One of the reasons I love where I live is because I live on the doorstep of such a beautiful city, steeped in history. Rochester has major links to Charles Dickens, has a castle, an array of fantastic shops and is next to the River Medway. There are three major festivals during the year which I always enjoy, too. These are the Sweeps Festival, the Dickens Festival and the Dickensian Christmas Festival/Market. Last weekend was the Dickens Festival and we made sure we squeezed it into a super busy weekend.
What is there to do?
There are all sorts of tents with Charles Dickens related things in, such as Victorian artefacts. There was also a very thought-provoking set up of how the poor in London lived at that time.
There was also a story teller dressed as Charles Dickens.
At the festivals in Rochester, there is always a fair with lots of rides. There was also the traditional hook-a-duck stall. I decided to take part and won Autumn a doll which she was very pleased with.
One of my most favourite parts of the festivals is the stalls. They’re a great place to buy birthday and Christmas presents for people! There is a huge variety too. From homemade cookies, jam and chutneys, to baby clothes, jewellery, cuddly toys and garden ornaments, there is something for everyone.
Another of my favourite parts of these festivals, are the people in Dickensian dress. I’ve wanted to dress up for many years, but am unsure where to source a costume. It doesn’t help that I’m a difficult size to dress! Still, I was glad I wasn’t in Victorian dress at the weekend as it was so hot. If I was baking in a t-shirt and shorts, I think I’d have keeled over in layers of petticoats. I didn’t get many photos, but I did have my picture taken with a wonderful Queen Victoria!
There was no music in the castle grounds, apart from the fair. However, as you venture down the hill there was a brass band near to the cathedral, as well as more stalls.
Meanwhile, in the High Street, we saw some people playing bagpipes.
The entertainment carries on throughout the day. I regret that it was such a busy weekend, as we missed the parades in which everyone in Victorian dress walks down the High Street from the Star Hill end. This also often includes Morris dancers and bagpipes.
What is there to eat?
There are always lots of stands in the Castle grounds to get food from, mostly fast food. However, these businesses are all from out of town and I prefer to support local businesses when I can. Bruno’s Bakes and Coffee, Mrs Tickit’s Pantry and The Quills are all only a short walk away.