Monday 4 December 2017


The Dickens Festival in Rochester

When I lived in south east London I loved exploring Kent as there are so many picturesque towns to visit, filled with cobble-stoned streets, castles, homely pubs and tons of history. One of the places I particularly enjoyed going to in December was Rochester as their annual Dickens Festival was the official start of the festive season for me. However, after moving to North London I haven't made the trip down for quite a few years – until now! I've been raving about the festival to friends, family and colleagues for ages and was excited to return.

Unfortunately I didn't enjoy the festival like I used to. It has really exploded in popularity since I've last been and it was SO busy. Far too crowded for such a small town with a single high street. Sadly we couldn't see any of the stalls of the Christmas market – and we really tried. We even had to queue for about ten minutes to get a festive hot drink at a high street chain and when checking out the local shops several had a one-in one-out policy for crowd control.

That isn't to say that the entire trip was a fail, but it was definitely disappointing as it didn't live up to memories (and I've been raving about it so much that I convinced Laura to come along with me this time around 😱). Rochester itself was still a cute town to explore (we did a 45-minute walking tour from the visitor's office which was very informative about its history, the cathedral, castle and the Dickens connections) and I loved seeing the many people dressed up in Victorian clothes wandering the streets (not to mention there were actual reindeer!).

But I would recommend to visit Rochester outside of this one weekend a year when the town plays host to the Dickens Festival, so you can make the most of a visit without having to wade through the crowds. There are some delightful independent shops on the high street filled with cute home ware, stationery and gifts, and a trip down to the harbour is worth it as well (especially at sunset as my pictures below show). It's just a 45-minute train journey from Victoria Station so would make for a great day trip when you want to swap the city for a picturesque small town outing.

🎵 Listening to: Josh Groban – Happy Xmas (War is Over)
🔹 Mood: Cold

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