Sunday 18th December: Rochester and the Medway

After a rather foggy train journey down, we were rewarded with the sun breaking through just  as we  crossed the Medway from Strood. The land between the railway and the river has been cleared prior to residential development and we made our way along the river wall with atmospheric views of glistening mud, decaying boats and wharves. We rejoined the High Street, an interesting mix of Victorian  house  and light industrial buildings. We passed the fine medieval Restoration House, where Charles II is reported to have stayed on his return to England. We gradually climbed through allotments and woods reaching Borstal recreation ground, near where the first institution with this name was established. Heading back into the centre, we passed the imposing Fort Clarence, all that remains of Napoleonic fortifications, built to protect the naval dockyard. Rochester was busy but we found space in the extremely hospitable Crown PH. We enjoyed lunch in the warm, only slightly spoiled by the telly showing QPR losing at home to the Villa. A short walk took us to the Cathedral, where we attended choral evensong. We were able to sit in the choir stalls, well placed to appreciate the fine Cathedral choir and organ.

We were all most impressed with Rochester, there being much more to it than Dickens. And for a summer visit there’s nearby Upper Upnor village and castle.  Mike