Chatham Dockyard built ships from the 16th to the 20th century, the last one launched in 1966. Many of these were Royal Navy warships, including HMS Victory. This maritime heritage and many of the original buildings of the 18th and 19th centuries have now been preserved as a visitor and educational attraction. Covering 80 acres, the Dockyard has land-based displays such as the Wooden Walls, describing the 18th century navy, and the Ropery, and also three different types of ship to visit: a Victorian sloop, a World War 2 destroyer and a 1960s submarine. There is also a lifeboat display.
The site has a shop, café and car park. It is open daily from February to October; hours vary, details are on the website. Land displays are accessible for the disabled, but visits to the ships are difficult. Virtual tours are available as an alternative.
Eastbridge Hospital and Greyfriars Chapel
Visitors to Eastbridge Hospital can see the Chantry Chapel, the Undercroft, the Refectory and the Pilgrim's Chapel. At Greyfriars Chapel and the Franciscan Gardens visitors can read about the history of the Chapel and take a stroll around the Franciscan Gardens.
Eastbridge Hospital is open all year between Monday and Saturday from 10am until 5pm, but closed on Sundays. Greyfriars Chapel and the Franciscan Gardens are open from Easter to the end of September from 2.00pm until 4.00pm, Monday to Saturday but is also closed on Sundays. Entry is free but donations are gratefully received.
Kearsney Abbey Gardens
Kearsney Abbey Gardens is dominated by the large lake which is set in the centre of the gardens. Visitors can take a walk through the woodland and around the park, where many animals such as ducks, swans, moor hens and geese can be seen.
Toilet facilities are available, as well as two good sized car parks (which are free). There is also a children's play area and a cafe which sells ice creams, tea and coffee and snacks. Onsite facilities also include a BBQ / Picnic area where visitors can enjoy the surroundings of the gardens.
Howletts Wild Animal Park
Howlett's Wild Animal Park was set up by John Aspinall and the park covers 90 acres. Within the grounds of the park, visitors can see rare and endangered species such as Siberian Tigers, Clouded Leopards and Gorillas. The keepers take part in feeding sessions where visitors can view the animals being fed.
There is a restaurant, an education centre, toilets and a gift shop. Visitors can also visit John Apinalls final resting place in the shadow of the family home.
This park is open every day except for December 25th (Christmas Day)
Summer: 10am 6pm (last admission 4.30pm)
Winter: 10am 5pm (last admission 3.30pm)