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Rochester & Chatham Docks

A visit to the City of Rochester and Chatham dockyard in glorious weather was one of the best we had had for a long time. Another Hotel stop over and a trip down the M1 & M25 on a friday was in order for the trip and we arrived in time to walk around Rochester by night. We checked out a few places to revisit in the morning and it looked like parking was going to be easy. The place gets very busy so we arrived very early next morning, in time for breakfast and some sightseeing. The city has a lot of history and is famous for being associated with Charles Dickens, there are buildings and shops alike spread all over the city all with various stories, and shops selling things that tourists will love. Dickens used the names within Rochester in many of his novels and they all can be found within the city centre, names like Restoration House, the Six Poor Travellers House and Eastgate House. Restoration House in Rochester, Medway, South East England, is a fine example of an Elizabethan mansion. It is so named after the visit of King Charles II on the eve of his restoration.
Charles had landed in Dover on 25 May 1660 and by the evening of the 28th arrived in Rochester. He was received by the Mayor and eventually retired for the night to the home of Colonel Gibbon. The following day Charles continued to London and was proclaimed King on 29 May, his 30th birthday. You can find loads of information on the net to help plan your travels around Rochester and you can easily lose many hours walking around the streets. Make sure you visit the Gardens around the Cathedral as this was a very beautiful place and also take time looking around the buildings near Minor Canon Row.

Chatham Docks

Chatham Docks
The next part of the visit was to Chatham Docks near to Rochester on the River Medway. Chatham docks is of major importance to the British Royal Navy dating back nearly 414 years. Over 500 ships were built at Chatham and it is where the most famous British warship the Victory was laid down 1759 and finally launched in 1765. We had nearly five hours looking around the docks and there is just loads to do and see for both adults and children, parking is plentiful and entry was £18.50 each and the tickets last for one year. There are three warships to visit, they are HMS Gannet 1878 - HMS Cavalier 1944 - HMS Submarine Ocelot 1962, Gannet was not bad but Cavalier and Ocelot were by far the highlights of the Dockyards, a small description follows below.

HMS Cavalier was the Royal Navy's last operational Second World War destroyer and is now preserved at Chatham as a memorial to the 142 British destroyers and over 11,000 men lost at sea during the war.

Built in 1944 at Samuel White's Isle of Wight yard, HMS Cavalier served during the war in the Arctic and the Western Approaches before joining the British Pacific Fleet as the war came to a close. Refitted and modernised in 1957 she continued to play an active role as part of the Royal Navy's Far East and Home fleets until she paid off at Chatham in 1972.

HM Submarine Ocelot was the last warship built for the Royal Navy at Chatham Dockyard. An 'O' Class diesel electric submarine, she was launched in 1962 and saw service with Royal Navy throughout the height of the Cold War until she paid off in 1991.  A normal sized crew would consist of 69 submariners, although she could carry a maximum of 80.

Please note The submarine is by a timed ticket and it is very cramped on board so be prepared for a very tight squeeze, Cavalier is fantastic to walk around and the ships condition is excellent it looks like it could be put to sea tomorrow.

Victorian Ropery
Experience life as a rope maker in Victorian times in our themed gallery and costumed guided tour. The year is 1875, the dockyard’s latest battleship HMS Alexandra has recently been launched by the Princess of Wales and the Ropery is in full production….

Our entertaining 40 minute tour gives visitors an insight into why rope was so important to the Navy in the Age of Sail and how it was made by the rope makers of Chatham. Take the opportunity to make your own rope before entering the truly impressive ¼ mile long ropewalk – where rope is still made commercially today.
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