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Rochester Guildhall Museum


Rochester Guildhall Museum

The Making Of Dickens Banner

Rochester Guildhall Museum


Rochester Guildhall Museum

Heritage and Gardens
Heritage and Gardens

Welcome to the Guildhall Museum, where you can discover the amazing history of the Medway area within one of the finest 17th century buildings in Kent.

It’s also fun, friendly, and free!

The Rochester Guildhall was built in 1687 and incorporated a courtroom and council chamber, which later featured in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. The museum was founded in 1897, in honour of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. It was first set up in Eastgate House further along the High Street and was moved into the Guildhall in 1979.

Our collections tell the story of Medway from its Roman origins to the present day.

As you explore the museum you can:

  • Climb the grand staircase to the magnificent Main Chamber, with its elaborate plaster ceilings and vast paintings of notable Medway figures
  • Discover the sights and sounds of Rochester Castle under siege 1218
  • Visit our new permanent gallery, The Making of Mr Dickens where you can journey with the great author from his childhood in the Medway area to becoming the world’s most celebrated writer.
  • Step aboard a full-size reconstruction of part of a 18th century Medway prison hulk.
  • Touch a 200,000-year-old axe
  • See the most complete set of 18th century cabinet maker’s tools in the world.

We also have an education programme and lots of activities on offer for children of all ages.

You can even get married here, in the majestic setting of the Main Chamber.  

Click on the links below to find out much more about The Guildhall Museum.

We look forward to welcoming you very soon.

What's On at the Guildhall Museum

The Making of Mr Dickens Exhibition at Rochester Guildhall Museum

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the new exhibition

The Making of Mr Dickens

An exciting new permanent exhibition on Charles Dickens has been officially opened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall at the Guildhall Museum.

The famous author Charles Dickens' childhood years that he spent in Rochester and Chatham greatly influenced his future life and career, and it was his fondness for the area which later brought him back to live here as a global superstar. Many of his characters and stories are set in the Medway area, but what do we really know about the man behind Great Expectations, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist?

The Making of Mr Dickens is a new permanent exhibition. Visitors can enjoy an exciting and immersive journey through Dickens’ life in Medway, while exploring the people and places which shaped his complex personal and public life and inspired him to create some of the best- loved stories in English literature.


Weddings at the Guildhall

Located in the heart of Rochester, The Guildhall is bursting with character and charm, creating a truly captivating setting for your ceremony.
The Guildhall chamber is a fine example of 17th century interior decoration, with its magnificent painted plaster ceilings and large decorative oil paintings. The stunning red-carpeted, sweeping staircase leads you to the chamber entrance where you will be spellbound by the grandeur of this historic venue. The glittering chandeliers offer the perfect soft ambience for your ceremony.

Find out more about getting married at the Guildhall. 

Opening Hours

The Guildhall Museum is open to visitors 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday.

For your safety when visiting us, hand-sanitiser stations are provided at the museum’s entrance.


Free Admission


Guildhall Museum, High Street, Rochester ME1 1PY


Opening Times

Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Coaches welcome
Conference / Meeting facilities
Gift shop
Groups welcome
Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs welcome
Guided tours