Map of Chatham Dockyard and its DefencesLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
I went to Chatham Dockyard (and the nearby city of Rochester) in June 2016. As Nan Mungard says, it's shockingly expensive, at £24! I had a National Art Pass, however, which allows free access.
The site is large and was very undervisited for a Saturday in June (hint to management: it might have something to do with the price). We enjoyed the submarine tour but the rest of the museum site verged on the dull. Huge buildings full of vehicles and model ships. A modern art gallery, some of which's works give the Saatchi Gallery a run for its money in terms of absurdity.
To be fair though I must withhold full judgement because I didn't go in the exciting-sounding "rope making experience" as several buildings closed an hour before the overall dockyard's closing time.
We did Chatham on a day trip from London. It was terrible spring weather (cold, wet, windy), so our general inclination was not to stay long. Surprisingly, we ended up staying for hours; there was a lot to see and enjoy.
The shipyard itself is quite a site when you pull in. Large halls from the 19th century greet you. The site shows you how ships were built in the British empire and how these ships looked over time. There are even a few steam trains running to show how they transported goods. Quite impressive. And very enjoyable for kids who fancy "tuc tuc" trains, one of them travelling with us ;)
Included in the site are also fortifications. Given we already ran out of time visiting the shipyard we skipped on these.
Looking at the shipyard connection, it seems rather probable that the site will be added. It doesn't look as if industrial shipyards from the 19th century are present at all on the WHS list. And this is a shipyard of the prime naval power at the time. I think they should remove some clutter from the site, e.g. a parking space in a key site structure, but otherwise this should be fine.
We went by car. It was a 1.5h ride. On the site you can move by foot. Not sure how you would get there by public transport, but it should be possible.
Things to do
You can visit a submarine and a rope maker. However, these require a reservation and that may require waiting for hours. We actually missed ours as we were exploring one of the museum boats.
Things not to do
Don't eat here. Food was terrible.
This is really expensive, even for English standards. I think we had to buy a annual pass for 20 GBP.
2012 Added to Tentative List
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