JUN 14,2013 - JUN 14,2013 (1 DAYS)
Rochester, Strood and Upnor Castle:
Start: Rochester National rail Station.
End: Strood National rail Station.
Orientation: Rochester and the attractions around are: tranquile, aristocratic, magnificent, historic, atmospheric and romantic.
Attractions: the Medway river, old Rochester, Rochester Bridge, Rochester Cathedral and Castle, Upnor Castle.
Exit the Rochester Railway Station and head southwest (right) toward High St. In this street lies the Guildhall Museum and Building. We recommend leaving these sites for the afternoon sun. The High Street looks completely different in the afternoon sun (like Rochester Bridge). Continue onto Eastgate (the road changes its name). Eastgate House (Charles Dickens Chalet) is on your right. The 16th-century red-brick Eastgate House once housed the town's museum and now it is planned to become the Charles Dickens Centre. Closed for a two year restoration programme. It is open sporadically, from time to time:
The Cathedral - view from the Castle:
From Eastgate House head northwest on Eastgate toward Crow Ln. Turn left onto Crow Ln and the Restoration House will be on the left. Built in 1587. It is said that Charles II stayed here on the night of 28th May 1660 - just before the Restoration. It is the "satis House" of "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens, the house of Miss Havisham. Beautifully restored by the current owners and very well presented to the public. Open: 30th May to 27th September 2013: Thursday & Fridays - 10:00am to 5:00pm. Also open on Saturday 1st June, Saturday 13th July - 12:00am to 5:00pm:
Almost n the end of Crow Ln you arrive to a nice tree-lined avenue - The Vines Park. Lovely views down toward the Cathedral at the far end. The Vines Park is a small oasis on the site of a medieval vineyard where monks from Rochester Cathedral (the Vines Church next door), once grew grapes for their wine:
Retrace your steps. Head Northeast (if coming back from Vines Ln) or Southwest (if still on Crow Ln). Turn right toward College Yard. Turn right again toward College Yard. Turn right (3rd time) onto College Yard. The Cathedral is on your right and Rochester Castle is on your left. The Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in the UK (next to the Canterbury one). But it is not just the impressive building itself. Walk around the immediate area for a real feel of historic Rochester. There are lovely buildings, gardens and twisting alleyways. In complete contrary to Canterbury cathedral - NO entrance fee. It is not the grandest of the English cathedrals, but it certainly is the friendliest. The volunteers who work there are helpful and lovely people. The Cathedral has a lovely garden as well:
The Rochester Castle stands opposite to the Cathdral. Today it stands as a proud reminder of the history of Rochester along with the cathedral and cobbled steets. Its Norman tower was built about 1127 by William of Corbeil, Archbishop of Canterbury with the encouragement of Henry I. It is consisting of three floors above a basement. Attached is a tall forebuilding, with its own set of defences to pass through before the keep itself could be entered at first floor level. Rebuilt under Henry III and Edward I, the castle remained as a viable fortress until the sixteenth century. OPen daily: 10.00 - 16.00. Adult - 5.80 GBP, concessions - 3.70 GBP:
Now we walk back part of our daily route - heading to Rochester Bridge. Head northeast on College Yard and turn left onto High St. Turn right toward Corporation St. Turn immediately left onto Corporation St and continue to follow the street to face Rochester Bridge. Just a part of Rochester that you don't want to miss. It is the bridge from Strood to Rochester. You get some excellent views over the River Medway. The bridge itself is full with grandour and elegance. The sight of the Medway river in the afternoon sun - is unforgottable. We shall return to this bridge after the long walk (there and back) to/from Upnor Castle. The sight of the bridge, the Medway river and Rochester on the hill is breath-taking under the afternoon sun. We recommend strolling around the park to the east of the bridge:
Take your lunch in one of the restaurants of Rochester High Street or near the river. We have one hour walk to Upnor Castle - crossing part of Strood town. I recommend (see a Tip) dining in Sans Pareil restaurant - 20 minutes before arriving to the Upnor Castle.
Head northwest on Rochester Bridge toward Canal Rd and continue to follow High St. Turn right and continue to follow North St. Slight right onto Frindsbury Hill. In the middle of this busy road (up the hill) - you'll see on your left) the Sans Pareil restaurant). At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto the busy Berwick Way. (Note: there is a shortcut: crossing the field along a towpath):
Turn left onto Upnor Rd. You are now in Upnor village:
Turn right to stay on Upnor Rd. Turn right onto Upchat Rd. Turn left onto Upnor High St. A small cobbled road. You do walk past two charming pubs which are well worth popping in for a drink. Very nice, picturesque and tranquil. The whole walk up the hill, throught the village and down to the castle through the village is like going back in time to the 19th century with lovely views of the river Medway at the bottom of the high street:
The Upnor Castle will be on your left. Entrance: 5.70 GBP, concessions: 3.50 GBP. Worth one-hour visit. Daily: 10.00 - 16.00. There is a lot to see inside the Castle and outside in the grounds, where on a sunny day a fair bit of time can be enjoyed here:
In a sunny day the view of Medway river from the Upnor Castle walls is majestic:
You can return from Upnor village/Castle to Strood with the 15.15 bus or walk the whole way back to the Medway river.
I stress the fact that you are unable to make a shortcut and return to Rochester or Strood along a path, leading to the the river bank or the fields nearby (there is a closed military zone near the castle and the river).
It is one hour walk back to Rochester or Strood. Allow one hour for walking in the grounds around Rochester Bridge and taking photos of the old town of Rochester, Rochester High Street, Rochester Guildhall (incl. the Museum) and the Medway river - all bathing in the afternoon sun:
From Rochester Bridge or High Street - it is 5 minutes walk to Rochester Railway Station and 1-12 minutes walk to Strood Station.