Medway is proud of its association with the writer Charles Dickens and the Dickens Festival has celebrated these lasting connections every year since 1978.
The Rochester area was the inspiration for many of Dickens' greatest works. Indeed, Restoration House in Rochester was Satis House in Great Expectations, where Miss Havisham lived.
Charles Dickens spent five of his childhood years in Medway from 1817 to 1822. He was a national legend when he returned for the last 13 years of his life, dying at Gads Hill in 1870.
Over the years, the festival, held over the first weekend in June, has grown and evolved to become what it is today - a spectacular event of colour, costume and entertainment. Thousands of visitors soak up the Victorian atmosphere.
Costumed passengers are transported from and to Rochester Pier aboard the paddle steamer Kingswear Castle and by train on the Pickwick Express to London's Victoria Station and back to Rochester Station.
During the festival there are colourful parades each day, which make their way through central Rochester.
The Dickens Festival is a colourful spectacle of music, dance, drama and street theatre that has rightly earned its place in the south-east tourism calendar as one of the key events of the summer.
Official Website: http://www.medway.gov.uk/index/leisure/events/dickensfestival.htm
Added by sjnewton on January 19, 2008