Discover the Medway Towns by Bus

Visit the home of the Royal Navy

With connections to Charles Dickens, a castle, fort, historic dockyard and cathedral, there is plenty to explore in Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and beyond. 

Charles Dickens moved to Rochester when he was just 5 years old and considered it his hometown. Many of the places mentioned in his books still stand today. Take the self-guided trail to visit some of them, including the Six Poor Travellers House and Miss Haversham’s 'home'. Find out more here.

The Rochester Guildhall was built in 1687 and is one of the finest 17th century buildings in Kent. Now a museum, it brilliantly displays a timeline through Medway's history. Just a few doors down is Baggins Book Bazaar, England's largest second-hand bookshop, and on display are thousands of titles on most subjects.

Credit: Visit Kent

Literary history is just the start for Medway; non-literary history is equally as impressive. Rochester Castle proudly sits alongside Rochester Cathedral, England's second oldest cathedral, both surrounded by cobbled streets. The castle is strategically placed to guard an important crossing of the river and has a fascinating history of destruction and rebuild.  

Credit: Visit Kent

Outside of Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham are well worth a visit. The Historic Dockyard in Chatham is a great place to explore historic warships and a Cold War submarine or watch ropemakers using techniques that are centuries old.

Credit: Robert Radford

Whilst there, why not tipple in a little gin at Copper Rivet Distillery housed within the dockyard?

Credit: Visit Kent

Gillingham hosts the Royal Engineers Museum, Kent's largest military museum. Highlights include Chard’s weapons from the Zulu War, a Harrier Jump Jet and an enormous V2 rocket. The collection is so impressive, it has been designated as being of historical and international importance.

Credit: Visit Kent

A little further afield, walk through the beautiful Hoo Peninsula, with the Heron Trail and Saxon Shore Way trails. 

The Fenn Bell is Medway’s first zoo with a difference. A visit to The Fenn Bell is a must for all of the family. Not only is it home to a wonderful array of animals, whom have been rescued or transferred from other zoos, it’s also a lovely pub which serves delicious home-cooked food. To get there, just hop on the service 191 from Chatham - the bus stops right outside!

Credit: Visit Kent

Attention all foodies… The Medway towns houses some of the finest local restaurants around, from Smoke & Liquor for lunch to Brettingtons Steak and Lobster House for dinner on the same street in Rochester. Rochester’s farmer's market is held on the third Sunday of every month at Blue Boar Lane car park and offers a range of local produce from fish to meat & cheese, and more.

The Medway towns sandwiched between the River Medway and the River Thames is a great mix of ancient and modern history, great eateries and exciting things to see and do for all ages.

For amazing one or two day itinerary ideas, check out Visit Kent’s 48-hours in Medway here.

Below is a list of routes to help you get around the Medway Towns. The main routes for the attractions above are:

DestinationRoutesBus stop or postcode to use in our Journey Planner
Rochester140, 141, 190, 191 and 700The three main bus stops in Rochester are Rochester Community Hub, Rochester Rail Station and Guildhall Museum. All give access to Rochester High Street with Rochester Rail Station closest to Rochester Castle and Cathedral.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham1, 2, 101, 116 and 182101 and 182 stop at Dockyard Main Gate - the visitor entrance is a 10-15 minute walk. 1, 2 and 116 stop at Western Avenue - a short walk to the entrance. 
Royal Engineers Museum101, 116 and 182

116 stops right outside the entrance with 101 and 182 stopping at King Charles Hotel on Brompton Road, a short 5 minute walk away.

Hoo Peninsula191You can join the route at Hoo Marina. The most frequently served stop is The Five Bells, a 15 minute walk from the walking route. Some buses run to Hoo Marina, a 7 minute walk away.

Medway zone tickets offer a wide range of unlimited travel options for individuals or families. Buy yours now here.

Zone maps

Take a look at our zone maps showing bus routes and ticket zone boundaries:

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