Rochester is not a city but a town, having lost city status in 1998 due to an administrative error. But its long history, cultural connections, and grand architecture mean it more than deserves a place among the cathedral cities.
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- Rochester Cathedral, England’s second oldest (after Canterbury)
- Rochester Castle, dating from the 11th century, built on the remains of the old Roman fort
- Six Poor Travellers House, an almshouse founded in 1563
- Rochester Guildhall, now housing the Guildhall Museum
Events and activities
- Dickens Festival (annual summer event)
- Dickensian Christmas with street parades
- Sweeps Festival – a celebration of the chimney sweeps’ annual holiday, traditionally on 1 May
- Dickens World in nearby Chatham
- Chatham Dockyard, including three historic warships and the Royal Dockyard Museum
Location and getting there
Rochester is the medieval cathedral city that is closest to London, being only 30 miles south-east of the capital (see our interactive map).
It lies on the River Medway and forms part of the Medway conurbation, of which the other major towns include Chatham and Gillingham.
Rochester is also part of the ceremonial county of Kent and is actually one of two cathedral cities in Kent, the other being Canterbury.
Direct trains from London Victoria to Rochester take less than an hour. There is no National Express coach stop in the city.
Rochester was a favourite of Charles Dickens’, and many of his novels contain references to the town. For example, he used the mansion Restoration House as the home of Estella and Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.
King’s School in Rochester is the second oldest school in the world, having been founded in 604 AD. Former pupils of the school are known as Old Roffensians.
This mini-calendar shows events taking place in and around Rochester. For events at cathedral cities across the UK, please see our main Cathedral City Calendar.
Using an iPhone? Please hold your phone horizontally for the best results with our calendar.
- Medway Council: Visiting Medway
- Rochester on Google Maps
- Photos of Rochester on Flickr
- Hotels in the Medway area with Booking.com
- Rochester restaurants with Restaurant-Guide.com
- Twitter list for Rochester by Cathedral City Guide
Got Rochester stories, photos, or recommendations you want to share?
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