Earlier this month I had a lovely time exploring Rochester, a historic town much loved by Charles Dickens, with friend and fellow blogger Emily from Fashioneyesta. It was great to see each other again, having not had the chance to meet up for quite a while, and it was wonderful to meet her new guide dog Rosie too. So we had fun looking around together.
We started by having a look around the cathedral, which has very nice architecture and stained glass windows, and a little museum in the crypt downstairs. The staff were very friendly as well, and told us some interesting history about the place, including how pilgrims would walk up the stairs on their knees! There are more photos of the cathedral on my Instagram.
We then had a good look around some of the many shops in the high street. The most impressive was Baggins Book Bazaar, the largest rare and second-hand bookshop in England. It’s genuinely like a Tardis, as the size of the entrance is extremely deceiving. It goes on forever once you get inside, and I’m convinced you’re no longer in Rochester by the time you find the back of it! We kept finding new doors and staircases to other rooms all over the place, all with shelves full of books on all manner of topics, and several books written by or about Charles Dickens himself of course. We didn’t buy anything, but we enjoyed poking around a lot, and it is an absolute treasure trove if you’re a keen bookworm.
It was also a great opportunity for Emily to test out her OrCam Read, which had been sent to her as a promotional gift. It’s a pocket-sized camera that translates printed text into speech, and I got the impression it was pretty quick and accurate. See Emily’s instagram post for more details, using photos that I took of her on the day.
We also went into a shop called Kiss Kiss Heart, which had lots of beautiful decorations, and Emily bought various things to take home. And we both ended up buying things in The Candy Bar, as they had such a wealth of tasty temptations. I got a box of Clotted Cream Fudge, a pack of Apple Crumble biscuits, and bars of Coconut Ice and Coconut Fudge Ice to take home for Mum and I, all of which has been delicious! You can see more photos of the shops on my Instagram.
For lunch we then went to a place called Peggotty’s Parlour, where we both had a delicious afternoon tea – although, as I’m not a tea drinker, I was able to substitute hot chocolate with mine. Because we were both getting the same meal, they gave us 3 varieties of sandwiches of our choice to split between us. So Emily had 4 cheese and pickle sarnies, I had 4 BLT’s (bacon, lettuce and tomato), and we shared the ham sandwiches by having 2 each. Then they brought over cakes for us to share, including 2 scones each with jam and cream (which were warm and tasty and very crumbly), a Biscoff cake each (which I’d never had before but it was nice), and then Emily had an almond slice while I had a little sponge with jam and coconut on the top. So we were both very pleasantly full by the end of it! Emily’s OrCam worked well for reading the menu too.
After that we had a little look around the Guildhall Museum, which included a section on how ships were converted into prisons after Britain lost the American colonies. The first such boat to be converted to a prison in Britain was in Woolwich, which we didn’t know. And if anyone needed to be put in solitary confinement on some of these ships, they would be put into the ‘Black Hole’ – a tiny room with barely any light and infested with vermin, while only given half rations to eat and the latrine emptied once a day. Prisoners would normally be held there for just 24 hours, occasionally 48, and there’s even a report of one imprisoned for 2 months!
We didn’t have time to look around the museum in great detail, but what we did see was very interesting. There’s a nice green Victorian postbox outside too, which we mistook for being gold at first, thanks to the light and our dodgy eyes! See my Instagram for more photos of the museum.
Then we finished by walking around the back of the castle to get a bit of air by the River Medway, before returning to the high street as the evening drew in to admire the Christmas lights, of which there are again more photos on my Instagram. It was a very nice way to finish a pleasant day, and thank you to Emily for inviting me to join her!