Upnor Castle, defending the River Medway
Upnor Castle from the River Medway
Upnor Castle often goes unnoticed as a prominent landmark in Medway. As Chatham across the river has the incredibly fascinating Historic Dockyard, rich in naval history. You may even recognise scenes filmed here for ‘Call the Midwife’.
Then an arrow throws away is the picturesque town of Rochester. Home to a 12th-century Norman Castle, a Cathedral and tales of Charles Dickens, with all this ancient history Upnor just may get overshadowed.
Just a short hop to Upnor Castle
In my honest opinion, the quaint little village of Upnor and its castle is an English Heritage treat.
To access Upnor Castle on the riverfront, you get the pleasure of strolling down through the picturesque High Street of Upnor’s lovely village.
Upnor High Street
Looking up Upnor Hight Street
You pass by lovingly maintained pretty clapboard homes and tiny stores along the cobbled road,
all in just a 200-metre walk.
What’s even better is that you also wander by two traditional English pubs, serving local food and ales. The King’s Arms at the top of the street and The Tudor Rose a Shepherd Neame inn a local brewery from Faversham, Kent.
Kent coastal road trip
The Elizabethan castle
The front of Upnor Castle
Trained on the Dutch
Upnor Castle was built by order of Queen Elizabeth I, between 1559 and 1567 as an artillery fort. It was constructed to protect the Royal Naval fleet at Chatham Dockyard and the ships anchored in the River Medway.
English Heritage Membership
Then came the Dutch to Upnor Castle
However, 100 years later, it didn’t quite go to plan.
The Battle of Medway exhibition
The spiral staircase
The tunnels under Upnor Castle
When we have since visited The Netherlands, we have occasionally asked the locals, young and old, if they are aware of the Battle of Medway. Strangely more said that they hadn’t heard of it, than those that had.
An interesting read
If you're intrigued by Kent's weird and wonderful history, or all unusual stories around the county, then take a peek at "Kent's Strangest Tales".
You won't be able to put it down, you can pick it up for your Kindle or in good old paperback.
Upnor Castle’s new role
Following the attack on the neglected Upnor Castle, it no longer survived as a fortress. New forts and garrisons were built further along the River Medway during the late 1800s.
However, it didn’t put an end to Upnor Castle; it soon became converted into a “Magazine”. A storage and depot for munitions of guns, gun carriages, gun powder & muskets.
By 1691 it had come into its own, it was now England’s largest Magazine by far and outshining Tower of London, the next largest Magazine.
With Upnor Castle’s location being so close to Chatham Dockyard it was the primary source of supply to the Royal Navy warships, arriving at the dockyard for replenishment.
The firepower at Upnor Castle
Kent rural road trip
The River Medway
Once you’ve discovered the internal aspects of Upnor Castle, step outside as you are in for a treat.
Head out onto the triangular gun platform overlooking the River Medway, the view is superb. It’s incredibly difficult to comprehend how it would have looked with the English and Dutch naval ships in an intense battle.
The River Medway from Upnor Castle
Cannons in place at Upnor Castle
How to get there
Would you like a little more?
Map, guides and more
When you’re nurturing the seed of a road trip, plotting your destinations across a paper map just brings the adventure to life. Whether it’s the touchy-feely aspect of the map or the rustling sound of mastering the art of origami while trying to fold it away, I’m not too sure. Nonetheless, the good old Ordnance Survey guys and gals always come up trumps.
Take a look at the vast array of maps you can choose from.
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Inspired to visit Upnor?
You can reach it from from London, or if you're visiting Kent make it part of exploring Medway.
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