Rochester is an English town overlooking the River Medway in the county of Kent, some 30 miles west of London. The town boasts a cathedral dating back to the 7th century and a castle from the 11th century. Charles Dickens spent some of his boyhood in Rochester, and used locations in and around the town as settings in his novels. Rochester has only a handful of hotels that encompass budget to mid-range options.
The Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel
Set in a former coaching inn with a history dating back 400 years, the Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel is in the heart of Rochester, a few steps from the cathedral and the castle. Once simply the Bull, the hotel lengthened its name after Queen Victoria visited in 1836. The on-site Swank! Restaurant serves British and European dishes. Nearby alternative dining options include the Atrium, which serves British and Mediterranean dishes, and Elizabeth’s of Eastgate, which offers a classic French menu.
Gordon House Hotel
The Gordon House Hotel is in the center of Rochester, across the street from the cathedral, and occupies a 17th-century property. The on-site restaurant serves an English menu, and the nearby Singapora, an associated business, offers dishes from Nepal, Thailand and Malaysia. The hotel’s Cathedral Bar, set at street level, offers drinks and snacks. Two minutes’ walk from the Gordon House, the Rochester Guildhall Museum focuses on local history and includes the Charles Dickens Discovery Room.
The family-run Greystones B&B occupies a Victorian house 10 minutes’ walk from Rochester Cathedral. Breakfast includes the usual cooked items plus a choice of fresh fruit, cereals, English muffins, crumpets and croissants. For other meals, the Grandma Thai Restaurant and the Cumin Club, which features a sophisticated Indian menu, are both within 10 minutes’ walk. Guests looking for an after-meal drink can try the Two Brewers pub, which serves traditionally brewed ales, stages regular live music and dates from the 17th century.
Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham Hotel
Set on the border of the towns of Rochester and Chatham, the Holiday Inn Rochester-Chatham Hotel is a 10-minute drive from Rochester Castle. The on-site health club includes an indoor swimming pool, sauna and fitness equipment. The hotel restaurant, Traders, serves British classics. The Robin Hood Pub, a short drive from the hotel, offers a menu with international choices and traditional British dishes in a family-friendly pub atmosphere. The Holiday Inn is a 15-minute drive from Capstone Farm Country Park, where activities include hiking, fishing, cycling and horse riding.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images