Restoration House, Rochester - inspiration for Miss Haversham's Satis House in Great Expectations

Restoration House, Rochester - inspiration for Miss Haversham's Satis House in Great Expectations

The Dickens House Museum, Broadstairs

The Dickens House Museum, Broadstairs

Kent has close links to one of Britain’s most famous authors Charles Dickens. Much of Dickensian London was obliterated by World War II bombing, but old Dickensian scenes survive aplenty in Kent around Rochester and Broadstairs. Although Dickens was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire in 1812, he spent happy childhood years in the Chatham area of North Kent at Ordanance Terrace from aged 5 to 10 until his father was imprisoned at Marshalsea debtors’ prison and the family fell on hard times.

Discovering Dickens in Kent

Dickens returned to North Kent towards the end of his life, purchasing Gad’s Hill Place at Higham on the Medway. He died here in 1870. The Kent Dickens Trail takes in many historic sites and buildings which found their way into his novels in another form.

Broadstairs, Thanet Coast

Famous ones include The Dickens House Museum at Broadstairs on the Thanet coast – inspiration for Betsey Trotwood’s house in ‘David Copperfield’ and today a museum with displays of fascinating Dickens artefacts and memorabilia including letters and original print illustrations for Dickens’ novels by Phiz.

Rochester on The Medway

Rochester on the Medway in North Kent sits at the heart of the region’s Dickens Trail. Explore the Guildhall Museum with magnificent Main Hall and Dickens Discovery Room displaying numerous personal effects and memorabilia linked to the author including his writing desk. Don’t miss a tour of Restoration House in Rochester – inspiration for Miss Havisham’s Satis House in Great Expectations. The house also played host to Charles II on his route back to London to reclaim the throne. Today this magnificent pre-civil war town house with beautiful gardens and impressive art collection is open to the public. Many historic buildings in Rochester have featured in Dickens novels including the Six Poor Travellers House (The Seven Poor Travellers in Dickens’ Christmas Story). Rochester Castle, Cathedral and Eastgate House all get a mention in Pickwick Papers.

Dickens Festivals

Festivals and events in Broadstairs and Rochester take place in summer and leading up to Christmas. Main summer Dickens festivals are in both towns annually in May/ June, with various Dickens events like Rochester's Festival Costume Sale taking place around summer festivals. Rochester also hosts an annual Christmas Dickens Festival with parade and communal carol service in early December annually.

Dickens Discovery Room, Guildhall Museum Rochester

Dickens Discovery Room, Guildhall Museum Rochester

Getting To / Where to Stay - Rochester & Broadstairs

Both these Kent Dickens towns are easily reached off main motorway links in the region including the M2 and M20 and both have stations with fast rail links to London Victoria and Charing Cross. Gatwick Airport is just 43 minutes from Rochester and the Channel Tunnel is within an hour's drive of Broadstairs and Thanet. If you are visiting for a Dickens Festival short break, it's well worth arriving car free by train - festivals are popular and parking is limited. Everything a Dickens fan could need is centrally situated in both towns including festival parades, events and Dickens museums.

Beautiful Broadstairs and Rochester contain charming period B&Bs and guest houses. In seaside Broadstairs with its award-winning beaches you will also find an excellent selection of coastal cottages and both the Thanet coast and the Medway areas offer a good choice of family friendly holiday parks. Budget and leisure hotels sit close to motorway links in the Rochester/ Medway area - ideal for quick Dickens Festival stopovers. Book your Dickens themed holiday in Kent online or direct with iknow.

Accommodation in Rochester

  • Cliffe Woods   (3.0 miles from the centre of Rochester)
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    £30
    Per person, B&B (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 131 reviews
    Rating from 131 reviews
    4 star Silver awarded guest accommodation in Cliffe Woods near Rochester. Close to great walking routes including the Heron Trails. Ideal for business and leisure guests.
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  • Cuxton   (2.9 miles from the centre of Rochester)
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    £40
    Per person Bed & Breakfast
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 54 reviews
    Rating from 54 reviews
    Superb B&B near Rochester and the North Downs Way, perfect for business or leisure. Close to M2, M20, M25 & fast rail links to London and the Continent. off-road parking and Wi-Fi.
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  • Rochester   (1.0 miles from the centre of Rochester)
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    £70
    per night B&B (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 75 reviews
    Rating from 75 reviews
    Luxury bed and breakfast in Rochester Kent, featuring stylish en-suite rooms and award-winning breakfasts. Free off-road parking and Wi-Fi. Just a stroll to Rochester High Street
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  • Higham   (3.1 miles from the centre of Rochester)
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    £30
    Per person per night B&B (2 sharing)
     
    Comfortable family run B&B in Higham with spectacular views over countryside, close to Rochester. Easy access to A2, great for business guests.
     
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  • Strood   (1.4 miles from the centre of Rochester)
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    £50
    Per Room (Amend up to 1pm on arrival day)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 800 reviews
    Rating from 800 reviews
    Large Premier Inn hotel at Rochester's Medway Valley Leisure Park, just off the M2, junction 2 with parking, restaurant, outdoor terrace and free WiFi. Cinema & restaurants onsite.
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Accommodation in Broadstairs

  • Broadstairs   (0.2 miles from the centre of Broadstairs)
    Sleeps 8
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    £728
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    Spacious multi-level apartment in Broadstairs close to a sandy beach and fantastic for a large family holiday. Private parking space. Wi-Fi internet included. Sleeps 8.
     
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  • Broadstairs   (1.2 miles from the centre of Broadstairs)
    Sleeps 4
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    £708
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
    Beautiful coastal cottage at North Foreland Lighthouse only 3 minutes' walk from the beach. Open plan with shared 1 acre garden and patio. Family facilities and pub nearby.
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  • Broadstairs   (1.2 miles from the centre of Broadstairs)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £708
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
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    Rating from 2 reviews
    Fabulous family friendly coastal cottage at North Foreland Lighthouse near Broadstairs. Shared 1 acre lawned garden and luxury open plan living space. Beach and pub nearby.
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  • Broadstairs   (0.4 miles from the centre of Broadstairs)
    Sleeps 4
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    £305
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    This ground floor apartment in the town of Broadstairs sleeps four people in two bedrooms.
     
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  • Broadstairs   (0.2 miles from the centre of Broadstairs)
    Prices from
    £85
    per double room per night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 109 reviews
    Rating from 109 reviews
    Award-winning B&B in Broadstairs just 5 minutes' stroll from the beach with four luxury en-suites, one with outdoor terrace, WiFi & locally sourced, varied breakfast. Free parking.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 109 reviews
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