Once the town hall, Guildhall appears in Great Expectations as the establishment where Pip is bound as an apprentice. The building is now a museum and there are a number of rooms dedicated to Charles Dickens for you to sample, including a small recreation of his study containing items that once belonged to him. Immerse yourself in the Rochester of Dickens, watching a short film showing nearby literary sites and studying personal items from his past. This is an exciting, visual attraction that all ages will enjoy.
This house was once the home of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, on whom Dickens based much of the character of Miss Betsey Trotwood in his novel David Copperfield on. It is now a museum containing memorabilia prints, costumes and Victoriana. Tours are available and Dickens' strong link with Broadstairs can be discovered in this fun, interactive museum.
This was Dickens' inspiration for the famous house of Miss Haversham in Great Expectations, where she sat dressed in her faded wedding gown before a cobwebbed feast of mouldy food. Approach it through Vines Park, just like Pip, and marvel at its superb structure and exquisite gardens. The house and gardens can be viewed on certain days of the year, for more information look at the websitewww.resorationhouse.co.uk
7. Dickens Countryside
Surrounding the river Medway in the area of Rochester are the marshlands that appear in Great Expectations, although they are described as around the Thames in the book. If you walk the Saxon Shore Way between Hoo and Upnor, you will get a great view of the creepy marshes and experience the same unease as Pip. You will also pass the old battery; Cockham Wood Fort, which will evoke the battery where Pip and Joe meet before Pip goes to seek his fortune in London.
Cooling Church is the location of the famous opening scene from Great Expectations, where Pip visits the graves of his family. The little lozenge shaped graves which Pip stood beside can still be seen now. Visit this inspiring place, with the marshland all around you and experience the desolateness of Pip's life. This is a great, inexpensive way to get a slice of Dickens culture.
9. Dickens Festivals - Broadsairs, Medway and the Rochester Dickens Christmas Market 16-22 June Broadstairs Dickens Festival
Charles Dickens visited Broadstairs in Kent regularly from 1837 until 1859 and immortalised the town as "Our English Watering Place". In 1937, to commemorate the centenary of the author's first visit, Gladys Waterer, the then owner of Dickens House, conceived the idea of putting on a production of 'David Copperfield' and of having people about the town in Victorian dress to publicise it. Thus the festival was born and, with the exception of the years of World War 2, has been held annually in the third week of June ever since.
8-10 June Medway Dickens Festival
A spectacular event of colour, costume and entertainment. Thousands of visitors soak up the Victorian atmosphere, while parades make their way through central historic Rochester each day Newly commissioned theatrical and creative content planned to mark the bicentenary in Rochester.
Set in the beautiful grounds of Kent's Rochester Castle, overlooking the River Medway and just a few steps from Rochester's picture-postcard Victorian High Street, you can enjoy a truly festive atmosphere - traditional Christmas trees filled with twinkling fairy lights, the smell of roasted chestnuts and glühwein. Discover an array of wonderful German 'style' Christmas market huts selling a range of Christmas gifts, hand-crafted goods and festive fayre. In addition to all of this, street entertainers and Dickensian characters mingle amongst the revellers, whilst bands, and carol singers entertain visitors to the market.
In Dickens time, this was a girl's boarding school, but Dickens-lovers will recognise it as both Miss Twinkrton's school for young ladies in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and the Westgate House Seminary for young ladies in The Pickwick Papers. This was once the home of the Dickens Centre and is now a venue for weddings.
For more information on Dicken’s bicentenary celebrations in Kent go to
Charles Dickens' father, John, worked here and often brought a young Charles with him. This made a great impression on Dickens and he used the dockyard as a gloomy backdrop in many of his novels. The BBC adaptation of Little Dorrit was partly filmed here, as was the 2007 adaptation of Oliver Twist. There is a museum at the Dockyard offering fascinating information and talks on Dickens as well as general marine artefacts and reconstructed ships. This is a great, interactive attraction that will have something for everyone.
3. Gad’s Hill Place
Gad's Hill Place was the country home of Charles Dickens, where he lived until his death in 1870. Dickens first saw the estate when he was nine years old and his father told him if he worked hard enough, he might one day own such a place. After he rocketed to success, Dickens heard it was up for sale and turned Gad's Hill into his country home, entertaining many of his literary friends such as Hans Christian Anderson and Wilkie Collins there. Now Gad's Hill is a school, but it can still be viewed clearly from the road and tours can be arranged.
In 2012, Kent will be celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens. The year will bring many activities and events to commemorate the 200th anniversary of one of Britain's best loved authors. Dickens has real connections with Kent so we've compiled a Top Ten of Dickens' Destinations; places where the writer himself was inspired, and where you can be inspired to visit!
Walk into the atmospheric, Victorian world of Charles Dickens, recreated just for you! Jump aboard the Great Expectations Boat Ride for a splash with Pip, experience a real Victorian School or take a look in The Haunted House of 1859 if you dare! Seize the chance to come face to face with Dickens' best loved characters in this magnificent rendition of a Victorian town courtyard; there's something for all of the family to enjoy!