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It was a real pleasure to visit the Chtham historic Dokyards on May 15th 2010 with all the family. We spent here almost 5 hours and didnt see the time running.
You'll experience that the volunteers running this living museum are really passionnate. They simply want to share their passion for boats with the visitors.
Our kids (11 & 9) loved it as we did. For sure don't miss the visit of the ropery ! it's really amazing as you see a building of over 400 meters long.
The visit to the submarine was also a great moment and we could experience how difficult the lif in submarines can be.
Nice surprise also the quality of the fish and ships at the restaurant. really great for a touristic attraction
Updated May 17, 2010
Address: The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TZ, UK
Phone: +44 (0)1634 823807
Fort Amherst is Britain's finest Georgian fortress. The fort was initially built in 1756 to provide a defense for the Chatham dockyard and in the face of the French threat between 1802 and 1811. French prisoners of war were set to work to extend the tunnels and create vast underground stores and shelters, new magazines, barracks, gun batteries and guardrooms. The fort was still in use during the Second World War, serving as a intelligence center. This area has been restored, and is currently openned to the pulic.
Due to a lack of funding, the upper part of the site is closed off, but the lower part has been restored, and is currently openned to the public. As with the Dockyard, most of the restoral work is done by a volunteer group. They not only do the restoral work but particapte in the various reenactment ceremonies. Our guide of the fort was another of these Volunteers. She did a great job giving us a background to the fort and additionally telling us of the ghosts that haunt this site. If this is your cup of tea, they offer a number of nightime spectal adventures. Not that I believe in ghost….. but we took a picture inside the tunnels that has some weird light images inside of it that I couldn’t explain.
While we were there, we were lucky enough to see a wedding ceremony inside of the tunnels followed by a cannon salute on the grounds. These cannons are manned by volunteers dressed in period garb. After hearing the cannon go off, I was ready to move out there, buy one of those little red outfits and volunteer.
Updated Oct 14, 2006
Address: ME4 4UB
Phone: 44 0 1634 847747
A Dockyard was established in Chatham on 1544 by Henry VIII and continued there for almost three and a half centuries. Today, the decendants of those shipbuilders are trying to keep its heritage alive in the form of a museum at the Dockyard. Work is slow as there is little in the form of government finance. One of the volunteers laminted to me that England is full of historic sites and most must fend for themselves. What they have done there is impressive given the lack of funding. Inside of the Dockyard are 5 sites to give us interest: the Ropery, Warships, Wooden Walls, Museum and Lifeboats.
The Ropery doesn’t jump out to one as something to have in a museum, but we found the exhibits and tour holding our interests. Rope was made onsite since 1618 and the exhibits trace the various type and materials that spanned till now. Rope is still made there, and if one is lucky, you can actually see some pretty amazing machines turning out a variety of ropes. If not, there is still the opportunity to make rope yourself.
Three warships are in various stages of restore are presented to tour: The HMS Gannet, a victorian ship of the line, HMS Cavalier a WWII destroyers and the HM Submarine Ocelot. I took the Ocelot tour twice and could have done it twice more, but the wife put a stop to it.
The Wooden Wall is a mock-up of Chatham in the 17th century. It’s not quite Disneyland, but pretty well done and it does give you a feel for the time. The Museum tells the story of the British Navy in Chatham from beginning to its end in 1984. The last exhibit there is the video of the government announcing the Docks closure. Twenty years later and it still cuts the population.
The Lifeboat museum is a large collection of past and present boats. While I am one of those unfortunate souls who gets incredible seasick, the fascination with the boats is compelling. The wife and daughter on the other hand didn’t have the same view. After the second trip there they were not amused with my fondness.
Updated Oct 11, 2006
Address: Kent ME4 4TZ
Phone: Telephone: 01634 823800,
Royal National Lifeboat Collection
Lifeboats housed in this collection range from 19th century boats, through high speed inshore boats to the Arun class all-weather lifeboat. There is a comprehensive history of the men and women who manned these boats along with several bits of equipment.
Admision:April-October open daily 10.00am-6.00pm (last admission 4.00pm)
November, February, March open Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00am-4.00pm (last admission 3.00pm)
Updated Mar 12, 2005
Phone: 01634 823800
"A castle for allseasons and one of the most romantic buildings in the land"
A great place to relax in the summer days, with a picnic and a bottle of bubbly.
Take in the grounds, visit the castle, see the ducks and the birds in the avairy and even get lost in the maze.
Written Jun 23, 2003
Address: Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL
Phone: 01622 765400
HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Tragalagar, was built on this site during 1759-65.
The old timber lined single dock, first built in 1623, was rebuilt in granite in 1840. It was further extended for the construction of HMS Mersy, the Royal Navy's longest Wooden Warship.
HMS Achilles, the first iron battleship to be built in a Royal Dockyard, also started life here in 1861.
Updated Sep 8, 2002
Rochester Cathedral is the second oldest in England.
The present building started construction under Bishop Gundulf in 1077 but the original Cathedral was built in 604 by Justus. The present building is an excellent example of Norman and early English architecture and the Crypt is considered to be one of the finest in the country. Among the many beautiful features are the carved medieval Chapter Room door, the 13th century choir stalls and wall painting and the finely carved stone heads in the North Transept.
The Cathedral was sacked by the soldiers of Simon de Montfort in 1264 and some of the graffiti left by his soldiers can still be seen on the walls of the Crypt. The Benedictine Priory of St. Andrew was refounded in 1542, the year of the dissolution of the Monasteries as the Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. People have worshipped here for fourteen centuries and the Cathedral currently serves the Diocese of Rochester which covers 200 parishes and over 1 million people
Written Sep 8, 2002
Address: Next door to the Castle
HMS Cavalier was the last W.W.II Royal Navy destroyer in service and is the only ship of her kind left in Britain.
During her long career she was awarded the Battle Honour 'Arctic 1945' and once held the title of 'The Fastest Ship in the Fleet'. After an impressive 27 years of service, Cavalier finally paid off at Chatham in 1972. Now she offers a rare opportunity to experience the harsh realities of life at sea and the sacrifices made by the men who served on destroyers.
Written Sep 8, 2002
HM SUBMARINE OCELOT
H.M. Submarine Ocelot was launched at Chatham during the tense years of the Cold War. Her silent engines made Ocelot perfect for secret missions and during her first three years in commission she covered over 90,000 miles. However, her time in service remains a mystery and little information has ever been released.
Going deep inside the boat is an exciting adventure; discovering how men lived and prepared for battle under the ocean.
Written Sep 8, 2002
Rochester Castle Under Seige
Between 11th October and 30th November 1213 Rochester Castle was under seige.
A group of rebellious barons had occupied the castle and held out against an army commanded by King John himself.
More than a hundred knights and other ranks defended the castle. For seven weeks the soldiers of the King were encamped outside.
The castle was attacked by the constant fire of crossbows and five stone throwing machines. The outer wall was breached and the rebels were driven back into the keep.
Sappers were brought in to undermine the south-east tower of the keep. Their first efforts were thwarted when they came up against a massive foundation, probably the remains of the roman wall. They then excavated from the east.
The tunnel was held up with wooden props. When it was finished a fire was made to burn the props and bring down that corner of the keep. However the defenders held on until disease and starvation compelled them to surrender.
Written Sep 8, 2002