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Built to command an important river crossing, the castle built in stone by Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, in the 1080s was one of the earliest such buildings in England. In 1127 Henry I entrusted it to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who began to build the great keep – a masterpiece of medieval architecture, and the tallest such building to survive in Europe. The castle endured three sieges, including a famous assault by King John in 1215, when one corner of the keep was destroyed. Although it became redundant as a royal stronghold in the late Middle Ages and fell into ruin in the 17th century, it remains a potent symbol of medieval secular power.

If you are an English Heritage member there is no fee. However prices may vary dependent on age.

There is no on site parking however there is pay and display parking near by. Rochester train station is 1/2 mile from the castle.

Easy Access information

There is a 144 step spiral staircase leading to the top of the castle and a 50 step climb into the castle shop. Across the entire site there is a total of 215 steps. There is not wheelchair access or an adult changing area. There are accessible toilets available.

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