Rochester is a small cathedral city on the River Medway in the north of the English county of Kent. Together with its neighbouring towns of Chatham and Gillingham it forms a large urban area known as the Medway Towns.
Park and ride facilities are available on Saturdays only, see National Park and Ride Directory
Rochester Station is located on the "unfashionable" end of Rochester High Street, to the east of Star Hill. Trains are operated by SouthEastern From London Charing Cross (via Dartford) (typical journey time 60 - 65 minutes) and Victoria (typical journey time 45 - 60 minutes). Trains from Ramsgate and Dover also serve Rochester, although in some cases it may be necessary to change at Chatham. The new Javelin high speed service operates every 30 minutes between Rochester and London St Pancras with a journey time of 35 minutes. There is a supplement for using this service unless travelling from outside of the London region.
Local buses are operated by Arriva .
Rochester Castle was originally a Roman castrum. A new castle was built on a hill near the site on which the castle now stands after the Norman invasion of 1066. This would have been a wooden motte and bailey type castle. In 1088 the castle came under attack in the conflict between William Rufus and Odo, Bishop of Bayeux. After William the Conqueror died in 1087 Normandy was split. Odo along with many others supported William's elder brother Robert, Duke of Normandy rather than William Rufus, the Conqueror's younger brother. Odo had control of the castle and it became the headquarters for the rebels. The castle fell to Rufus' army and Odo was forced into exile. Gundulf, the bishop of Rochester, orchestrated the creation of a stone castle alongside the cathedral. Over the centuries the castle was the scene for many conflicts including King John's attempt to regain to castle from rebellious Barons and, in 1264, Simon de Montfort's rebellion. By the 17th century, the castle had become neglected, the keep had been burned out, and the site was being used as a local quarry for building materials. In 1870 the castle grounds were leased to the City of Rochester, who turned them into a public park and eventually, in the 20th century, responsibility for this imposing old structure was taken over by English Heritage. Today, the castle stands as a proud reminder of the history surrounding the old town of Rochester, along with the cathedral, the cobbled streets and the Dickensian reflections.
Museums and Galleries
Rochester High Street is notable for its many antiques stores. There are also a number of secondhand bookshops, notably Baggins Book Bazaar near the Guildhall Museum, which claims to be "England's largest secondhand and rare bookshop".