Finding Dickens Land

From Rochester to Broadstairs on the East coast – wherever you go you can be fairly certain that Dickens has been there before you. But much like Aunt Betsey’s donkeys, he can be elusive.

Mobile Landscapes

Inspired by the literary pilgrimages made by Victorians themselves. Authors such as William Hughes and Frederick Kitton wrote enthusiastic accounts of their adventures as they tracked Dickens and his characters through Kent. This 21C experiment invites you to accompany two modern day Dickensians on their own journey of discovery, as they read the novels to each other from Broadstairs to Rochester.

Great Expectations: a Curated Walk

Starts with Pip’s fateful encounter with Magwitch in the local churchyard. But what other secrets is he keeping? Meet the characters who shape his destiny or follow him around on a map and learn more about the real ‘marsh country’ of the 1820s. But remember – nothing here is quite what it seems.

David Copperfield: a Curated Walk

Takes David through Kent and down the Dover Road to find answers to some vital questions. How do others see us? What does it mean to be in love? Where is home? It may not be obvious at first, but places can move around here, so you must be careful not to get lost.

Dickens and Broadstairs

‘Half awake and half asleep, this idle morning in our sunny window on the edge of a chalk-cliff in the old-fashioned Watering-Place to which we are a faithful resorter, we feel a lazy inclination to sketch its picture'.

Dickens and Medway

“Mudbank, mist, swamp … swamp, mist, and mudbank.”’ So says a convict in Great Expectations), describing the ‘marsh country’ in which Pip and Estella have grown up. I grew up here too, so did generations of my family before me.

Edwin Drood: a Curated Walk

Rochester is proud to celebrate its Dickensian connections, and the most fascinating and intriguing connection is its inspiration for the fictional town of Cloisterham, backdrop to Dickens’s final novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities and France

Kent acted as a conduit for Dickens's many visits to France with the Dover Mail and its perilous journey described in several of his novels, including A Tale of Two Cities.

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

Charles Dickens’s first serial novel, The Pickwick Papers is preoccupied with Kentish geographies almost as much as it is with scenes of London life.

Ellen woz here

Ellen as a resident of Rochester, adds a whole other layer of links and memories, opens up a new set of possible interpretations for the novels Dickens wrote during their relationship.

Dickens and the Staplehurst Rail Crash

On 9 June 1865 Dickens was travelling back from France with Ellen Ternan and her mother. They had joined the tidal train from Folkestone to Charing Cross and had reached Staplehurst when the train dramatically crashed.

The Comports of Cooling

My first encounter with Great Expectations was as an eleven year old, watching the 1946 David Lean film in a school hall. I was spell bound and terrified in equal measure as Magwitch appeared from behind the tomb to menace the young Pip. I was there, I was Pip.

Leather and dust: David Copperfield’s shoes and the Dover Road

David Copperfield's curated walk can tell us much about the route he follows from London - so far David's account is painstakingly accurate. What he does not tell us is what he can smell as he enters rural Kent or quite why his feet are so damaged by the journey's end.