Positioned near the confluence of the Thames and the River Medway, this posh town has a history of Roman, Saxon, and Norman occupation, all of which have left architectural remains, including the vast castle at the town center. Novelist Charles Dickens called Rochester home for more than a decade, until his death in 1870, and would sometimes walk here all the way from London. You can take things at a much easier pace by strolling through the gardens of the Swiss-style chalet where he wrote. Every December the city hosts the Dickensian Christmas Festival.

Across the river from Rochester is Chatham, with a noted maritime museum and the Dickens World theme park.

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