The Battle of Medway celebrations marks the 350th year of the Battle of Chatham or ‘Tocht naar Chatham’ where the Dutch Navy sailed up the River Medway and launched a daring attack on the English Royal Navy engulfing them in flames.
The celebrations organised by Medway Council and the Chatham Historic Dockyard sees an exciting programme of events across Medway 8-17th June 2017 centred on Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham with a grand finale Medway in Flames on the last night.
Getting Close to the Action
The main attractions will be the Chatham Historic Dockyard which sits on the banks of the River Medway. The Dockyard is hosting a one off exhibition which will explore the battle from a contemporary perspective using items of significance borrowed from Dutch and UK National Museums. On the opposite side of the river, Upnor Castle will unveil an exciting new Heritage Lottery Funded Battle of Medway gallery.
Escape the bustle of the celebrations and head out to the Medway peninsula. This often forgotten part of Medway is home to Cliffe Woods RSPB Bird Reserve. If you fancy heading out further there is a Thames and Medway Estuary walk on the Isle of Grain, a pretty village with a nice pub you can kick back and relax in afterwards.
A little nearer to the celebrations is the village of Hoo a peninsula village complete with a pretty church, leisure centre and a host of facilities, cafes and shops. It is also home to the newly opened Hoo Peninsula ‘Great Expectations’ walk which will allow you views across the River Medway from a different point and one which most visitors won’t know about!
Also out on in the peninsula is the Heron Trail. Cyclists will love a pleasant pedal out on the trail giving you some much needed time out to enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Medway and the bird and wildlife that resides in this peaceful area. If you are staying in the area for a few days, and you love the outdoors this should be on your to do list! If you’re looking to make a weekend of it check out Visit Kent’s itinerary and find out all you need to know about this wonderful historic event.
A Feast of Fun
In Rochester the much loved annual Dickens festival will take place 9-11th June 2017 right in the heart of the celebrations. As well as some wonderful River Medway views from the heights of the Cathedral Castle Gardens there will be a great opportunity to explore the High Street which is full of independent shops and cafes. The delightful Guildhall Museum in Rochester High Street is also hosting a special exhibition of contemporary Dutch prints showing men who fought in the Battle. It’s free to enter and is a delight to look around!
If you fancy a bit of on River action you can choose to take a thrilling river boat tour with Jetstream Tours that will focus on the Dutch raid. These 2 hour commentated tours last for 2 hours and will give you a river view point of Medway’s historical attractions allowing you to get close to the action and battle epicentre.