Rochester ♥ is one of the nearest southeastern day-trip destinations from London (less than half an hour by car from Blackwall Tunnel).
The compact historic town boasts several architectural gems, some of which are closely associated with Dickens. For instance, Restoration House is the residence of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, although in the book it is called Satis House, which happens to be the name of another building in Rochester. Several of these buildings are situated along the pretty High Street, which is full of quaint little shops and varied eateries. We ventured inside some of the shops, but not inside any of the historic houses.
Instead, we stepped into the fine Cathedral ♥, which possesses a magnificent organ. The modern-looking chandeliers in the main nave (they remind me of elaborate baby mobiles) is a feature that we haven’t seen elsewhere.
We also spent some time exploring the ruins of the Castle Keep ♥. There are great views of the town from the upper levels and interesting informative displays throughout. The interactive model of the castle in its heyday does not fail to fascinate children.
Behind the cathedral and the adjoining school lies a small park, The Vines ♥. We happened along on a quiet Sunday afternoon, and found it positively serene.