Brightful’s Think lead Julia Scanlon is based in Rochester. After living in London for many years Julia and her family fell in love with the beautiful City of Rochester (although due to a clerical error it’s technically no longer a city…). So they decided to pack up and relocate to take advantage of its proximity to the Kentish coast, its great creative scene and its fantastic connections to London.
Rochester is only half an hour southeast of London by high speed train or about 40 mins by car. The train line is used by Eurostar to get from London to Paris in two hours and Ebbsfleet International is only a 15-minute drive by car. With easy access to many different motorways most London airports, the Euro tunnel and Dover ferries are all about an hour’s drive away.
When Julia isn’t coming up with a new strategy you can find her in her art studio at the stunning Halpern Conservancy Board Building on Rochester High Street. She’ll be either painting, taking photos or being creative in other ways. Rochester has many art and creative festivals such as Medway Open studios throughout the year. One of the many reasons why Julia chose Rochester as her base.
Rochester is famous for Rochester Castle which is a Norman stone building from the 12th century overlooking the Medway river. Next to it is Rochester Cathedral which has been a place of worship since AD604. The characterful and beautiful High Street is full of local produce shops, pubs, artisan cafes and restaurants which attract locals and tourists from all over the world.
Rochester is also considered one of the main places Charles Dickens is from. He was born in Chatham but spent much of his life living and writing in Rochester. This is why the annual Dickens festival is held there each year. This is when locals and visitors from all over the world dress up as characters from Charles Dicken’s novels and bring them to life through life reenactments.
Located between London and Dover on the river Medway, Rochester has long been a highly strategic place and has been conquered and frequented by many famous English kings. The castle was under siege by King John in the 13th century and King Charles the II stayed at the impressive city mansion called Restoration House on the eve of the Restoration.
For a small town Rochester features an impressive list of long established independent and grammar schools. King’s Rochester is a Cathedral school and claims to be the second longest running school in the world, having been founded in 604AD. UCA (University for the Creative Arts) has a campus in Rochester and it’s just one of the many reasons why it has such a strong creative and art scene.