Things to do in Rochester, England: quick tips for a day trip from London

Day-tripping from London to historic Rochester, Kent

With the appearance of spring, so arrives day trip season! Last weekend saw the sun come out and the temperature in the south of England tip over 20°C—so we felt it compulsory to tick another new place off our list. Here are our suggestions for things to do in Rochester, Kent, which is super easy to get to from London and (as you can see) picture perfect.

Cute British high street in Rochester, KentHistoric Rochester, EnglandThings to do in Rochester, UK: go shopping on the pretty high street, which is strung with bunting in spring and summerBunting over beautiful historic Rochester, EnglandGuildhall Museum, Rochester, EnglandA springtime day trip to Rochester, EnglandSpring blossoms on a day trip from London to Rochester, EnglandVisiting historic Rochester in Kent, EnglandGorgeous architecture in historic Rochester, EnglandExploring historic Rochester, Kent, UKDay trip from London to Rochester, England: my quick tipsRamshackle old buildings in the historic city of Rochester, Kent, England

How to get to Rochester

From London, you can catch the train to Rochester from St. Pancras, Victoria or Charing Cross stations.

Bought in advance (i.e. any time before boarding the train), a return ticket costs from £15.50. There is a high-speed train from St. Pancras, taking just over 30 minutes, for which you’ll pay a little bit more.

Getting around within Rochester

Rochester is a small, walkable city . We covered about 8km during our 5 hours in town.

Where to stay

If you do fancy staying overnight, try looking for accommodation on Hotels.com or Airbnb (get £30 off with my link!). I love the look of this wonky little cottage, which is super cute and centrally located.

A day trip to Rochester Castle, EnglandOne of the UK's tallest castles, Rochester Castle keep, EnglandLooking up inside one of England's tallest castles, at Rochester in KentInside Rochester Castle keep, EnglandMy quick tips for things to do in Rochester, Kent—including visiting Rochester CastleRochester Castle, Kent, EnglandAt nearly 1,000 years old, Rochester Castle is one of England's best-preservedThings to do in Rochester, England: visit Rochester CastleRochester Cathedral, EnglandThe historic Rochester Cathedral, KentRochester Castle, United KingdomHow to visit Rochester Castle, EnglandDefensive walls at Rochester Castle, Kent, EnglandVisiting Rochester Castle, EnglandThe 150-year-old Catalpa tree outside Rochester Cathedral, Kent, England

Things to do

Rochester Castle, Castle Hill | One of the UK’s tallest castles at 34m, it’s solid square walls are 3.5m thick in places.

Rochester Cathedral, College Yard | Built in 604, this recently-restored cathedral is England’s second-oldest. It’s home to historic books and manuscripts, including “the only existing copy of the first code of English law”—which influenced the Magna Carta.

Catalpa tree, just outside Rochester Cathedral | The Indian Bean Tree is rare in the UK, and this 150-year-old specimen is said to be one of the oldest.

The Vines, Vines Lane | This small park was a favourite of Charles Dickens—he’s known to have visited just 3 days before his death, in 1870. You’ll find this green just by Restoration House (below).

Restoration House, 17-19 Crow Lane | Apparently the inspiration for Miss Havisham’s house in Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations, this Elizabethan manor is so named due to the fact King Charles II visited the evening before his restoration as monarch. The opening days/times are strange so check in advance if this is on your must-see list.

Rochester Bridge | It sounds weird but this cast iron bridge, opened in 1914, is surprisingly interesting. If you visit Rochester by train you’ll probably arrive via this bridge.

The Coopers Arms, 10 St. Margaret’s Street | So not a classic on the “things to do in Rochester” list, but we stumbled across this old inn and it was a great pit-stop with a nice beer garden and, apparently, a resident ghost.

The view from Rochester Castle, EnglandThe view from Rochester Castle, EnglandSpring blossoms in Rochester, EnglandCast iron Rochester Bridge, England, built in 1914Restoration House, Rochester, England—the inspiration for Miss Havisham's house in Charles Dickens' Great ExpectationsRestoration House, Rochester, England—King Charles II stayed here the eve of his restoration, hence the nameOld store fronts on the High Street in Rochester, EnglandRochester Cathedral, England—one of the oldest in the UKThe old Catalpa tree in Rochester, EnglandBecky

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