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Rochester Castle

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by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
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Published June 25th 2012
About an hour from London by train is a quintessential English castle, built strategically in Kent at a crossing over the Medway River. A setting for wars and sieges for over 900 years, it has one of the best preserved keeps in England.

rochester castle, strood, kent, london, sightseeing, attractions
Rochester Castle from the River Medway

The return rail journey from London to Rochester is under 20 for adults, and it's an exciting destination to visit and well worth the expense. In fact there are enough attractions nearby in Rochester and Strood to make it worth staying overnight if you have time, and budget backpacker accommodation is available.

You can take the train to Strood and have a leisurely walk over the River Medway, or continue on to Rochester and wander the town before walking back to see the castle.

As you approach the Castle, the sheer enormous size of it is breathtaking. It must have been a very daunting sight for potential invaders in the middle ages. Despite this the Castle was captured by enemy forces on several occasions, the last time in 1381 during a peasants' revolt.

On one of the more notable occasions the castle was captured after the fat from 40 pigs was used to create an intensely hot fire under a corner of the castle keep, causing it to fall down.

rochester castle, strood, kent, london, sightseeing, attractions
Rochester Castle Information Sign

Fortunately the Castle has plenty of signage to inform visitors of the Castle's history and architecture.

While there are no longer floors and ceilings within the castle keep, it is surprising how much of the building has survived for 1000 years despite all attempts to destroy it.

rochester castle keep kent england
Inside Rochester Castle Keep

For those who complete the climb up three floors to the top of the keep (about 120 feet), a splendid view of the River Medway and surrounding countryside awaits you.

rochester castle river medway views kent
Views of the River Medway from Rochester Castle

Closer to the castle you can see the remains of the outer curtain walls which are still in surprisingly good condition.

rochester castle curtain wall
Rochester Castle Curtain Walls

As you descend back to ground level and plan refreshments to recover from your climb, contemplate the thought of meeting the ghost of Lady Blanche de Warren who is said to have haunted the castle since 1264.
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Why? Castles are cool
When: 1 April - 30 September 2012: 10 am to 6 pm every day
Phone: 01634 843666
Where: Castle Hill, Rochester, ME1 1SW, United Kingdom
Cost: English Heritage Member - Free. Adult - 5.65. Child - 3.60. Concession - 3.60. Family - 15.00
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