Rochester location guide

About Rochester

From the campus, you can take a stroll down the hill into Rochester and discover what the beautiful town has to offer. It may be a small town but it's certainly big in character – with loads of activities on your doorstep, this location is perfectly suited to the student lifestyle.

Rochester at a glance…

  • Only 40 minutes to London by direct train into Charing Cross, St Pancras or Victoria
  • Tight-knit student community
  • Hub of creative arts organisations
  • Great place for a night out.

Rochester is an historic town with a modern twist. Charles Dickens lived here for much of his life, and you’ll find places that pop up in his books still sitting among the town’s characterful streets, shops and ancient buildings today. 

You’ll be bowled over by the energy and creativity radiating from its vibrant arts and music scene, too. Through exciting and inspiring events and exhibitions, local creative talent is nurtured and residents and visitors can revel in a range of inspiring and innovative arts and cultural experiences.

You can spend your free time strolling around the local flea market or heading down to the river for some water sports.

By night, Rochester’s impressive selection of bars and clubs becomes the main attraction for the student community. As the mood takes you, head to a wine bar with a lively vibe, sink into a comfy sofa in a cosy lounge or hang out at a grungy pub with live music. Or you can wrap up the night dancing to the resident DJ set at the best club in town – the choice is yours.

Leisure and the arts
Whether its arts, dance, exhibitions, lectures, festivals, music, theatre or film, you’ll find your tastes are catered for. With over 30 days of free festivals and over 600 events every year, Rochester and its neighbouring towns will keep you fully entertained. Browse Visit Medway for a full listing of events. 

UCA Rochester is at the centre of a busy community of creative arts initiatives. Organisations such as Nucleus Arts and The Deaf Cat Gallery and Studios produce, promote and retail the very best in contemporary design, craft and media, making Medway a phenomenally vibrant centre for all creatively minded people.

Medway’s Arts Development Team also stages the annual Fuse Medway Festival which transforms the streets and open spaces with free arts events.

Getting around
Rochester town is pedestrian friendly and has a network of on-road, off-road and green cycle routes. Regular trains run from Rochester to London St Pancras and Victoria, taking only 40 minutes, and there are regular bus services to the nearby towns of Chatham, Gillingham and Strood. You’re also only a short bus, train or car journey from Maidstone. 

Ebbsfleet International station is just 20 minutes away by car, making it easy to take a trip to the continent in just a couple of hours.

Eating out
Whether you’re after cheaper eating options, afternoon tea or something a bit more chic, Rochester offers plenty of enjoyable off-campus choices.      

Looking for the best roast? A spice sensation? An ‘all-you-can-eat’ feast? Take a look at websites like TripAdvisor for some great reviews, and useful info on prices and opening times, for some of the more popular haunts. 

Rochester is unique in its absence of usual high-street names. Instead it offers a wide choice of independent speciality shops and boutiques.

If you prefer a more modern retail experience, there’s a popular shopping centre only a ten-minute walk away. It’s also well worth making the 30-minute trip to Bluewater, where three distinct shopping malls boast stylish, chic and urban stores along with restaurants, cafés and bars catering to every taste. 

Sport and recreation
Adventure sports, dance and fitness, swimming, cycling, walks in the country – there are so many ways to get active in the area.

Check out the Medway Council website for details of the leisure centres, clubs, activities and walking and cycle routes available to you.

Additional info:

The official Visit Medway website is packed with useful information about the area - events, places to visit, where to eat and drink and special offers. 

When in town, you could also pop into the award-winning visitor information centre – a great excuse for visiting the art gallery and craft case on the ground floor while you’re there.