Obviously my son James’s choice of University will be determined only by a detailed cost-benefit analysis, with higher earnings built into a DCF model at discount rates of 13.7%.

I was, however, hopeful he’d be looking at some exciting open days in Exeter, St Andrews and Lampeter, all places meeting his requirements and near Good Beer Guide ticks.

Instead, we ended up in Chatham.

Now the University of Kent’s naval branch is very attractive, but why is it so cold here ?  Years ago we visited just before the opening of Dickens World, and the adjacent dockyard was an ice rink, which was probably a bigger draw than the “attractions” in the UK’s most ridiculed theme park. Sad to see Dickens World close this week though.

There’s some really attractive buildings on the old Naval barracks, including a library converted from the old drill hall. I’d thought libraries were dead.

While James toured the lecturing facilities I got a bit distracted by the modern art, which seemed to me the best advert for Chatham.IMG_20161015_110740.jpg

The bus tour took us around the backstreets, home to some wonderfully basic Victorian locals, some of which I sense I may be revisiting later this year.

Some of the lectures are held in the Historic Dockyard itself, which just looked like old boats to me.

Image result for chatham historic dockyard

Cargo bar apart, I was impressed with the student accommodation. James was dragged round the kitchen and laundry while I snapped the art.  From the rooms here you can see the magnificent sight that is Gillingham High Street.

Because I’d been well-behaved, I was allowed one new tick on the way home.

Being Kent, it was inevitably a micro-pub, and a deviously well-hidden one at that.


Strood’s 10:50 From Victoria is tucked away out of sight under the railway arches next to some antique shops, but manages to incorporate the most attractive outside seating area I’ve seen in a micro.


Not quite the biergartens of Nuremberg, but pleasant enough to attract a wide range of custom on a Saturday afternoon.  The interior, seating and ale pricing were more traditional micropub, although that’s a hefty range of beers there.


Good to see Strood in the Beer Guide again.  Next Saturday it’s the rather different attractions of the  University of East Anglia in Norwich.


  1. As you may have gathered from previous comments, Martin; the Medway Towns aren’t my favourite part of Kent, and are not somewhere I’d visit out of choice. The King George V is definitely one of the better pubs in Chatham, but off the top of my head I can’t think of any others, which appeal to me.

    The Strood micro-pub looks interesting, but please don’t labour under the misconception that Kent is all micro-pubs. There are none within the area covered by my local West Kent CAMRA Branch. This is probably due to a combination of high rents and relatively few vacant retail premises, but I could be wrong.
    If I were you I’d be persuading my lad to plump for UEA as his chosen seat of learning.


    1. I’d noted your feelings before Paul ! I was being slightly churlish about micros, though certainly the new Beer Guide entries in east Kent and into SE London give the impressions micros rule.

      We’ll see about UEA !


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