Rochester is one of the four Medway towns that sit much closer to the Medway river in Kent, approximately 30 miles south-east of the capital. The city borders Gillingham, Chatham, and Strood. This is an ancient town with a rich history that stretches back to centuries before the Dickens. Its beautiful skyline is dominated by the extensive and imposing ruins of its castle and the famous Norman Cathedral.
Is Rochester a good place to live? The truth is that Rochester is perhaps the most beautiful of the four Medway towns. It won’t take you long to notice its beauty and relaxed lifestyle. The Norman castle and the ancient cathedral stand tall in the sky offering you a glimpse of what to expect if you are thinking of moving to Rochester. Bookshops, flint walls tumbling down the magnificent hills and curling lanes of old houses line the streets.
Great schools, old townhouses, restaurants, and a cool lifestyle define Rochester. The King’s School, which was established in the seventh century, is believed to be the second oldest school in the whole world. This town has also produced two martyrs: Nicholas Ridley who was executed by Queen Mary and John Fisher who was executed by Henry VIII for vehemently opposing his divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
If you are thinking of moving to Rochester or you simply want to know how the area is like, you are in the right place. We have compiled helpful information that gives you an excellent introduction to the town to help you make an informed decision. If you are a foreigner, this information will also serve as a comprehensive guide if you are thinking of moving to UK. Read on to find out everything that you need to know.
Is Rochester a Good Place to Live?
Are you looking for a luxurious place that offers a wide range of exciting amenities and close to London? Rochester is the place to be. Conveniently located 30 miles to the south-east of London, this beautiful town is full of life and stands out from the other Medway towns.
It boasts of several neighbourhoods such as Upnor, Halling, Higham, Burham, Cliffe, Grain, and Aylesford. Picking the best neighbourhood might be a huge challenge since each one of them has something unique that it offers. For instance, Grain is a small community situated at the tip of the HooPeninsula where the Thames and Medway rivers meet.
On the other hand, Cliffe overlooks the Thames marshes providing stunning views of the nearby streets. Travel and commuting to Rochester is much easier since the A2 and M2 motorways meet just outside the town. Furthermore, the M20 motorway is a few miles to the south of the city. Network Rail recently launched the new £26 million station that accommodates more passengers traveling to and from the town centre.
The town is also served by high-speed trains that take an estimated 34 minutes from the city centre to St Pancras. There are also trains to Cannon Street, Victoria, and Charing Cross. The Rochester community is served by many schools that are located within the various neighbourhoods. Some of the leading primary schools in Rochester include; Bligh Infant, St Nicholas CofE Infant, and the Pilgrim CofE. The “outstanding” secondary schools in the area include; Thomas Aveling and Strood Academy. There is also Sir Williamson’s Mathematical School, Rochester Grammar School, and the Rochester Independent College.
The crime levels are relatively low compared to the average crime levels of the neighbouring towns. In fact, Rochester is considered to be one of the safest places to live in the UK. Financial experts say that the best way to live the London life without the price tag is by moving to nearby towns such as Rochester.
The social life in Rochester is a buzz. The shopping malls and restaurants ensure that you get whatever you want whenever and wherever you want it. For instance, the sublime Deaf Cat café serves fabulous coffee and constantly changing views. The restaurant is strategically located opposite the cathedral to ensure that you enjoy stunning views from the tables.
The Caroline Newbury provides an excellent and unique mix of independent cafes, shops, along with many amazing castle grounds. The Dickens House Wine emporium serves legendary wine tastings that you can enjoy at any time.
Is Rochester a Good Place to Work?
Unlike most of the other towns close to the capital, Rochester isn’t largely a commuter town. This means that you can find your dream job within the city and be living a few miles away from where you work. A good number of residents work within the town, and only a few people commute to other places for work. Rochester enjoys a relatively high employment rate compared to the national average.
Several employers within the city offer exciting job opportunities to residents. Most people who work in this town are engaged by the financial services sector. Some of them have also found exciting job opportunities in the construction sector.
KM Group is one of the leading employers in the southeast region that operates local radio stations, newspapers, and websites throughout the county. The company operates several weekly newspapers for different parts of Kent including Rochester.
The other big companies in this region that employs hundreds of people include the Willmott Dixon Construction, Churchill Retirement Living, and Roc Search. Most of these companies are listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Salaries offered by the leading employers in Rochester are quite good compared to the national average. The average salary of an individual working in some of the leading companies in Kent is £30,000. Highly skilled and experienced employees earn higher wages.
The unemployment rate in Rochester is slightly below 3.5 % which is remarkably low compared to the national average. Job opportunities are available for both young professionals who are looking to kickstart their careers and the most experienced workers looking to advance their careers. There are over 100 companies in the larger Kent County that offer exciting job opportunities.
Is Rochester a Good Place to Buy a House?
We can’t deny the fact that Rochester has a lovely Cathedral quarter that is dominated by Cathedral offices, dwellings, and The King’s School. However, that isn’t all about Rochester. The other parts of the town comprise of a mix of Victorian and Georgian houses and cottages as well as modern flats that line up along river Medway. The most popular neighbourhoods are Aylesford to the south and Cobham to the west.
Shorne and Higham are two other neighbourhoods to the northwest of the town that features a wide range of modern detached family homes. If you are thinking of moving to UK and specifically to Rochester, you will be glad to hear that the town has many two-bedroom Victorian and Georgian terrace cottages that go for approximately £125,000.
These homes are most popular with first-time buyers. Three-bedroom detached houses cost between £350,000 and £650,000 while one bedroom flats cost anything between £75,000 and £180,000.
If you are thinking of moving to Rochester and wondering where to start your home search, consider starting around the cathedral in the middle of old town before you cross over to Strood or head south towards Borstal village. These places have historical and well-maintained properties that sell at reasonable prices. However, if you are looking for modern flats, consider heading towards Cliffe Road or Priestfields near the river.
Is Rochester a Good Place to Retire?
Being the outskirts of London away from the busy city life, Rochester offers a cool, relaxed, and serene environment to retirees. The city boasts of some of the most desirable neighbourhoods and a well-connected transport system that links it to the capital and the other surrounding areas.
The healthcare system is top-class providing high-quality services to residents which is critical to the overall being of retirees. The availability of large retirement homes is an added incentive that makes life better. The town offers highly desirable retirement homes that favour individuals who are over 60 years old. Three bedroom retirement homes top the list.
What is even more exciting is the fact that property sellers offer significant discounts to the older homebuyers. A standard one-bedroom retirement home in Rochester will cost approximately £180,000 while a three-bedroom retirement home will cost anything between £350,000 and £410,000.
Is Rochester a Good Place to Visit?
Rochester has a vibrant local market with a lot of people trading up and down. The Rochester Cathedral and Castle are the biggest tourist attractions in the town. The castle is of UK’s outstanding pieces of ancient Norman Romanesque architecture.
The castle is an enduring structure built from strong Kentish ragstone. It was raised during the reign of King Henry the First in the 1120s. The three-floor structure is slightly over 35 metres tall and its main entrance by a strong extension that was meant to protect it from potential attackers. The Rochester Cathedral has been a famous place of worship since the 7th century.
The Guildhall museum is another historic site that sits on town’s High Street and dates back to the 17th century. This is the home to Medway’s rich history that dates back to over 200,000 years ago. Inside the museum, you will a get a chance to view a unique display of ancient Roman utensils from Darenth Roman Villa.
The other interesting places in Rochester include the High Street, Eastgate House, Six Poor Travellers House, and the Chatham Historic Dockyard.
About the author: Marta Kovachek is the author of this article. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in Economics. Marta enjoys writing about the current economic situation and loves helping our readers to find their next "destination". From places to live to complex social and economic topics, we always enjoy Marta's work. Please contact us in case of any questions.