Rochester lends the Medway towns a degree of class. It is the ancient core of Kent's largest conurbation. Instantly recognisable by its splendid Norman castle and beautiful cathedral, its shops abound with references to Charles Dickens - who lived and worked nearby. Historically the town was established at the lowest covenient crossing point of the river Medway. The Romans built the first bridge on their vital Watling Street route between Dover and London. Strategically important from a naval point of view Rochester was the target for an embarrassing raid by Dutch marauders in the late seventeenth century. Accordingly an expansive dockyard base was constructed at the adjacent fishing village of Chatham. Today Rochester is a thriving town. Its bustling high street is renowned for many specialist shops while the passageways are often enlivened by revellers celebrating Dickens festivals.