London St. Pancras to Ebbsfleet International is just 20 minutes by train, allowing you to explore the wonders of Medway and Gravesend in less than an hour.
We thought we’d let you in on a few of our favourites that you can visit when you hop off that train – believe us, there’s something for everyone!
Bluewater is a shopaholics dream! There are over 300 stores, from your high street staples to high end gems and independent boutiques, in a beautifully designed indoor shopping centre. It’s also one for the foodies, as there are over 50 places to eat, from their food court burritos, sandwiches and sushi to numerous Italian restaurants, burger joints and Mexican food. And I suppose we should mention there’s an entire cinema, kid’s dinosaur adventure heaven, ‘Dinotropolis’, and Gravity trampoline park too! And it’s easier than ever to get to - after hoping off the train at Ebbsfleet, catch the 483 Arriva bus direct to Bluewater in just eight minutes.
All families have those weekends where seemingly all you can hear is, “Mum! Dad! I’m bored!” Well luckily, Diggerland is the perfect destination for action-packed fun for families, where guests of all ages can ride, drive and operate real JCB diggers and enjoy digger-themed rides in a safe and family-friendly setting! From Ebbsfleet, hop in a taxi for a 16-minute journey to arrive at Diggerland in Medway Valley Leisure Centre. One to bookmark for the school holidays? We think so!
Kent Life is an ode to rural Kent heritage and everything that led us to being named the Garden of England! Get back into the nature with their farmyard animals, including sheep, pigs, donkeys and more, or roam through orchards of apple trees that are synonymous with Kent. Step into the history of Kent in the Vintage Village, which takes you on a history tour with the people who grew the Garden of England from the ground up. It’s also one of the only places in Britain that continues the time-honoured traditions of packaging home-grown hops in an Oast house.
Ebbsfleet United Football Club have represented their local community for almost 75 years and football has been played on the current ground for more than a century. Intrinsically linked with the area around Ebbsfleet International, the club's modernised Kuflink Stadium venue is within easy walking distance of the station and many home and away supporters travel through it to attend games.
Home matches in the National League regularly attract four-figure attendances and a warm welcome awaits both regular and casual visitors from the club's devoted supporters. Ebbsfleet United's stadium venue is also an ideal base for conferences, parties and other events with excellent transport links via the high-speed rail service at Ebbsfleet International. Forthcoming fixtures, usually played on Saturday afternoons or Tuesday evenings, plus all other news and information can be found here.
Having spent a good portion of its history at the top rung of the non-league game and currently just one step away from the EFL, football at the Fleet is accessible, affordable and exciting.
Cyclopark is fast becoming one of the leading multi-sports centres in the South East, catering for every cyclists’ desires, from tarmac courses for road bikes, a first-class racetrack for BMX and 6km of track for mountain biking designed by the World Cup trail designer. And it’s not just for cyclists – skaters can go crazy on the spectacular flood-lit skatepark. And in 2017, Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes chose Cyclopark as the location for her new café, Café 1809 Active. Good enough for Olympians? Plus, it’s just a short journey from the station by bus! Hop on the Arriva 483 from the station and you’ll be there in minutes!
History in Rochester - Rochester Castle and Cathedral, Eastgate House
Medway has history in abundance, whether it’s Victorian, literary or maritime, and nowhere is that clearer than the charming town of Rochester. Less than 20 minutes from Ebbsfleet, the large town is filled with Victorian buildings on cobbled, bunting-adorned streets, and the town boasts the second oldest Cathedral in England, constructed in 604AD! Round the corner, it’s impossible to miss the magnificent Rochester Castle, as the 12th century keep towers over the town, and remains one of the best preserved keeps in England or France. Finally, Eastgate House is a Grade I listed Elizabethan Townhouse, slap-bang in the centre of Rochester’s high street. It has a rich history, from being a Victorian boarding school, museum and even an inspiration to Charles Dicken’s himself. All this history is just a 20-minute train ride from Ebbsfleet International to Rochester Station, and once you’re there, Arriva buses will see around the Medway sites!
The Historic Dockyard Chatham spent over 400 years as one of Britain’s most important Royal Dockyards, crucial in everything from launching ships for Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar, to constructing World War II destroyers and building nuclear submarines during the Cold War, making the Historic Dockyard a true English legend. It’s hard not to feel the history around you as you board one of their historic warships and makes for the perfect family day out! Combining history and Hollywood, the Historic Dockyard has also been the backdrop to many a star-studded production, from the new Sherlock Holmes, 2012 Les Misérables or even our own British TV staple, Call the Midwife! Plus, with easy links with Southeastern trains from Ebbsfleet International to Chatham, it couldn’t be simpler to make your voyage to the dockyard. Hop on the 100 Arriva bus from just outside Chatham station and you’ll be there in minutes.
The Royal Engineers museum is a treat wherever your historical interests lie! Discover Wellington’s map from Waterloo, Zulu War Weapons and an enormous V2 Rocket. The museum even holds a large section of the Berlin Wall! Intrigued? It’s a fun and informative day out, especially with kids – and it’s only round the corner from Historic Chatham Dockyard.
Set sail on the splendid waters of the River Medway with Jetstream Tours, offering trips from Rochester to Medway and all sorts in between. We would have to recommend a trip out to sea to marvel at the eerie Maunsell Forts, also known as the Red Sand Towers, built in the Second World War to report air raids, and then became home to pirate radio stations in the ‘60s! The spectacular structures look like something from a sci-fi film – and they’d look pretty great on an Instagram feed too!
Set in the glorious Victorian Pump House No.5, Copper Rivet Distillery is Kent’s only spirit maker and they focus on producing small batches of exceptional gins, whiskies and vodkas from scratch, inspired by the innovating and creative heritage of the Historic Dockyard themselves. Take a tour and experience the entire distillation process from grain to glass at one of the only English distilleries to offer it. If you get lucky with a sunny day, enjoy your Dockyard Gin and Tonic with sparkling sea views overlooking the river Medway. Hard not to get in the spirit right? And this gin-lover’s paradise is just minutes away; catch the number 2 Arriva bus from outside Chatham station and it’s just five stops to the Dockside outlet.
The Vines, Ship and Trades pub, Pier Five
Just a short walk from Copper Rivet Distillery, Chatham Maritime has a plethora of foodie havens you can get stuck into, like the Ship and Trades, a stylish bar, restaurant and hotel overlooking one of the yacht basins at the former Royal Naval Dockyard, offering panoramic views across the River Medway. For more sparkling sea views, Pier Five sits just around the corner, a trendy Shepherd Neame pub right on the marina. Both restaurants boast a beautiful terrace for al fresco summer dining but are stylish and trendy on the inside if you’re not so lucky with the weather. Adding to Rochester’s already booming food scene, soon The Vines will open its doors to the public, having restored a beautiful manor house, it’s definitely one to keep an eye on in 2020.
Pocahontas is a figure we all know, but not many know of her connection to Gravesend. The native American colonial figure was taken ashore at Gravesend after she became mortally ill during a colonial propaganda campaign in England. Her story, known to most as the heroic Disney princess, is part of a complicated colonial past, but now people can pay tribute to her and understand the person behind the story. See for yourself the stunning bronze Grade II listed statue that depicts her at her grave at St George’s Church in Gravesend – just catch Arriva’s B fastrack bus from Ebbsfleet to Garrick Street.
Who dares enter?! The panic rooms have to be the ultimate escape rooms, with over 20 different escape room experiences to choose from, there really is something for everyone at the UK’s largest escape room. Choose from terrifying trips like ‘The Sacrifice’, family-friendly adventures like Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz themes, or become expert detectives in their CSI themed exploits.
We can’t wait to meet you!