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Heritage Open Days - places to visit across Medway

By Jade Edwards

Visitors can climb on board the Medway Queen paddlesteamer as part of the Heritage Open Days this weekend.

The national event offers the chance to visit and explore, free of charge, buildings, parks, and other places of interest which are not normally accessible, where access is limited, or where visitors normally have to pay.

The Towns’ most historic vessel, celebrated for her vital part in the Dunkirk rescue mission, will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday between 11am and 4pm at Gillingham Pier, Pier Approach Road.

The Medway Queen. Pic Taryn Harrison

The Medway Queen. Pic: Taryn Harrison

There will also be an art and photographic exhibition held in association with MidKent College at the pier’s visitor information centre.

The event, organised by the Medway Queen Preservation Society, is free.

Go behind the scenes at Chatham’s Historic Dockyard and tour the No 1 Smithery which houses models from the National Maritime and Imperial War museums.

The Sir John Hawkins Hospital in Chatham High Street will also be open to visitors.

The Sir John Hawkins Hospital Almshouses, High Street, Chatham

The Sir John Hawkins Hospital Almshouses, High Street, Chatham

Guests will be able to see a bedroom which contains artefacts related to Sir John Hawkins, an English admiral in the 1580s and 1590s, from 11am-4pm. The naval charity provides homes for needy and disabled mariners and shipwrights.

Costumed characters will roam around Eastgate House.

Visitors will be able to meet people from the Elizabethan townhouse’s history.

Normal entry fees apply.

A Grade I listed barn will also be open to visitors this weekend.

The gardens behind Eastgate House

The gardens behind Eastgate House

The Manor Farm Barn in Parsonage Lane, Frindsbury, has an early medieval oak frame. It will be open from today (Thursday) until Sunday between 10.30am and 4pm each day.

Why not tour the French Hospital Almhouses and Huguenots’ Garden in La Providence, Rochester, this weekend?

The French Hospital was first established in London in 1718 to care for persecuted Huguenots and now provides affordable sheltered accommodation. It will be open on Saturday from 10am-4pm. No booking required.

Manor Farm Barn, Frindsbury

Manor Farm Barn, Frindsbury

Tour the grounds of the nineteen Watts Almhouses in Maidstone Road, Rochester, between 10am-4pm.

Visitors can also relax in the common room with refreshments and homemade cakes from 10.30am-3.30pm.

An almshouse will be opened for viewing if possible.

Visitors can also take a look around St Weburgh Church in Church Street, Hoo, on Friday and Saturday, 10am-4pm, and on Sunday between 2-4pm.

The Grade I listed building has just had a refurbishment to replace the Victorian tile and wood floor with stone tiles.

Visitors will be able to explore the church and find out more of its history.

For more information, visit www.heritageopendays.org.uk

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