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Couples are invited to create their own historic moments in unique locations as Medway reveals its hidden gems - a collection of wonderful historic venues now available for a wide range of ceremonies, celebrations and events.
With the backdrop of the finest Norman Keep in the country, the grandeur of the second oldest cathedral in England, and a packed programme of festivals, it’s easy to see why Rochester is such a great visitor destination full of history and plenty to see and do.
This bustling, charming town has been turning heads since before Charles Dickens was a boy and 152 years since England’s most famous author breathed his last in nearby Higham, it continues to impress. Listen closely and you might just hear the tap of bridal shoes and practiced speeches along the cobbled High Street.
And it is this architectural wow factor that the team in charge of some of the area’s most iconic and historical buildings are looking to tap into as a mission begins to welcome more people in search of unique venues with a difference for weddings, sit-down meals, parties and events.
Here it is possible to be king and queen for a day with a fairytale wedding at Upnor Castle, a 16th century fortress in a glorious setting overlooking the river Medway, followed by celebrations at The Rochester Corn Exchange beneath magnificent high ceilings and chandeliers – a perfect, romantic spot for a first dance together.
Built in 1706 by the splendidly named Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovel, the recently refurbished Rochester Corn Exchange has a capacity of up to 300 people, bespoke catering options and an Instagram friendly luxury décor. It can be transformed seamlessly from wedding venue to banqueting space and dancefloor.
For people looking for that unique venue with a difference, it is difficult to beat, but each one of the historic buildings available to hire has a charm of its own, ensuring plenty of options for couples planning their wedding day.
At Upnor Castle, built to protect the nearby Royal Dockyard from enemy attack, weddings take place in the former munitions store with drinks and photographs afterwards in the grounds or the castle itself. It is a wonderful location complete with yet another cobbled High Street and panoramic views.
Built in 1590, Eastgate House is a Grade I listed Elizabethan townhouse nestled at the heart of historic Rochester. England’s greatest author, Charles Dickens mentioned it in two of his most famous works, Pickwick Papers and his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and is the most perfect setting for more intimate celebrations.
Located in the heart of Rochester, The Guildhall is bursting with character and charm, creating a truly captivating setting for weddings. Built in 1687, it has been a town hall, an entertainment venue, court and council chamber. Now a museum, it displays more than 250,000 years of Medway’s history.
Dee O’Rourke, Medway Council’s Assistant Director of Culture and Community, said: “Weddings have been held at the Corn Exchange since the 1920s. The building has always had that sense of grandeur with its fine facade, grand staircase, high ceilings and chandeliers. The same is true of Upnor Castle, Eastgate House and the Guildhall, each with their own charm and fascinating history. Thanks to this variety, we’re able to create wedding packages to suit all budgets and requirements.
“We want to raise the profile of our unique collection of historic buildings among couples looking for a venue with a difference and a fabulous experience and encourage them to book their wedding or event with us.
“Many people might not realise these architectural jewels of Medway are available for hire, and we want people to know that if they want to get married in a castle or dance the night away beneath dazzling chandeliers, it’s all here on their doorstep. Within easy reach of London, Rochester is only 30 minutes from Stratford on the train, our venues in Rochester and Upnor offer an all-inclusive offer for the perfect modern wedding in stunning and historic settings.”
Couples looking to book their wedding can find out more about Medway’s historic wedding venues at The Wedding Experience, Kent’s biggest wedding event of the year, taking place from 10.30am to 3.30pm this Sunday (4 September) at the Kent Event Centre, County Showground, Detling.
The Kent Wedding Fair will also be taking place at The Rochester Corn Exchange from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Sunday, 18 September, organised by wedding events company, White Sky Events.
Both events will bring together local wedding suppliers and specialists to inspire couples with ideas to make their dream wedding a reality, whatever their budget.
For more information and to book a viewing check www.visitmedway.org or www.therochestercornexchange.co.uk