’s Coty House is a chambered long barrow constructed around circa 4000 BCE, during the Early Neolithic period of British prehistory. It survives today in a ruined state. The site is now under the ownership of English Heritage and is open to visitors all year round.

Timings: Any reasonable daylight hours.

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Kit’s Coty Hous

Blue Bell Hill

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk Why Should you Visit: Blue Bell Hill is a chalk hill near Rochester. Quite possibly the loftiest nature reserve in the county, having uninterrupted panoramic views across the Weald. The rich plant life to be found here supports a variety of specialist insects including butterflies such as Chalk hill blue, Adonis blue and Brown argus. Where the fine wildflower filled grassland meets the bushes, there is a tangle of bramble and other rough plants. This is the perfect spot for reptiles and small mammals, such as the bank vole, to forage for food.

Timings: Open 24 hours

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Blue Bell Hill

Gads Hill Place

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Well, you read about Dickens much early in this article, as the whole of Rochester town was sort of like his biosphere, but here you have finally arrived at Charles Dickens’ family home, Gads Hill Place at Higham, Kent. Oh, you nerd, accept it, you know you want to get in there, so hurry! Gads Hill did a plenty lot to inspire Dickens, first to work hard enough to be able to buy it (mind you, he’s one among those industrial revolution hate literature writers who created characters like Gradgrind, so it must have been really hard times for a boy like him to amass wealth enough to buy a grand mansion like that, but he managed to buy it anyway) so it might just be a lucky charm for you too…

Timings: 1:00 p.m. – 3.30 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £9.50

Official Website: Gads Hill Place

Charles Dickens Chalet

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: This is an interesting piece of architecture, located in the gardens of the Eastgate House. In 1864 Charles Fechter gave Charles Dickens a prefabricated Swiss Chalet as a Christmas Present. Dickens had it assembled on land he owned on the opposite side of the Rochester High Road. Later, he had a brick-lined tunnel dug between the house’s front lawn and the chalet. During the spring and summer months, Dickens worked on many of his later works in his study on the top floor of this Swiss chalet. The chalet has been preserved and was moved to the ‘Dickens Centre’ in Rochester High Street, Rochester, as a memorial to the writer.

Timings: Nil

Entry Fees: Nil

Official Website: Charles Dickens Chalet

HMS Gannet

Why Should you Visit: A sloop of the Victorian Royal Navy, HMS Gannet was built on the River Medway at Sheerness in 1878. Designed to patrol the world’s oceans, she ‘flew the flag’ protecting British interests around the world. Powered by both sail and steam, with a hull constructed from stout teak planking on a strong iron frame, this highly significant vessel forms part of the United Kingdom’s core national collection of historic ships.

Timings:10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m

Entry Fees: Adult: £22.00

Official Website: HMS Gannet

HMS Cavalier

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk Why Should you Visit: Built in 1944, HMS Cavalier served in the Arctic, Western Approaches and British Pacific Fleet before finally paying off at Chatham in 1972. Today she is preserved as The National Destroyer Memorial commemorating the 11,000 lives and 142 Royal Navy Destroyers lost during the Second World War.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: £22.00

Official Website: HMS Cavalier

Kent Life Heritage Farm Park

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Kent Life is an English open-air museum located at Sandling, next to Allington Locks, on the east bank of the River Medway. At the museum, various aspects of farming are recreated. There are two small hop gardens, growing Fuggles and Goldings hops. Apple and plum orchards, a herb garden, a soft fruit garden and various livestock.

Timings: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £6.95

Official WebsiteKent Life Heritage Farm Park

Capstone Farm Country Park

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Capstone Farm Country Park covers 114 hectares of former farmland set on the North Downs. There is a variety of habitats within the park, including ancient woodlands, old orchards, a freshwater lake, meadows and hedgerows. The park is typical of the rolling landscape of the North Downs and many of the woods and hedgerows are hundreds of years old.

Timings: 8:30 a.m – Dusk

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Capstone Farm Country Park

Royal Engineers Museum

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: The Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive is a military engineering museum and library in Gillingham, Kent. It tells the story of the Corps of Royal Engineers and British military engineering in general. The museum and library hold over 500,000 objects relating to the history of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the development of military engineering. It also has a collection of paintings and a large collection of medals including 48 Victoria Crosses.

Timings: 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £9.20

Official Website: Royal Engineers Museum

Great Lines Heritage Park

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Constructed during the Napoleonic Wars, Connecting Chatham, Gillingham, Brompton and the Historic Dockyard, The Great Lines Heritage Park consists of Fort Amherst, Chatham Lines, the Field of Fire, Inner Lines, Medway Park (sports centre) together with the Lower Lines. The long military history of the towns has dominated the history of the site and the park.

Timings: Open 24 hours

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Great Lines Heritage Park

Riverside Country Park

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Riverside Country Park covers 100 hectares alongside the Medway Estuary, including Motney Hill and Berengrave Local Nature Reserve. There are various habitats within the park, including mudflats and salt marsh, ponds and reed-beds, grassland and scrub, which provide a haven for wildlife.

Timings: 8:00 a.m. – dusk

Entry Fees: Free

Official WebsiteRiverside Country Park

Leybourne Lakes Country Park

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: Leybourne Lakes Country Park is near Snodland, in Kent, England. The park, which opened in 2004, was created from disused gravel pits that have been flooded and landscaped to make fishing and wildlife lakes. The Park now provides a peaceful location for wildlife and bird-watching, whilst also allowing water-sport enthusiasts the opportunity to windsurf, canoe and kayak in the man-made lakes. Diving also takes place in one of the lakes. Around the lakes are a series of woods and gentle trails, popular with dog-walkers and recreational walkers.

Timings: 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Entry Fees: Free

Official Website: Leybourne Lakes Country Park

Shorne Wood Country Park

top 50 places to visit in rochester uk

Why Should you Visit: One of the most popular country parks in Kent, Shorne Woods Country Park offers everything you need to spend a day enjoying the great outdoors. With a unique space and meeting room for hire, Shorne Woods Country Park is also an excellent venue for everything from business meetings and workshops, to birthdays and club meetings.

Timings: 9:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Entry Fees: Adult: £3

Official Website: Shorne Wood Country Park

Buckmore Park Kart Circuit

top 50 places to visit in rochester Why Should you Visit: Buckmore Park Kart Circuit is an MSA approved outdoor kart racing circuit located just off junction 3 of the M2 in Chatham, Kent, England. This is or the thrill seekers, the daring racers. Whether you’re joining us for a Stag Do, Hen Do, Birthday Party or simply friends hanging out, we’re here to make your visit one to remember. So Go-Karting!

Timings: 9:00 a.m – 10 p.m.

Entry Fees: Nil. Activities charged.

Official WebsiteBuckmore Park Kart Circuit

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  • #Chatham Ski and Snowboard Centre
  • #Priestfield Stadium
  • #Esplanade Gardens
  • #Unit – 1, Skatepark
  • #Maidstone Museum
  • #Cineworld Rochester

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