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.
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.
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.