The BFF and I decided to take advantage of our time off and head out for a little excursion to Rochester Castle. I’ve been looking for things to do around London and the surrounding countryside so when he suggested it I jumped at the chance. At less than an hour east from London, Rochester is a great spot for a day trip.
If you are going to head out by train you can leave from Kings Cross St Pancras and I suggest getting off at Strood and walking the last 15 mins. It gives you a great view of the Castle as you walk along and cross over the Medway. We also discovered a derelict Soviet era submarine sitting in mud right near the station. Don’t be put off by Strood station. It’s a about as English industrial as you can get, Rochester by comparison is quite pretty.
The Castle is a great example of Norman architecture and the Tower Keep is nearly nine hundred years old. Only the stone walls remain after a fire destroyed the inner wooden structures. The large empty space inside would have been filled with wooden flooring and you can see the notches in the stone work where the beams would have sat. One thing I didn’t expect was to see sea shells in the mortar. It turns out that this is an important part of making concrete and it prompted me to do a little bit of googling. There is a short video at the end of this post which will help you understand why the sea shells were so important.
The interior of the keep is impressive. It’s a man made stone cavern that makes you really wonder at the engineering involved in it’s construction nearly 900 years ago. I’d can’t image what it would have been like to be one of the poor sods who had to build these structures. Walls inside are meters thick and beautifully carved with fire places and decorated arches.
The Old part of the town has it’s own tourist charm with lots of cafe’s and places to eat. If you’re looking for a good spot to have lunch then Two for Thai is about the best Thai food I have had in the UK so far.