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Experience the siege on Rochester Castle Horrible History style with a narrated bus tour and new exhibition

We all know a bit of national and international history, the Vikings, the Tudors, the First and Second World Wars - but how much do you know of the battles that took place on your doorstep?

This summer a tour is being organised to mark a big year in Medway’s history: 800 years since the siege of Rochester castle and the creation of the Magna Carta.

In June 1215 King John agreed the Magna Carta to appease a group of rebel barons, but it failed and the barons seized and hauled up inside Rochester Castle.

EastEnders actor Ryan Philpott narrating the tour to mark the 800th anniversary since the siege of Rochester Castle

EastEnders actor Ryan Philpott narrating the tour to mark the 800th anniversary since the siege of Rochester Castle

For seven weeks the unpopular King laid siege to the castle.

Now a Horrible Histories-style tour will take people on an adventure to various stops in Rochester and Chatham, highlighting the siege as well as other key moments in history at Fort Amherst, the Royal Engineers Museum and the Historic Dockyard among other places.

Narrating various tales of battles, convicts and ghostly encounters is EastEnders actor Ryan Philpott in the role of explorer professors Jack Hunter.

'King John' and other actors mark the 800th anniversary since the siege of Rochester Castle

'King John' and other actors mark the 800th anniversary since the siege of Rochester Castle

Norman the Knight and Grunt the pig will also be helping children learn in a fun and interactive way at the Guildhall Museum in Rochester High Street, where there is a new exhibition all about the 1215 siege with a big model of the Castle, armour and swords to be tried on and swung, and tools and stalls to look at to get a feel for the time.

Mr Philpott has spent a number of months researching and writing the script for the stories, which are played out on board the bus.

Exhibition at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

Exhibition at the Guildhall Museum, Rochester

He said: “Medway has such a rich depth of history. There was so much stuff going on within pretty much a square mile, even people who have lived here all their lives should come on this tour and really find out about where you live. It’s great for families, just bring some sandwiches and you can spend all day hopping on and off the bus.

“We’ve made sure this is engaging and entertaining, with good stories as well as imparting knowledge. We never talk for too long, but when we do it’s fun, nobody is going to be bored.

“There are moments when the hair on the back of your neck will stand up on end with the sound effects.”

Exhibition at the guildhall Museum, Rochester

Exhibition at the guildhall Museum, Rochester

Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of the Magna Carta 800th committee added: “Young people are instinctively interested in history. The exhibition shows, in vivid 3D, a fascinating explanation of exactly what went on during the stoning of the castle, the breaching of the castle walls and the undermining of the castle tower.”

Listen to kmfm Breakfast with Garry & Emma this week to win family tickets to "A Summer of Siege" that will give you access to Rochester Castle, the open top tour bus, tickets to the outdoor cinema and £50 to spend.
 

The exhibition in Rochester High Street’s Guildhall Museum opens tomorrow (Tuesday) and the open top bus tours run from July 25 to August 31, between 10am and 4pm.

There are a number of stops you can get off at to have a look around the sights, and simply get back on the bus when it circles back around.

Tickets cost £1.50 for children and £3.50 for adults.

Visit www.enjoymedway.co.uk.

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