Celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at a series of royal events being held in Medway.
Be part of a national lighting of beacons, watch live coverage of the royal celebrations from Rochester Castle Gardens, see a rare spectacle of one hundred boats sailing up the River Medway and take part in one of the many family activities happening across Medway, such as a Corgi treasure trail and bunting making workshops.
Her Majesty The Queen is the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the UK, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
The special extended bank holiday weekend will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the UK to come together to celebrate the historic milestone, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of service.
On Thursday, 2 June, five locations across Medway will join thousands of places across the United Kingdom (UK), and the Commonwealth, to light beacons at exactly the same time (9.45pm) in a momentous occasion to launch the four-day bank holiday celebration and festivities.
Medway’s Town Crier, Mike Billingham, will announce the lighting of beacons across Medway as part of a proclamation at 2pm at the war memorial in Rochester High Street.
Medway’s beacon lighting events, which will mark the start of a jam-packed series of celebrations, are being held at Riverside Country Park in Rainham, the Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham, Victoria Gardens in Chatham, Kingshill Recreation Ground in Hoo and at Broomhill Park in Strood.
Platinum Picnic at Rochester Castle
Avoid the capital’s crowds and watch all the jubilee celebrations on a big screen in Rochester Castle gardens from Thursday, 2 to Sunday, 5 June. Coverage is expected to include Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Parade, Service of Thanksgiving at St Pauls Cathedral, the Platinum Party at the Palace and Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
Bring a picnic or indulge in local cuisine and enjoy watching the live celebrations with the finest and tallest Norman castle keep in the country as a fantastic backdrop. You could even dress-up as your favourite royal. Visitors will also be able to peruse a craft fair across the long weekend.
Celebrating Dickens – a Jubilee twist!
On Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 June, historic Rochester will also host A Celebration of Dickens, with a jubilee twist. The celebrations at Rochester Castle will honour both Her Majesty The Queen and Charles Dickens with a cultural celebration of literature and entertainment including character parades, live music performances, prose and poetry readings. Wordsmithery will also host ‘Welcome to Cloisterham’ in the Castle Moat promoting local talent, emerging artists and introducing Medway audiences to respected, award-winning modern-day writers. The festival will be full of entertainment for all ages, inspired by the literary legacy of Dickens.
Platinum Jubilee Medway River Pageant
In partnership with Tiller and Wheel CIC, this fantastic event takes place on Saturday, 4 June. The River Medway at Chatham will play host to a spectacular river pageant where from 12noon until 5pm, a procession of historic, commercial and leisure sea vessels will sail up-river to Sun Pier, Chatham, to join a synchronised spectacle of sights and sounds from ship to shore. 'The Grand Cacophony' will see the coming together of the boats’ horns, cheering crowds, coastal attractions and church bells, further amplified by the whistles of steam locomotives at The Historic Dockyard Chatham and a gun salute at Fort Amherst.
Many Medway residents will also be getting together their neighbours and friends at street parties across the bank holiday weekend, particularly on Sunday, 5 June, for the Big Jubilee Lunch. This event encourages communities to get to know each other a little bit better and brings the jubilee celebrations into the heart of every community.
To mark this momentous occasion, Medway Council waived the fee of organising a road closure for residents hosting a Platinum Jubilee street party over the bank holiday weekend and more than 60 residential streets are expected to host a party.
Picnic in a country park
On Thursday, 2 June, between 11am and 2pm, Capstone Farm and Riverside Country Parks are hosting picnics for all the family. Residents are encouraged to bring their own picnics or try some treats from the cafés and stalls whilst taking part in jubilee-themed activities.
Replica crown jewels and children’s activities
At Rochester’s beautiful Tudor mansion, Eastgate House, visitors can enjoy a rare chance to see a replica set of the crown jewels alongside flower displays reflecting the coronation bouquet and memorabilia from Her Majesty’s coronation from Wednesday, 1 June, to Sunday, 10 July. Children can also take part in a search for The Queen’s Corgis with fluffy friends hiding all over the house. Normal entry fees apply, maps for the Corgi trail cost £1. Eastgate House is open Wednesday to Sunday between 10am and 5pm.
After viewing the replica crown jewels, why not test your newfound knowledge at The Guildhall Museum and see whether you can spot the differences between pictures of the real crown jewels and images of replicas? There are clues to help. For younger visitors, try an under-fives eye-spy trail. Available between Saturday, 28 May until Saturday, 4 June. Free entry to the museum, the trail costs £1.
Residents can also make their own intricate jubilee crowns out of wire and natural and recycled materials with artist Jane Furst at Rochester Art Gallery on Saturday, 28 May between 10.30am and 12.30pm or between 1.30pm and 3.30pm. The drop-in sessions are suitable for adults, young people aged 16 and above and accompanied children (eight and above). Places will be on a first come first served basis.
Child-Friendly Medway, in partnership with the Pentagon Shopping Centre, is running a three-day craft activity between Saturday, 28 May and Tuesday, 31 May, where residents can come together to create bunting for the jubilee which will be hung in the shopping centre.
More than 40 events and activities are taking place across Medway as part of the Medway Print Festival between Saturday, 4 June and Sunday, 19 June including creating hand-printed T-shirts and carving and printing artworks. Find out more.
Jam-packed weekend of events
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “I am delighted that we have a jam-packed weekend of fantastic events planned for the Platinum Jubilee long bank holiday weekend. It’s incredibly important that we celebrate, and recognise, Her Majesty The Queen’s unparalleled 70 years of dedication and service. We are looking forward to seeing our residents come together and celebrate this historic occasion both at our own spectacular events and at street parties being held across Medway.”
Medway’s jubilee celebrations will continue this summer, with many events and festivals having a jubilee twist including Armed Forces Day at the Great Lines Heritage Park in Gillingham on Saturday, 25 June; the Medway Jubilee Mile in Gillingham on Friday, 22 July and The Fabulous Fifties exhibition at Eastgate House in Rochester between Wednesday, 3 August and Sunday, 25 September.
Throughout the summer, from Monday, 6 June to Wednesday, 31 August, Child-Friendly Medway and Sport England are supporting Medway Sport to deliver a fun filled Jubilee Summer of Sport for children, young people and families.
A wide range of free activities will be on offer to encourage young people to become more active, including rounders, tennis, yoga, bootcamp, buggy fit and more in local parks and sports centres across Medway. Medway’s impressive events and festivals programme, and these fantastic sport sessions, supports our aspiration to become a Child-Friendly City, putting children and young people at the heart of everything it does.
Discover more about Medway’s fabulous jubilee events
Visit the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport's interactive map to find out more about events taking place across the UK