Experience an iconic naval battle with the whole family in Medway this summer!

Battle of Medway logo


·         A 10-day programme of events commemorating the Battle of Medway

·         Captivate children with history through various family friendly events – from workshops to storytelling sessions and ghost hunts

·         Witness a spectacular finale on the water by Upnor Castle, 
retelling the battle with big screens, digital projection, pyrotechnics and fireworks


The Battle of Medway, 8 June – 17 June 2017
Venues across Medway, Kent 

This summer a huge international programme of events will mark the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway. The two-week festival opens with the appearance of ships from both the British Royal Navy and the Netherlands Royal Navy, and the 10-day programme will feature a number of events that the whole family will enjoy.

Organised by Medway Council in partnership with The Historic Dockyard Chatham, the extensive programme will feature art, music, literature, history, VIP visits, performances and educational activities, culminating in a spectacular visual event taking place on the River Medway by Upnor Castle.

The festival’s very own friendly rat character, Samuel Squeaks, will also be on hand throughout the festival to help younger visitors learn more about the Battle of Medway. He’ll reveal how he grew up in London during the plague, fled the great fire and ended up on board a ship on that fateful day in June 1667! 

Medway in Flames on 17 June is a major public event packed full of entertainment for the whole family, with food and drink, fun fairs, stalls, English and Dutch folk music, street performers, and impressive fly boarding and jet ski displays.

The day will end with a spectacular finale depicting the events leading up to the Battle of Medway, involving big screens, digital projection, pyrotechnics, fireworks and character recreation.

Family friendly activities throughout the festival include:

·         Explore Navy warships: Prepare for battle on two frigates from the Royal Navy and Dutch Navy, which will be mooring in Chatham Marine throughout the festival(arriving 7 June)

·         Visits to Historic Vessels: Play pirates on the many local and visiting Dutch heritage vessels, open to the public throughout the festival at Basins 1 and 2 and other river locations (throughout)

·         Breaking the Chain Exhibition: Uncover the story of the battle through extraordinary Dutch and English art and objects on loan from a range of national and international institutions (The Historic Dockyard Chatham, 8 June – 3 September)

·         The Dutch are coming!: Step back in time to 1667 at Upnor Castle with living history events and activities telling the story of the Dutch Raid (Upnor Castle, 10 and 11 June, 10am – 5pm)

·         Dutch Tile Painting: Get creative at  Dutch tile painting workshops organised especially for  families (Eastgate House, 10 June, 10am – 4pm)

·         Story Telling Sessions: Discover  the dangers and excitement of the battle at storytelling sessions housed in Medway’s main libraries (Chatham, Rochester, Strood and Gillingham, 10 and 17 June)

·         Medway in Flames: In a spectacular river based finale, a specially commissioned dramatisation of the events leading up to the raid will be screened against the momentous backdrop of Upnor Castle (fun fair and activities from 2pm, finale 9.30 – 10.30pm, 17 June)

·         Ghost Hunt: Experience a night of paranormal pursuits at Fort Borstal (8pm – 2am, 17 June)  


The summer’s festivities are the perfect opportunity to get children excited about the past and learn about one of the most important moments in British and Dutch military history. 

The Battle of Medway took place in 1667, during the Second Anglo-Dutch War. The Dutch launched a daring assault on the British upon the River Medway at Chatham near to the Historic Dockyard, destroying their fleet and stealing the HMS Royal Charles, whose stern piece is still displayed in Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. Although Britain lost the battle, it encouraged King Charles II to transform the British Navy through massive investments in new ships and dockyards. This laid the foundation of British supremacy at sea for the next 200 years and contributed to Britain’s economic success and the growth of the empire.

In the Netherlands, Tocht Naar Chatham is celebrated with great pride and Michiel de Ruyter, who led the raid and beat the English and French a number of times, is one of the most loved admirals in Dutch history. He was even affectionately nicknamed Bestaveêr (grandfather in Old Dutch) by his soldiers and sailors!

For further information, images or interview requests
please contact Four Colman Getty:

Alice.Furse@FourCommunications.com / 020 3697 4253

Nisha.Emich@FourCommunications.com / 020 3697 4259


Listings information:



Watch from Chatham Maritime Martina, near the Copper Rivet Gin Distillery and Dockside Outlet Centre, Chatham, Kent ME4 4LP 
8 June, 11am 


Over 50 visiting Dutch yachts will arrive for the festival at approximately 11 am for a sail-by salute of Upnor Castle. The fleet will include a number of interesting vessels like the Morgenster, the Iris, the Urania and the George Stephenson.



The Historic Dockyard Chatham, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TE

8 June – 3 September, 10am – 6pm daily

£24/£21.50/£14.00 (admission entitles visitors to a year’s entry to The Historic Dockyard including all temporary exhibition – www.thedockyard.co.uk

Landmark exhibition telling  the story of the Battle of Medway through a spectacular array of Dutch and British contemporary art, literature, historic manuscripts and extraordinary objects, on loan from national and international museums. Loans announced to date include the original manuscript of John Evelyn’s diary from the British Library, ‘Holmes’ Bonfire’ by Willem van de Velde the Elder from the Royal Collection and a briefcase that belonged to Admiral de Ruyter from the Rijksmuseum.



The Garrison Ground, Kings Bastion, Brompton, Kent ME7 5DQ

9 June, Kick off: 2pm


The Armed Forces will be taking part in our own Dutch Battle as the British Army take on the Dutch navy in a friendly football match. Half time activities include skills coaching and face painting.


Rochester, Medway

9 – 11 June, 10am – 6pm daily


Rochester’s historic high street will be transformed into a Victorian feast of parades, readings, and street entertainment in celebration of the life and works of Charles Dickens.


Basin 2, Chatham Maritime Marina, Chatham, Kent ME4 4LP
9 – 11 June 
FREE – booking essential (through www.new.medway.gov.uk/news-and-events/bom

Step aboard two British and Dutch Royal navy warships, mooring in Chatham from 7 - 12 June.


Medway Park, Mill Rd, Gillingham, Kent ME7 1HF
10 June, 3pm

Witness the Dutch and British battling once again with an exciting handball match between London GD Handball club and Dutch club KRAS Voldendam.


Upnor Castle, Upnor Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XG

10 and 11 June, 10am – 5pm daily


Sir Marmaduke Rawdon’s Regiment of Foote will delight and entertain visitors with activities and demonstrations including a printing press, canon displays, cooking, drill displays, weaving and children’s drill fun.


Eastgate House, High St, Rochester, Kent ME1 1EW

10 June, 10am – 4pm 

A workshop demonstrating the intricacies of the art of Dutch tile painting, suitable for the whole family.



Chatham, Gillingham, Strood and Rochester libraries

10 June, 11am in Chatham and 2.15pm in Gillingham. 17 June, 11am in Strood and 2.15pm in Rochester.
FREE – booking required (01634 337340)

Discover the drama and peril of the Battle of Medway at storytelling sessions, mixed with arts and crafts, housed in Medway’s four main libraries. 


Upnor Castle, Upnor Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XG
11 June, 10am – 5pm 

Join local artist Christina Lamb to design your own Battle of Medway inspired artwork to print onto a badge or magnet. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Upnor Castle, Upnor Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XG
13 June, 12pm and 2pm (two hours)  

Local artist Kevin Clarkson gives masterclass on how he constructed the ships and settings of his contemporary paintings of the Battle of Medway in 1667.

Upnor Castle, Upnor Road, Rochester, Kent ME2 4XG
14 June, 10am – 6pm 
Join designers from MIRU3D to learn all about how a 3D model was created of Upnor Castle to celebrate the 350th anniversary.

Basin 2, Chatham Maritime Marina, Chatham, Kent ME4 4LP and the Historic Dockyard Chatham,Chatham, Kent, ME4 4TE 
17 June, 2.30 – 10.30pm 
A Major public event celebrating 350 years of friendship and co-operation between our two nations since the conclusion of the Anglo-Dutch wars.

2pm onwards: Fun fair at the Dockyard, English and Dutch folk music, food and drink stalls

2pm – 5pm: Water activities including Dingy Sailing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Bell Boats and Stand Up Paddle Boards (free of charge)

5.30pm: Anglo-Dutch River Pageant sailing up the River Medway

6.30-8.45pm: Fly Boarding, Jet Ski, and GPS Fire Tug displays

9.30-10.30: Medway in Flames Finale 

Watch from Chatham Maritime Martina, near the Copper Rivet Gin Distillery and Dockside Outlet Centre, Chatham ME4 4LP
17 June, 9.30 – 10.30pm 
The celebrations will end in a spectacular finale featuring the screening of a specially commissioned film depicting the events leading up to the Battle of Medway – there will be music, water screens, digital projection, pyrotechnics, fireworks and character recreation, using the stunning Upnor Castle as a backdrop.


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