Arriva will be running its popular Explore Medway open-top tour bus during the school half-term holiday on behalf of Medway Council.
The bus was first launched in the summer of 2013, re-establishing an open-top tour of the area after an absence of several years, and it made a return to the historic streets of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham for the summer school holidays this year, proving popular with locals and visitors alike.
In its striking purple livery and with the booming tones of actor Brian Blessed giving an amusing and educational recorded commentary that recounts 1,000 years of history, the eye-catching bus can’t help being noticed by passers-by as it links the various tourist attractions across the towns.
The forty-five-minute-long half-term tours will run between 11am and 4pm each day from Monday 27th to Friday 31st October and will start from the coach pick-up bays in Corporation Street at Rochester, behind the Visitor Information Centre. The price for the non-stop tour is great value at just £1 per person, payable on the bus.
After passing Rochester’s cathedral and castle the bus runs through Chatham and goes on to pass Fort Amherst, Chatham Historic Dockyard, Dickens World and the Royal Engineers’ Museum at Gillingham.
Arriva’s Regional Publicity Manager, Richard Lewis, said “The popularity of the Explore Medway tour that we run for Medway Council had surprised some people but the Medway Towns are steeped in history, with Rochester Cathedral being the second-oldest cathedral in the country and situated across the road from the imposing castle on its riverside location.
“The area’s Royal Naval past adds another dimension, HMS Victory having been built in Chatham Dockyard, and the towns’ strategic position on a bend in the River Medway led to other military installations being formed in other eras, such as the Napoleonic Fort Amherst and the Royal Engineers’ Museum that charts the history of the engineers by means of an enormous collection of memorabilia displayed in the imposing Ravelin Building.
“Brian Blessed is known to generations of people and his well-known voice is ideal for this sort of operation, adding interest and appeal to the tour.
“We hope that families will take advantage of the half-term break to explore Medway on the bus and that the unseasonal mild weather will be ideal for a trip on an open top bus.”
When not in use on the publicly-advertised tours, the Explore Medway bus is available for private hires and has proved popular for school and other groups to take the tour around the towns.
More details of the half-term bus tours can be viewed online on Medway Council’s website at http://www.visitmedway.org/events/explore-medway-open-top-bus-half-term-special.