I’ve been itching to get out for a ride on my scooter again but lately the weather just hasn’t been cooperating. We finally had a calm and clear day on Saturday so I took the opportunity to ride to Rochester Castle, about a 40 minute trip from home. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own wheels - you can still get to Rochester via Southeatern trains from St Pancras International.
The castle is looked after by English Heritage so if you have an English Heritage pass it’s free to visit, otherwise the entry fee is £6.20. One of the great things about Rochester Castle is that it’s still open every day throughout winter (except for a few days around Christmas and New Year). A lot of other English Heritage properties either close down completely during the winter months or only open on weekends.
Unfortunately there’s no free parking available on site but there are a few pay and display car parks dotted around the town. If you’re on a motorbike/scooter, the Cathedral Car Park has a dedicated motorcycle bay and is only a short walk from the castle.
Rochester Castle is one of the best-preserved castles of its kind - it’s over 800 years old and one of the oldest surviving Norman castles in England. During the late medieval period it helped protect England’s south-east coast from invasion but as well as being a defensive building, it was also a royal residence.
There’s not much left on the inside of the castle, but you can walk around the inner walls and up the stairs to the top where you’ll have panoramic views over Rochester and the surrounding areas.
After exploring the castle I decided to pop across the road to take a peek inside Rochester Cathedral. It’s not as grand as some other cathedrals I’ve seen but it’s free to enter and if you’re in the area it’s worth stopping by.
On my way to the castle from the car park I had spotted a little restaurant serving crepes and waffles called Crepe & Co and I couldn’t resist stopping by for a crepe before my journey back to London. I had a crepe with hazelnut chocolate, strawberries and banana and it was delicious! The staff were incredibly friendly as well.
I’ll definitely come back to this area again later in the year as I want to visit the nearby Upnor Castle (currently closed until April).
I’m on the hunt for more castles and historic sites that I can visit in a day from London that are actually open in winter. If you have any suggestions or recommendations please let me know in the comments.