Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Kent Cruising - 30 May 2009

Restoration HouseRochester's Restoration House, the finest pre-Civil War town house in England, is only open to the public one Saturday a year, on the day of the Rochester Dickens' Festival.

We parked in the nearby town of Stroud and walked the short distance over the Medway bridge, Victorian Bellesand entered Rochester on foot. It seemed as if the whole town was out in their Dickens' finery, thoroughly entering into the spirit of the occasion.

Restoration House is still a private dwelling, and the name dates from the era of Charles II and the restoration of the monarchy. Charles stayed as a guest here, before being crowned King of England.

Miss Haversham and companionThe house is probably better known as Satis House in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the home of Miss Havisham. We saw 'her' in the high street, which was probably why she wasn't home when we visited.

The house is amazing. It just exudes history and has a real charm of long gone eras.Belmont Gardens Very old wood panelling, narrow winding staircases, nooks and crannies, all asking posing unanswered questions about why they are there, who has climbed them and so on.

The garden is wonderful, with an old brick wall dividing it in half, but a formal pond runs underneath the wall uniting the two halves.
Meopham GreenChilham
We Belmont Gardensfollowed this lovely garden with two other garden visits; it really was the perfect summer day for it. Ephraim Gardens spread over 10 acres, and Belmont Gardens, which comprises two walled gardens. Both were looking lovely, as were the attractive villages we encountered on the way.

We also visited some market towns and the effects of the recession were so evident in these small centres with at least ¼ of the shops empty or boarded up.

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