Places to Visit

There are many places to visit in the historic town of Rochester including castles, cathedrals and museums.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Castle is situated in the historic Roman walls of the City of Rochester within close proximity of the River Medway. It was strategically placed aside the London Road to guard an important crossing on the River Medway. The fortress has resisted siege and destruction for over 900 years.

The Norman tower-keep was built in 1127 by William of Corbeil, the Archbishop of Canterbury with the encouragement of Henry I. The tower stands at an impressive 113 feet high. The tower was later rebuilt by Henry III and Edward I and remained an important fortress throughout the 15th century. A century later the castle started to decay. In 1870 Rochester Castle grounds were turned into a public park by the City of Rochester. Today the castle has been taken over by the English Heritage and stands as a reminder of the history surrounding the old City of Rochester.

The castle is open daily from 10am to 6am from 31st March to 31st October and from 10am to 4pm from 1st November to 20th March. Admission is £4.00 per adult, £3.00 per child, £3.00 per concession, free for English Heritage members and £11.00 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children). Audio tours are available for a small charge.

Rochester Cathedral

Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in England. The Cathedral was founded in 604AD by Bishop Justus. The current building dates back to 1080 and is the work of a French Monk called Gundulf. The Norman and Roman architecture and Gothic styles make the Cathedral a wonderful place to visit.

The Cathedral is open daily from 7:30am to 6:00pm with occasional restrictions due to services and special events. Admission is free to individuals, however donations are gratefully excepted for maintenance and upkeep of the Cathedral. Guided tours are available throughout the year at a charge of £4 per adult. Group visits without a guide are charged at a cost of £4.

Rochester Cathedral offers a number of facilities including a shop stocked with souvenirs, books and gifts plus much more, tea rooms with a wide choice of food and magnificent gardens. Visit Rochester Cathedral and take away with you a sense of its worship, history and architecture.

Guildhall Museum

The Guildhall Museum opened in honour of Queen Victoria?s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The museum was originally in Eastgate House and moved to the Guildhall in 1979. The Guildhall Museum offers a collection of items that provide an insight into the history of Rochester. The museum has a large selection of paintings and prints of the area, a 200,000 year old axe, a full-size reconstruction of part of a Medway prison hulk, the Dickens Discovery Room plus much, much more. The Museum is open daily from 10:00am to 4:30pm apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year?s Day. Admission is free throughout the year.

Restoration House and Gardens

Restoration House is one of the finest pre-civil war city mansions in England. The mansion is situated in the historic city of Rochester and the house takes its name from King Charles II stay on the eve of the Restoration. The property is famous as the Satis House of Dickens novel ?Great expectations? where it is home to Miss Havisham.

The house has a large and beautiful walled garden spread over 3 quarter of an acre. The garden is separated by a dividing wall with archways and a formal pond. The garden has an abundance of mature trees, colourful flowers and archaeological features. The garden is maintained to an immaculate standard by a team of dedicated gardeners and craftsmen.

Restoration House and Gardens is open Thursday and Friday between 10:00am and 5:00pm. The costs of admission to the house and gardens is £5.50 for adults, £4.50 for senior citizens, £2.50 for children (6 to 16 years) and £12.50 for a family ticket. Guided tours are charged at £6.50 per person, however there must be a minimum of six persons. Admission to the garden only is £2.50.