Rochester, on the river Medway, opposite Chatham, this town and port is very busy, with shops and amenities, yet lots of old buildings, some associated with Charles Dickens.
Reflecting Rochester's strategic river position it was fortified by the Romans, Saxons and Normans, bits of the old walls remain.
The famous Dickens Christmas Festival and Market this year is on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December 2013, see the Festival website
Quite a few things to see in the area in addition to going to Chatham.
Coalhouse Fort 6.3 miles A prime example of Victorian military architecture.
Rochester Castle An 11th century impressive castle, shop, etc.
Fort Amherst 18th century, emplacements, ditches, tunnels, park, events. The largest surviving Napoleonic Fortress in Europe. Only guided tours of the tunnels Mon-Fri 10:00-15:00 - subject to guide available- small charge . Parkland free.
Upnor Castle off A228, east of Rochester, Elizabethan gun fort, turrets, gatehouse. English Heritage property.
Rochester Cathedral A Norman cathedral with crypt, tombs, and good windows. Guided tours available, call 01634 843366.
Temple Manor Part of a 1240 manor house of the Knights Templar. English Heritage site.
Gads Hill School north on A226, once owned by Charles Dickens the house is described in A Christmas Carol. Now a private school.
Cobham Hall 3.8 miles Late Elizabethan, with 18th century additions, home of the Earls of Darnley in 50 acres of grounds. Since 1962 has been a girls' boarding school, although it is open to the public during the summer months, shop, etc.
New College 4.4 miles 14th century building endowed as a college for priests. The almshouses are still occupied by elderly parishioners in this unique quadrangular building, the outside of which the public can normally view, even when closed.
Owletts 4.9 miles National Trust,built in the 17th century for Bonham Hayes.
Yeomans House 5.4 miles 15th century timber framed hall house, was restored by the famous architect Sir Herbert Baker. National Trust.
Aylesford Priory 5.9 miles at Aylesford near Junction 5 M20, a restored 13th century, Carmelite monks live here and they also hold retreats. Chapels, Book and Gift Shop, Tearooms and Pottery.
Guildhall Museum local exhibits in this 17th century building in the High Street. Dickens Discovery Room with displays on the author and short film show.
Chatham Dockyard 1.1 miles A working museum with lots to do and see over 80 acres, Wooden Walls exhibition on building 18th century ships, Royal National Lifeboat Institute exhibition, demonstrations, events, a full day out.
Royal Engineers Museum 1.4 miles audio visual representations of the Engineers history as well as displays that include a Large Equipment and Vehicle Collection
Dickens World Meet characters form the books, take the Great Expectations Boat Ride, see a Victorian School vist the The Haunted House. Dickens themed.
Towns Near Rochester To Visit - straight line distance:Chatham (0.83 miles) Cobham (4.70 miles) East Tilbury (6.40 miles) Gravesend (6.98 miles)