Events and activities for all

Medway’s commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway in June 2017 is two weeks of exciting and unique Dutch themed events.

Here is a taste of what you can expect to see.


The journey to Chatham

Saturday 6 May to 12 November 2017 at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

A new temporary exhibition showcasing the Guildhall Museum's collection of contemporary Dutch engravings and broadsheets to tell the story of the battle from the Dutch perspective.


Battle of Medway trail

Saturday 27 May to Sunday 4 June 2017 from 10am to 5pm at the Guildhall Museum

Take part in our trail around the museum based on the ’Journey to Chatham’ exhibition for a chance to win a small prize.

80p per child, free entry to the museum.


Battle of Medway trail

Saturday 27 May to Sunday 4 June 2017 from 10am to 6pm at Upnor Castle (last admission 5.15pm)

Take part in our trail around the castle looking for clues to find out what happened at Upnor Castle during the Battle of Medway. There will also be a chance to win a small prize.

80p per child, plus admission fee.


Build your own fort

Tuesday 30 May, Thursday 1 June and Friday 2 June 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at the Guildhall Museum

Join our hands-on family craft activity based around our ‘Journey to Chatham’ exhibition. This event is part of the Battle of Medway commemorations featuring Dutch newspaper reports of the battle and the construction plans for the new fort at Sheerness. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free and free entry to the museum.


Workshop with Wendy Daws

Wednesday 31 May 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at the Guildhall Museum

Join our drop-in artist-led session; crafts will be based around our ‘Journey to Chatham’ exhibition, part of the Battle of Medway commemorations. No need to book. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

£3 per child, free entry to the museum.


Make your own Royal Charles flagship

Wednesday 31 May 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

Join our hands-on family craft activity to make your own flagship – remember to keep it safe from the Dutch! Children must be accompanied by an adult.

80p per child, plus admission fee.


Print your own ship's flag

Friday 2 June 2017 from 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

Join our drop-in artist-led session to design your own Battle of Medway print for a flag or tote bag. No need to book. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free, plus admission fee.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Of Fireships and Iron

Friday 2 June to 26 August 2017 at Rochester Art Gallery and Rochester Cathedral

Join us as five Medway based artists - all pushing the boundaries of contemporary printmaking - present brand new work. This will be part of the 350 year commemorations of the Battle of Medway and the Medway Print Festival 2017.


Medway print festival

Friday 2 June to 27 August 2017 at Rochester Art Gallery

Enjoy an exhibition of contemporary printmaking inspired by the historic prints of the Battle of Medway on display at the Guildhall Museum.


Arrival of British and Dutch naval ships

Wednesday 7 June 2017 in Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

Watch as the Royal Navy and Dutch Navy ships begin to arrive, mooring in Basin 2 of the Chatham Maritime.


Civic event

Thursday 8 June 2017 at Chatham Historic Dockyard

The event will be attended by two high profile VIPs from the UK and the Netherlands. The warships will be moored in Chatham Maritime (Basin 2) from 7 to 12 June 2017. Civic events are not open to the public and are invitation only.


Arrival of the first Dutch sailing yacht fleet

Thursday 8 June 2017, around 11am

Over 100 visiting Dutch yachts arrive for the festival at around 11am. Salute sail by Upnor Castle. The fleet is to include some interesting vessels including the Morgenster, the Iris, the Urania and the George Stephenson.


Battle of Medway international exhibition

Thursday 8 June to 3 September 2017 at the Historic Dockyard Chatham

A temporary exhibition which tells tale of the Battle of Medway through Dutch and British contemporary art, literature, historic manuscripts and extraordinary objects. The formal opening will take place as part of the Civic Event on 8th June so see it whilst you still can!


Battle of Medway exhibition

Thursday 8 June 2017 at Upnor Castle

This is a permanent addition to the castle’s interpretation of the Battle of Medway. A formal opening event will take place at 11am as part of the Battle of Medway Civic Event.


Exhibition at Medway Archives Centre

Thursday 8 to 18 June 2017 at the Medway Archives Centre

Exhibition exploring Medway during the 1660’s with books, manuscripts and local documents including excerpts from Samuel Pepys' diary.


Visits to historic vessels

Thursday 8 to 17 June 2017 at Gillingham pier and other river locations

Many of the local and visiting Dutch heritage vessels will be open to the public throughout this period at Basin 3.


Dutch tile painting

Thursday 8 and 10 June 2017 at Eastgate House

Come along to Eastgate House where we will be holding two Dutch tile painting workshops: one for adults in the evening of 8 June and one for families.


Medway sports festival

Thursday 8 to 17 June 2017 at locations across Medway

A varied programme of sporting events with an Anglo-Dutch theme, culminating in a spectacular Amsterdam to Medway Bike Ride. More details to come.


Mini Youth Games (football)

Thursday 8 June 2017 at locations around Medway

The games are open to pupils from every primary school in Medway and invitational schools. 


The Dutch are Coming! Writing fact and fiction about the Anglo-Dutch wars

Thursday 8 June 2017, 7.30pm at Gillingham Library

J D Davies, a naval historian author will also give a talk and reveal the reasons why the two countries went to war with each other three times. He will also talk about his acclaimed series of naval fiction set during the wars, the Journals of Matthew Quinton ('a series of real panache’ - The Times).


Dickens festival

Friday 9 to 11 June 2017, 10am to 6pm each day in Rochester

The Dickens Festival is a major, three day event in  which celebrates the life of the famous English author. Watch Rochester High Street come alive with colourful characters, parades, talks and readings.


Army vs Navy football match

Friday 9 June 2017

The Armed Forces will be taking part in our own ‘Dutch Battle as the British Army take on the Dutch navy in a friendly football match. With both teams being highly competitive and pride up for stake, you can bet the traditional rivalry between Army and Navy will be in full force. To be confirmed.


Royal Marine band and Dutch Royal Marine band concert

Saturday 10 June 2017 at the St Georges Centre, Chatham

A truly Anglo Dutch concert with two marine bands.


Rowing match

Saturday 10 June 2017 at Historic Dockyard Chatham

Potential retired Dutch marines rowing match from Sheerness to the Historic Dockyard Chatham. Ending at Thunderbolt Pier at 12 noon. To be confirmed.


International handball

Saturday 10 June 2017

Handball returns to Medway with European Cup club London GD Handball taking on Dutch club KRAS Volendam in what looks to be an exciting match. Both clubs will be looking to out-do the other as London GD has international players from The Netherlands as part of their team and tensions will be high.


British and Dutch naval ships

Friday 9 to 11 June 2017 in Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

Visit the Royal Navy and Dutch Navy ships in Basin 2.


Storytelling sessions

Saturday 10 and 17 June 2017 at libraries around Medway

Story telling about the Battle of Medway at the 4 main hub libraries – Chatham, Gillingham, Strood and Rochester.


Chatham Maritime river pageant

Saturday 10 June 2017 at Chatham Maritime

Chatham Maritime comes alive with a programme of family entertainment including a funfair, food and drink, and trade stalls.


The Dutch are coming!

Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June 2017, 10am to 5pm at Upnor Castle

The Dutch are Coming! is a family-friendly living history event depicting the events of 1667 when the Dutch sailed up the river to attack the English fleet at anchor. Members of Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote will delight, entertain and educate visitors, bringing the castle to life with their encampment. Living history activities and demonstrations will take place throughout the weekend with a printing press, canon displays, cooking, drill displays, weaving and children’s drill fun.


Print your own badge or magnet

Sunday 11 June 2017, 10am to 5pm at Upnor Castle

During this year’s The Dutch are Coming! event, join local artist Christina Lamb for a special drop-in session to design your own Battle of Medway inspired artwork to print onto a badge or magnet. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Free, plus admission fee.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is part of the Medway Print Festival.


From Fire to Friendship service

Sunday 11 June 2017 at Rochester Cathedral

To be held at Evensong and to be combined with the Mayor of Medway’s Dedication Service with before and after from the Breda choir.


British and Dutch naval ships leave

Monday 12 June 2017 from Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

The Royal Navy and Dutch Navy ships leave Medway from Basin 2.


Knitting the Battle of Medway workshop

Monday 12 June 2017 from 10am to 6pm, workshops throughout the dayat Upnor Castle

Join artist Dan Pilcher to knit your own Battle of Medway inspired design, linked to artwork currently on display in the Upper Magazine.

Free, plus admission fee.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Painting the Battle of Medway

Tuesday 13 June 2017 at Upnor Castle

Local artist Kevin Clarkson meticulously researched the Battle of Medway to create several new paintings of the events at Upnor in 1667 for our anniversary commemorations this year. Join Kevin on site for a demonstration of how he developed and painted the images. 

Free, plus admission fee.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


3D Battle of Medway

Wednesday 14 June 2017, 10am to 6pm, workshops throughout the day

Join designers from MIRU3D to learn all about how a 3D model was created of Upnor Castle in this anniversary year.

Free, plus admission fee.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Medway schools giant chain

Wednesday 14 June 2017 at locations across Medway

Schools from across Medway meet up to link together in a massive chain representing the chain used in the Battle of Medway to try and stop enemy warships.


Arrival of second Dutch yacht fleet

Wednesday 14 June 2017

A further 100 Dutch yachts arrive for the festivities.


Painting the Battle of Medway: illustrated talk

Thursday 15 June 2017 at 7.30pm at the Guildhall Museum

Local artist Kevin Clarkson gives a talk about how he meticulously researched the Battle of Medway to create several new paintings of the events at Upnor in 1667 for our anniversary commemorations this year.

Tickets £3 (available from the Guildhall Museum).

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Medway Design and Regeneration Awards

Friday 16 June 2017

An awards ceremony to celebrate the excellent construction projects across Medway in the last 10 years. Including investments in a new rail station, new and modern projects of homes and leisure facilities. This with the regeneration plans for many areas in Medway shows that the programme isn't slowing down. By invitation only.


Rhythm & Blues event

Friday 16 June 2017 at Chatham Historic Dockyard

A Rhythm and Blues musical event will make Chatham Historic Dockyard come alive with the sound of music.


Medway in Flames

Saturday 17 June 2017 at locations around Medway

A major public event with Upnor Castle as the backdrop, depicting the Dutch Raid on the River Medway and Chatham Dockyard. The ‘foot-print’ for the event will include the water basins at St Mary’s island, the Ship & Trades, the Outlet Centre, Chatham Historic Dockyard and Upnor Reach.

The day starts:

2.00pm onwards – General activities such as fairs, stalls, food and drink – Basin 2

4.00pm – 9.00pm – Live English and Dutch folk music on stage, walkabout entertainment – location tbc

5.30pm - 6.00pm (subject to tides) – Anglo Dutch River Pageant

6.00pm-8.00pm – a variety of water activities opposite Upnor castle such as Fly Boarding, Jet Ski displays

9.30pm-10.30pm – Medway in Flames Spectacular finale.

The finale depicts the events leading up to the raid on the Royal Dockyard at Chatham, Upnor Castle and the ships of the English Royal Navy anchored on the River Medway. Celebrating 350 years of friendship and co-operation between our two nations since the conclusion of the Anglo-Dutch wars, Medway in Flames will be a sensational finale to our festival of cultural, sporting and educational events.


Medway Big Ride

Saturday 17 June 2017

The Medway Big Ride was launched in 2014 to encourage Medway to get on their bikes! It offers opportunities for all ages, from experienced endurance cyclists to young children and non cyclists. Incorporating sportives, run by our partner Evans, family rides to childrens’ races and trails. New for this year is the Brompton Challenge, Yedoo Scooters, pump tracks and  gravity trick shows.


Anglo-Dutch fencing match

Saturday 17 June 2017, 10am and 5pm at the Historic Dockyard Chatham

The Tenterden Swords Fencing Club (home of numerous national and Commonwealth champions) will compete against the Pallos fencing club of Utrecht in the spectacular Slip No.3.


Ghost hunt

Saturday 17 June 2017, 8pm to 2am at Fort Borstal

Experience a night of ghost hunting with the Fort Borstal Ghost Hunt and participate in this paranormal investigation from 8pm to 2am.


ArtsFest

Saturday 17 June 2017

A free one-day festival to celebrate everything creative in Medway. The event will incorporate a huge range of activities from live music, poetry and spoken words to dance events like belly-dancing and hoop work. There will also be alternative street theatre, visual arts, martial arts, open studios, free creative workshops and an artisan market.

(Actual activities and timings tbc).


Samuel SqueaksTake a selfie with Samuel Squeaks

Saturday 10 June and 17 June 2017

Don't miss Samuel Squeaks who will be popping up in various places to help children understand the story of the Battle of Medway.

Hear how Samuel Squeaks escaped the plague and ended up in Medway 350 years ago – you will also meet him in person. A story telling session mixed with arts and crafts – not to be missed.

Get a selfie with Samuel and share it with us on Twitter #BOM350.)


Meet a Battle of Medway Soldier

Sunday 2 July, 23 July, 4 August, 11 August, 18 August, 25 August, 27 August, 9 September & 10 September 2017, 11am, 1pm & 3pm at Upnor Castle

Local actors from Play On Words Theatre Company are delighted to introduce you to their soldier, William Webster, who was stationed at Upnor Castle during the Battle of Medway in 1667. Join our soldier on a tour around the castle as he explains what life was like here at the time of the Battle of Medway.  Tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Free, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Battle of Medway trail

Saturday 22 July to Sunday 3 September 2017 from 10am to 5pm at the Guildhall Museum

Our trail returns for the summer holidays! Take part in our trail around the museum based on the Battle of Medway exhibition for a chance to win a small prize.

80p per child, free entry to the museum.


Battle of Medway trail

Saturday 22 July to Sunday 3 September 2017 from 10am to 5pm at Upnor Castle

Take part in our trail around the castle looking for clues to find out what happened at Upnor Castle during the Battle of Medway for a chance to win a small prize.

80p per child, plus admission fee.


Foam stamp printing

Monday 24 July 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

Join local artist Christina Lamb for a special drop-in session to design your own Battle of Medway inspired artwork.

Free, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Decorate a Cannonball

Wednesday 26 July and Wednesday 2 August 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

Join our hands-on family craft activity to decorate your own cannonball – get ready to fire it at the Dutch!

80p per child, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund


Workshop with Wendy Daws

Every Wednesday from 26 July to 30 August 2017, from 10.30am to 3.30pm at the Guildhall Museum

Join our drop-in artist-led session; crafts will be based around our ‘Journey to Chatham’ exhibition, part of the Battle of Medway commemorations. No need to book. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

£2 per child, free entry to the museum.


Knitting the Battle of Medway

Friday 28 July 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

Join artist Dan Pilcher to knit your own Battle of Medway inspired design, linked to artwork currently on display in the Upper Magazine.

Free, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Design your own badge or magnet

Monday 31 July 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

Join local artist Christina Lamb for a special drop-in session to design your own Battle of Medway inspired artwork to print onto a badge or magnet.

Free, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund


Battle of Medway family crafts

From 1 August to 1 September 2017 10.30am to 3.30pm at the Guildhall Museum

Join our hands-on family craft activities based around our ‘Journey to Chatham’ exhibition, part of the Battle of Medway commemorations featuring Dutch newspaper reports of the Battle and the construction plans for the new fort at Sheerness. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Free and free entry to the museum.

The activities include:

Make a Soldier

Make a Royal Charles ship 1 August, 3 August and 4 August

Make a mini masterpiece 8 August, 10 August and 11 August

Build your own fort 15 August, 17 August, 18 August  10.30am to 3.30pm

Make your own headlines 22 August, 24 August, 25 August

Decorate a Cannonball 29 August, 31 August, 1 September


Painting the Battle of Medway

Monday 21 August & Wednesday 30 August 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm

Local artist Kevin Clarkson meticulously researched the Battle of Medway to create several new paintings of the events at Upnor in 1667 for our anniversary commemorations this year. Join Kevin on site to draw your own Battle of Medway masterpiece.

Free, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Draw a Mini Masterpiece

Friday 1 September 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm

Join our hands-on family craft activity to draw your own mini masterpiece inspired by the Battle of Medway.

80p per child, plus admission fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This activity is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.