At the weekend my mum, aunt, nan and I went for a day trip out to Rochester’s Dickensian Christmas Markets. The coach trip itself was actually run by a company called Omega Holiday’s and I can’t say that I was overly impressed with the service. My dissatisfaction with them was largely due to the fact that the coach arrived at the pick-up point 30 minutes late but also that the driver then allowed everyone to get on board before telling us we had allocated seats which resulted in everyone having to shuffle around on the coach to find the place we were supposedly meant to be sitting in and then once we eventually arrived at our destination there was absolutely no information given as to where we were or how to get to the market, we were simply told the coach would be returning at 5pm (lot of good that is if you can’t find your way back there).
However, the actual day (ignoring the coach trip) was wonderful. Rochester on its own looks beautiful, the architecture of the buildings and the streets is just wonderful and as soon as we arrived we headed into a little cafe for some breakfast. Our table was situated right next to the fireplace, the decor was so quaint and lovely and from what I saw there were loads of cafes like this all down the high street!
The day itself is an event that has been held annually since 1988 in honour of Charles Dickens’ life. Not long after we had arrived there was a parade held on the high street and it was the best procession I’ve seen in a very long time, it beats my towns yearly carnival by miles! There were musical performances, characters from Dickens’ stories and the age range was incredible, it was so nice to see that everyone really takes pride in this day. Not to forget they were all in costume and after speaking to a few ladies later on in the day we found out that most of the locals actually hand make their outfits specifically for this day each year which is incredible after having seen the amount of detail that some of the womens dresses had!
We spent the day wandering around the markets, I picked up a few bits and pieces for Christmas presents which was perfect as a lot of the gifts are handmade and I love that this means the gifts I will be giving out this year have a nice little unique twist to them now. The main market is actually situated in the castle grounds, with the river behind it and the Cathedral just to the left so it had a perfect view whichever way you looked, they definitely couldn’t have picked a better location. The town and the locals really went all out with the day which I think made it even more enjoyable. There were even snow machines situated down the streets, mulled wine and mince pies stalls all over the place, reindeer (real ones!) and fairy lights everywhere you looked just to really give it that extra Christmassy feel!
Overall I would have to say that if you ever get the chance to visit Rochester for the Christmas markets I highly recommend you, just maybe go with a different coach company because I know that is what I will be doing in the future!