Fodor's Expert Review Historic Dockyard
The buildings and 47 retired ships at the 80-acre dockyard across the River Medway from Rochester constitute the country's most complete Georgian-to-early-Victorian dockyard. Fans of maritime history could easily spend a day at the exhibits and structures. The dockyard's origins go back to the time of Henry VIII; some 400 ships were built here over the centuries. Highlights include Maritime Treasures, a museum of naval artifacts including some fascinating 18th-century scale models; the Victorian Ropery, where costumed guides take you on a tour of an old rope factory, including its impressive ¼-mile-long "rope walk," where ropes are still made using old methods; and the Courtyard, part of the old Smithery (blacksmith), where special events are sometimes held, including pirate-themed fun days for kids in summer. There's also a guided tour of the submarine HMS Ocelot, the last warship to be built for the Royal Navy at Chatham. Book online for good discounts on admission.