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Historic places and attractions

When visiting Medway don’t forget to explore the many other historic sites and family focused attractions we have on offer. 

 

The Historic Dockyard Chatham

Historic Dockyard ChathamThe most complete dockyard from the age of sail anywhere in the world.

The official launch of the commemorations and the opening of the dockyard’s new exhibition begins on the 8 June and will span until the 3 September 2017. The event is an audacious story told through art, objects and manuscripts.

The Historic Dockyard celebrates the 350th anniversary of the seismic events of 1667 by teaming up with other leading lights from the world of British and Dutch maritime history to present a once in a lifetime chance to see the Battle of Medway story told through wonderful Dutch and British contemporary art, literature, historic manuscripts and extraordinary objects.

To tell the story of The Historic Dockyard Chatham is to tell of how one nation launched the world’s greatest naval power for generations to come.

It is also a place that tells the story of one of Britain’s greatest naval disasters! A story of British humiliation and Dutch daring that left the Medway in flames, the capture of the English flagship and a nation licking its wounds.

The Breaking the Chain Exhibition vividly brings the Battle of Medway story to life through art drawn from collections at The Royal Museum Greenwich, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Dutch National Maritime Museum, the Michiel de Ruyter Foundation and the British Library.

The Historic Dockyard Chatham offers unrivalled access to the ships that shaped the world, and the stories of the people who made them. From 3 June to 8 September you can discover the ingenuity and daring of the people who tried to destroy them!

 

Upnor Castle

Upnor CastleThis attractive turreted fortress, built to protect Queen Elizabeth’s warships when anchored in the Medway, is set in a picturesque village, backed by rolling wooded hills on the banks of the River Medway. Its importance matched the growth of the dockyard in Chatham. The castle played an important, but ultimately ineffective role in June 1667, when Admiral De Ruyter sailed his ships up the Medway to attack the dockyard.

To commemorate the Battle of Medway, Upnor Castle will be home to a new and exciting visual display, putting the events of 1667 into context. This interpretation will allow visitors to learn about the daring Dutch masterplan that led to a devastating naval defeat for England, and the resulting programme of ship-building that led to a golden age of British maritime supremacy.

 

Guildhall Museum

The GuildhallBuilt in 1687, the Guildhall on the High Street, Rochester is one of the finest 17th century civic buildings in Kent.

Colourful and informative displays record more than 250,000 years of Medway history. Visitors can see what life was like during the Napoleonic period by walking through a reconstruction of a Medway prison hulk and learn about the terrible living conditions the prisoners endured. They can learn about the life and works of Charles Dickens, one of England’s greatest novelists, in the Dickens’ Discovery Rooms.

The Guildhall Museum will present a special exhibition of their collection of historic Dutch prints and maps that are part of this story. They will be displayed alongside the plans of the fortifications built by the English to defend Sheerness and Chatham in the wake of this unprecedented naval disaster. Acclaimed artist Kevin Clarkson has painted a series of meticulously researched images of the Battle (one of which is shown on our front cover), and these will give a vivid recreation of the dramatic events of the day. The exhibition will run from 6 May to 12 November 2017.

There are lots of other historic sites and family-focused attractions in Medway.

 

Rochester Castle

Standing proudly on the banks of the River Medway, and a stones throw from the cathedral is Rochester Castle.

The castle is one of the best preserved and finest examples of Norman architecture in England. It was strategically important in the defence of the River Medway and in 1215 it had an important part in the events leading up to the sealing of the Magna Carta, when the castle was besieged by King John.

Spectacular views can be enjoyed from the keep of the surrounding area and each year the gardens hosts a series of events, open air concerts and theatre productions.

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