A great destination for a day trip getaway from London is Rochester –
a small picturesque town on the river Medway, just 50km from London.
I was taken there for my surprise birthday trip this year.
My favourite birthday present is an experience of some kind – better even an exploration trip to somewhere new. So, already for a few years, I have been getting little hedonistic adventures as birthday presents. Last year ending up in the lovely seaside town of Whitstable and this year, the surprise destination turned out to be Rochester!
The excitement was high, as I got taken on the train at the busy Victoria train station, desperately trying to ignore any kind of hints and announcements as of where the train would be heading, not to spoil the surprise for myself. An hour or so of secretly guessing, it was time to get off the train, discovering ourselves in the marvel of Kent.
Being blessed with the first Summery weather of the year, the sun was shining brightly, making everything look even better, as it does.
The high street of this cute little town is something to see – lined with small boutiques and cafés with the abundance of antique and charity shops. Wish we had time to search for the hidden treasures!
Our first stop happened to be at Fieldstaff Antiques – the lovely little boutique filled with wonders of the bygone days, which I left with a few pairs of beautiful vintage gloves.
The historic town has over time been occupied by Celts, Romans, Jutes and Saxons, bearing quite an important role from early times.
As the main points of interest, I would name the gorgeous architectural masterpiece of Rochester Cathedral and the ruins of Rochester Castle.
The Cathedral originates from AD 604, the current architectural shape was finished in 1343. The gorgeous Cathedral is a masterpiece from inside and out.
Rochester Castle, with the 12th-century keep, served as a strategically important royal castle in the medieval times. It saw action in the siege in 1264 and has been in ruins ever since. Currently, the castle grounds are open to the public as a park and it is possible to climb up the ruins for a great view of the Cathedral and the riverside. Just remember to wear comfy shoes!
For the dinner we were recommended to check out Topes restaurant, just next to the castle – the atmosphere looked lovely and relaxed, but unfortunately, many people thought the same – if you want to get a place there, have to book a few weeks in advance!
Instead, we ended up at Elizabeth´s Restaurant at the other end of the High Street. Although a bit too fancy at the first glimpse with its pristine white tablecloth, the fresh seafood menu, accompanied by the crisp white wine, really indulged our taste buds.
Rochester is especially known for the historic May Day dancing chimney sweeps tradition with the famous parade going down the High Street. Should remember to check it out next year!