Event overview

To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway in June 2017, we will be bringing you 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

Take a look around this exhibition featuring original Dutch broadsheets and engravings from the museum’s collections.


Big purple fun run

Monday 29 May 2017, from 10am at the Marina in St Mary's Island

Join us for a fantastic fun run that will take place at the food and drink festival on bank holiday Monday. The race will begin at 10.30am at the front of the marina but make sure you arrive by 10am so you don't miss out on our fun warm up with local star, Samuel Squeaks!


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 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

Get hands-on with our family craft activity and make your own flagship – remember to keep it safe from the Dutch!


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.


Of fireships and iron

Friday 2 June to Saturday 28 August 2017 at Rochester Art Gallery and Rochester Cathedral

This event offers you a chance to see the new works by Lily Dudley, Laura Dunnage, Heather Haythornthwaite, Xtina Lamb and Adam Newton (winners of the Medway Council Arts Development Printmakers Bursary).

Five Medway based artists, all pushing the boundaries of contemporary printmaking, will be showing their work in a special split site exhibition as part of the Medway Print festival 2017.

The artists are using a collection of 18th century Dutch prints as inspiration for a new body of work that explores the location, history and stories of the Dutch raid.


Visits to historic vessels

Wednesday 7 June to 17 June 2017 at Gillingham pier and other river locations

Many of the local and visiting Dutch heritage vessels will be open for the public to visit throughout this period at Basin 2 and 3.


Arrival of British and Dutch naval ships

Wednesday 7 June 2017 in Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

Head over to watch as the Royal Navy Frigate and Royal Netherlands Navy Ocean Patrol Vessel arrive. They'll be moored in Basin 2 of Chatham Maritime for you to visit until Sunday, 12 June.

Representing the Dutch side is the impressive 108m long military ops ship, the HNLMS Holland which you'll be able to visit during the festivities.


Civic event

Thursday 8 June 2017 at Chatham Historic Dockyard

This event will be attended by VIPs from the UK and the Netherlands with the Royal Navy Frigate, Royal Marines Band, Royal Netherlands Navy Ocean Patrol Vessel and Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy taking part. The warships will be moored in Chatham Maritime (Basin 2) from 7 to 12 June 2017. All civic events are not open to the public and are by invitation only.


Arrival of the first Dutch sailing yacht fleet

Thursday 8 June 2017, around 11am at Basin 1 and 2, Chatham Maritime

See the impressive site as over 100 visiting Dutch yachts arrive for the festival at 11am and salute sail by Upnor Castle. The fleet will include some fascinating vessels including the Morgenster, the Iris, the Urania and the George Stephenson.


Breaking the Chain - the story of the Dutch Raid of 1667

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

This temporary exhibition tells the story of the Battle of Medway. The tale will be told through Dutch and British contemporary art, literature, historic manuscripts and extraordinary objects on loan from national and international museums.

The opening ceremony is an exclusive VIP event starting at 2pm in Museum Square, will host a limited public audience of 1,800 alongside numerous VIPS from the UK and the Netherlands. he ceremony will include a royal salute, speeches and a parade with performances by the combined British and Dutch Royal Marine Bands – one of the very rare occasions when they will perform together.

Get your free tickets for the formal Battle of Medway opening ceremony.


Battle of Medway exhibition

Thursday 8 June 2017 at Upnor Castle

Visit this new, permanent addition to the castle’s interpretation which illustrates the pivotal battle which took place in and around the castle itself. A formal opening event will take place at 11am as part of the Battle of Medway Civic Event.


The Dutch are Coming! Writing fact and fiction

Thursday 8 June 2017, 7.30pm at Gillingham Library

Enjoy a talk by naval historian J D Davies who'll reveal the reasons why the two countries went to war with each other three times. Hear about his acclaimed series of naval fiction 'The Journals of Matthew Quinton' ('a series of real panache’ - The Times).


British Army vs Dutch Navy football match

Friday 9 June 2017, 2pm at Garrison Football Ground, Gillingham

Watch as the British Army take on the Dutch navy in a friendly football match. With both teams being highly competitive and pride will be at stake so you can bet the traditional rivalry between Army and Navy will be in full force.


Medway print festival

Friday 9 June to 25 June 2017 at 12 venues across Medway

Take the time to enjoy the second annual celebration of all things print. The event promises to bring an exciting array of over 30 workshops, activities, talks and exhibitions to Medway, celebrating the strong local tradition of both contemporary and historic printmaking in the area.

Running for two weeks across 12 venues, the festival will showcase some of the best printmaking being created today as well as highlighting the fascinating history of the medium.


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.


Dickens festival

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

This major festival commemorates the life of Charles Dickens and celebrate his links with Medway. Watch as Rochester High Street fills with colourful characters and transforms into a Victorian themed feast of parades, readings, street entertainment and much more.


Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy Concert

Friday 9 June 2017 at the St George's Centre, Chatham

The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth and the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy will hold a concert and play several numbers together in various styles. The concert will comprise of a pleasant, musical travel through time which will take you from the 17th Century with the Great Dutchman, to Robbie Williams and Sting.


Joint Marine Bands concert

Saturday 10 June 2017, 7.30pm at the St George’s Centre in Chatham

During this evening the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth and the Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy will alternate the programme and play several numbers together. You can now get free tickets for the concert.


Dutch tile painting

Saturday 10 June 2017, 10am to 4pm

Embrace your inner artist and join us for a Dutch tile painting workshop. This event is also suitable for families.


Rowing match

Saturday 10 June 2017, 10am at Upnor Castle until 12 noon at the Historic Dockyard

Another exciting event as a team of former Dutch marines take part in the Dutch Marines Rowing Challenge on the river Medway. The event will start at Upnor Castle and finish at Nelson's Gate at the Historic Dockyard.


International handball

Saturday 10 June 2017, 3pm at Medway Park

Witness an exciting handball match between London GD Handball club and Dutch club KRAS Voldendam. This fast paced and high scoring team sport makes a welcome return to Medway and is set to be an entertaining watch. Both clubs look to outperform the other team as their competitive sides kick in and the rivalry begins.


The Dutch are Coming!

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

This family-friendly, living history event depicts 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, including a printing press, cannon displays, cooking, drill displays, weaving and children’s drill fun.


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.


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.


Knitting the Battle of Medway workshop

Monday 12 June 2017 from 10am to 6pm, workshops throughout the day 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.


British and Dutch naval ships leave

Monday 12 June 2017 from Basin 2, Chatham Maritime

Watch and wave goodbye to the British and Dutch Naval ships as they depart Medway.


Mini Youth Games (football)

Tuesday 13 June 2017 at locations around Medway

This event is open to pupils from every primary school child in Medway and invited external schools. There will be prizes awarded at each event and points are gained towards an overall mini youth games title.


Painting the Battle of Medway

Tuesday 13 June 2017, 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm at Upnor Castle

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


3D Battle of Medway

Wednesday 14 June 2017, 10.30 to 11.30am at Upnor Castle

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


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 at Chatham Maritime

Watch as a host of 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.


Medway Design and Regeneration Awards

Friday 16 June 2017

An awards ceremony to celebrate the excellent construction projects across Medway in the past 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.


Medway in Flames

Saturday 17 June 2017 in and around Chatham Maritime

Don't miss out on the spectacular finale to our festival of cultural, sporting and educational events. Featuring water screens, digital projection, pyrotechnics, special effects, funfairs and fireworks that will bring the Battle of Medway to life!


Medway Big Ride

Saturday 17 June 2017, 11am to 2pm, venues across Medway

We continue our exciting 'Big Ride' event which is open to people of all ages and any experience level so anyone can join in the fun. The event will include family rides, children’s races and trails. This event will be action packed and will include 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

Watch an exciting match between The Tenterden Swords as they compete against the Pallos fencing club of Utrecht.



Samuel SqueaksStories and crafts with Samuel Squeaks (under 8's)

Saturday 10 June and 17 June 2017, venues across Medway

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 amd 10 September 2017, 11am, 1pm amd 3pm at Upnor Castle

Local actors from Play On Words Theatre Company are delighted to introduce you to their soldier, William Webster. Webster was stationed at Upnor Castle during the Battle of Medway in 1667, so join him on a tour around the castle as he explains what life was like here at the time of the Battle of Medway.


Battle of Medway trail at the Guildhall Museum

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 at Upnor Castle

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Battle of Medway family crafts

From Tuesday 1 August to Friday 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.


Painting the Battle of Medway

Tuesday 13 June, Monday 21 August & Wednesday 30 August 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm

Local artist Kevin Clarkson has researched the Battle of Medway to create several new paintings of the events at Upnor in 1667. Get in on the action and join Kevin on site to draw your own Battle of Medway masterpiece..


Medway conference

Friday 30 June 2017, 6pm at the Royal Dockyard Church

The conference will begin at 6pm on Friday 30 June with an Open Lecture by Jeroen van der Vliet (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) on ‘The Anglo-Dutch Wars: naval archaeology, material culture and visual arts’. The Open Lecture will be followed by a Reception in the Royal Dockyard Church.


Draw a mini masterpiece

Friday 1 September 2017, 10.30am to 3.30pm at Upnor Castle

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

 

Getting to the events

The Battle of Medway is expected to attract thousands of visitors from the UK and from abroad. For this reason we recommend that you make travel arrangements using our public transport services on offer during the events.

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