what to do in upnor

What to do in Upnor (as told by locals)

Upnor is a beautiful village, hidden only moments away from bustling Rochester, Kent. Looking for an exciting or memorable day out? Here’s what to do in Upnor as told by us – locals!

1. Upnor Castle

The largest attraction in Upnor is the wonderful and historical Upnor Castle. Construction of the castle originally began in 1559 to protect warships moored at Chatham dockyards, just across the River Medway. Unfortunately for Upnor Castle, it completely failed to do so when the Dutch arrived in 1667.

While it is a relatively small castle, Upnor Castle is definitely worth a visit. For everything you need to know about the castle, make sure to check out our article: Your trip to Upnor Castle | Make it memorable

Extra details about Upnor Castle:

  • Not dog-friendly
  • Free entry for English Heritage members
  • Great for children, families and adults alike
  • No restaurant on-site but just a few steps away from two Upnor pubs

It can be difficult getting public transportation to Upnor, so we recommend either driving or hiring a local taxi.

2. Visit a historical Upnor pub

Even though it is a small village, Upnor is home to four historic pubs. Whether you want riverside views, a giant beer garden, local ales on tap or a great Sunday roast, Upnor’s pubs will not disappoint.

We recommend visiting a local pub after your time at Upnor Castle – it’s a wonderful way to spend the afternoon!

Extra details about Upnor pubs:

  • Four pubs in total in the village (two in Upper Upnor and two in Lower Upnor)
  • Parking is tricky but we recommend using the free car park in Upper Upnor
  • All Upnor pubs serve food, drinks and have outdoor seating
The Kings Arms Upnor
The Kings Arms found in Upper Upnor

3. Beautiful Upnor walks

Although Upnor is tucked away along the Medway River, there’s numerous great trails and walking paths to take advantage of, especially on a beautiful summers day.

Interesting in trying out an Upnor walking route (or running route, if you’re feeling brave)? You can follow along with our favourite walks at: 4 Upnor Walks & Scenic Routes. We’ve included easier loops for young children and more difficult hikes for those looking for a challenge.

4. Upnor Beach

Upnor Beach is quiet and greatly-unknown to those outside of the village. Forget the crowds and chaos of Margate or Broadsides, Upnor Beach is a lovely little spot to pull out a beach chair and enjoy the view.

While you won’t want to lay out on your towel (the beach is stoney) it’s a perfect spot for a comfortable beach chair and some good company. If you’re stopping by for the day, we recommend visiting an Upnor pub for lunch or dinner after your stay at the beach.

Extra details about Upnor Beach:

  • Dog-friendly area
  • Stoney beach so bring a chair instead of a towel
  • There are public toilets in Lower Upnor, before you reach the beach
  • Free parking is available at the car park in Lower Upnor, right before the beach entrance

5. Sail from Upnor

Looking for a new place to launch your boat into the Medway River? Make sure to check out Upnor’s Sailing Club! The club offers a great place to launch your boat, along with meeting locals who also share a love of boating.

what to do in upnor

6. Upnor Boot Fair

Upnor hosts one of the biggest boot fairs in Medway! When entering the village, you’ll pass the field’s entrance on your left. Gates open at 5 am BST for visitors, but those selling can set-up between 5-8 am.

Want to learn more? Check out our article for more details about Upnor’s Boot Fair here.

What to do near Upnor

Still looking for more things to do in Upnor? You’ll need to go a bit further afield. While Upnor feels secluded away from the rest of Kent, it’s actually extremely close to some great attractions in Strood, Chatham and Rochester.

Here’s what to do near Upnor that we’d recommend checking out:

Copper Rivet Distillery

Interested in trying out a new local gin? The Copper Rivet Distillery is a great place to visit. This distillery produces small batches of vodkas, whiskies and gins, all in a historical building along the Medway River. They also have a Pumproom Deli and Cafe next door where you can get drinks, snacks and great food.

As the only spirit maker in Kent, the Copper Rivet Distillery makes for a great afternoon outing. You can also book tours of their distillery in the historical Victorian Pump House No. 5 (with taste tests, of course).

In our opinion, the Copper Rivet Distillery is an often-overlooked attraction in Chatham and only a short drive from Upnor village. A great afternoon out with your partner, friends or family.

The Historic Chatham Dockyard

Explore Royal Navy warships and shipbuilding heritage in an 18th-century dockyard museum, just moments away from Upnor. The Historic Chatham Dockyard has seen an incredible transformation over the years and is a great day out in Chatham.

What’s great is that every general admission tickets is valid for a full year, allowing you access to the site as many times as you like. Tickets also include two guided tours that you will book on arrival to the museum: The Victorian Ropery and HM Submarine Ocelot.

Hysteria Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms have exploded in popularity in the last few years – and for good reason! Hysteria Escape Rooms in Chatham is a lot of fun and only a quick drive from Upnor village.

Currently they have two different rooms (one is zombie-themed and one is a murder-mystery) and are a great activity for the family, Date Night or even team-building for businesses.

Playopolis Board Game Cafe

Why not check out Rochester’s local board game cafe for something different? For an entrance fee, you can play numerous board games up to three hours, alongside some drinks and snacks!

For £4.50 per person, you’ll have up to three hours of gaming (and is payable on exit). If you choose not to eat or drink during your visit, the cover charge is £7.50. There are no other costs beyond any food and drink you choose to purchase which will be placed on your tab.

Playopolis also offers membership options if you’d like to visit them more frequently.

Odeon Cinema at Chatham Dockside

Want to catch a film? Odeon Cinema is conveniently located at Chatham Dockside, just a short drive from Upnor village. There’s also a few shops and restaurants at Dockside to make the most of your trip!

Rochester Castle & Cathedral

A wonderful trip out would be to visit Rochester Castle and Cathedral! Pick any of Rochesters public car parks and enjoy some incredible local history. You can also gain free entry into the castle with a English Heritage membership, just like Upnor Castle.

We recommend climbing to the top of Rochester Castle, visiting the cathedral across the street, then hit up Rochester High Street for some food and drinks. There’s numerous restaurants and pubs to try.


A great activity for the kids near Upnor is Diggerland! This construction-themed attraction allows kids (and adults) can drive and operate heavy machinery. The admission cost includes all of the available activities, as long as your child is tall enough.

Just a short drive from Upnor, Diggerland in Strood is a great option and something completely different for your kids. There’s also a lot of restaurants in the area in case you want to add to your day out.

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