Medway life - Medway

There's lots to discover in Medway: the towns of Rochester and Chatham with their excellent facilities and intriguing histories; beautiful country parks and historic buildings; and riverside bars and restaurants. The student community includes students from Kent and from other universities, which creates a lively and friendly atmosphere.

History and heritage

Medway has had a dramatic and colourful history. Take The Historic Dockyard Chatham, where Lord Nelson’s flagship The Victory was built. Now renovated, the Dockyard houses University buildings, as well as small businesses and restaurants, but still retains its grand scale and authenticity, so much so that it has been used as a location for film and TV.

Rochester Castle
Rochester Castle is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in England

Rochester’s Cathedral and Castle date from the seventh century and Norman times respectively. Climb to the top of the Castle’s stone keep for amazing views of the area. The Cathedral, the second oldest in the UK, is at the heart of the city and well worth visiting. It’s also the venue for your graduation, a fitting backdrop in which to mark your achievement.

The annual Dickens Festival celebrates the legacy of one of Medway’s most famous inhabitants, Charles Dickens. Dickens lived in the area for many years and his work features the iconic Marshes as well as locations in Rochester.

Arts and culture

If you love films, multi-screen cinemas in Chatham and Rochester offer reduced tickets for students. The Central Theatre in Chatham offers a full programme of music, theatre and comedy, while the Brook Theatre acts as a cultural hub for the area, offering dance and theatre classes and arts workshops.

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Olivia Geohagen

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Shops and restaurants

Rochester offers a mix of well-known high-street names and independent shops and cafés; it’s worth exploring its ancient streets as there is lots to discover. The Pentagon shopping centre and the Dockside retail outlet in Chatham also combine well-known names with more local shops.

You can choose from a whole host of international dishes offered in Rochester city centre. Or, why not eat by the waterfront at one of the many restaurants available in the Dockside shopping outlet, or overlooking the River Medway. Try the Ship and Trades, its stylish modern design makes it a great place to dine, drink and stay in Chatham.

Sport and leisure

Medway Park 25m swimming pool
The 25m swimming pool at Medway Park

The sporting facilities in Medway are excellent. Swim at Medway Park’s 25-metre swimming pool; enjoy ‘winter sports’ on the dry ski slope and toboggan run; visit the ice rink; test your reflexes at the go-karting circuit; or bounce your way to fitness at the Olympic-standard trampoline centre. There is an 18-hole golf course nearby and the Arethusa Venture Centre offers a great climbing wall and, making the most of the location, sailing activities. There is also a fantastic football centre, Kicks.  

If you enjoy woodland walks or cycle rides and nature trails, nearby Buckland Lake Reserve and Capstone Farm Country Park are free to enter. Also, the beautiful countryside of the Riverside Country Park is a great place to relax.


Medway has a thriving music scene with live bands performing at venues such as The Eagle Tavern, The Ship Inn and the Tap ‘n’ Tin. For clubbers, MooMoo Clubrooms in Gillingham or Strawberry Moons in nearby Maidstone offer a good night out.

The local region

Throughout history Medway’s location has ensured its strategic significance. Close to London, next door to Kent – ‘the garden of England’ – and with easy access to mainland Europe, it makes a great base for the curious.

Medway is an urban area but also has wonderful country parks and walks by the river. For serious retail therapy, take the bus to Bluewater, one of the largest shopping malls in the country.

Medway’s history is all around you: in the impressive renovated Dockyard site in Chatham, and in Rochester’s stunning castle and cobbled streets. If you want to explore further afield, visit Leeds Castle with its Norman, Medieval and Tudor heritage or Dover Castle’s secret wartime tunnels.

The region has excellent facilities for sport, but if you'd rather watch, you can see league football at Gillingham or support the local ice hockey or rugby league teams.

The Medway region