If you’ve ever wandered round Rochester and wondered what a building used to be, if it’s famous for anything or home to someone well-known from history, a new historical quiz trail is for you.
Developed by local Liz Foster, Quiz Trail is a printed booklet showing a circular self-guided trail aimed at sharing interesting history about Kent’s towns – and after creating one for Rochester, she then wrote more and has one for 13 other towns so far, with more being written.
They’re written in an easy to read magazine style, bringing to life days gone by and stepping you into the shoes of those who used to live there through fun and interesting storytelling.
Perfect for summer days out – and it won’t cost the earth; each trail is just £4.
Some interesting facts from the Rochester booklet:
In 1821, when Dicken’s was 9, he walked with his father past the rather grand house of Gad’s Hill. Charles really liked the look of it and his father said to him that if he “were to be very persevering and work very hard” he might one day live there. And he did … buying the house in 1856 and moving there permanently in 1860. Today, Gad’s Hill is a private school.
Richard Watts was a very successful, wealthy businessman famous in the history of Rochester. He represented the town in the Houses of Parliament between 1563 and 1571.
When Queen Elizabeth 1 visited his house in 1573, Mr Watts asked her if her stay had been comfortable. “Satis” she replied which is Latin for “enough” and thereafter the house near Rochester Castle became known as Satis House, made famous by Charles Dickens – Miss Havisham’s house was based on it. The house has mainly been rebuilt and is now the administration building for The King’s School, Rochester.
Quiz Trail takes you on an accessible walking route, where you can find the answers to the questions as you go – in the architecture, historical legacies and street names.
You’ll be told to look up, down and across, when usually you might simply look straight ahead.
With time on her hands during the pandemic, Liz created the first one all about Rochester, finally being able to put into place her lifelong passion for local history. She put all her new-found free time to good use researching her local area and decided to share some of the quirky things she found out, with others. Liz’s daughters Becky and Laura were keen to help their Mum in creating the Quiz Trail, as exploring and being out walking has been something they’ve always enjoyed together, so they’ve all been working together to research and come up with the trails, stories and facts.
People are taken on a route around the town, with information for children aged five and up, plus some more in-depth information for the grown-ups too. Liz, Becky and Laura wanted to make sure it was an activity that all ages can enjoy together – families with younger children through to active retired. It’s been popular with grandparents to do with their grandchildren.
One of their priorities was to make the routes accessible for wheels – buggies, prams and wheelchairs. Liz and her girls had a very close family member who was a wheelchair user and so not only did Liz have the understanding of what routes are actually accessible, but also experience of the frustration of not being able to take part because it wasn’t.
Liz said: “The brochures were developed from my love of local history. When I moved to Rochester, I went and found out lots about it and with so much interesting stuff to know, I thought I can’t be the only one who would find it interesting! Once I’d started I couldn’t stop as Kent history is so fascinating and we now have fourteen Quiz Trails!
“When the girls were young, we did what most of us do – have a day trip somewhere, walk around the middle popular bit, have something to eat and drink, get an ice cream and go home all having had a lovely day out.
But we went home not knowing very much about the place we’d just visited. Who were the people of the past? What were the town stories? What went on there? Who was misbehaving?!
“History can be known for being boring and so the challenge I set myself was to find an exciting way to get it all across and that’s when we came up with the circular route, quiz and booklet combo.
“The walking quiz trail can be a quick whizz about or a slow meander; you could even do it a bit at a time – useful in the UK where a downpour is never far away!
“People who live in the town might learn something new, families can have a fairly cheap and fun day out together and visitors can learn some really interesting things about the buildings they walk past on their travels.
“A walk around a town is so much more fun when you’re looking for clues and could win a prize at the end!
“And they are all accessible – tried and tested because we don’t want anyone to be excluded from the fun.
“With everything being so expensive, our little booklets might provide an inexpensive but wonderful day out, giving people a reason to go out, get some fresh air, exercising their bodies and brains at the same time!
“Great for families and great for visitors – you could even take them on a trail you’ve already done to show off how much you know, stopping for some lovely eats and treats along the way.”
The Quiz Trails include questions for children and adults and once you’ve finished and collected all the clues, you can enter a prize draw to be in with the chance of winning a prize!
Trails are from 1-2 miles and take 1-2 hours, or more if you stop lots.
There are now 14 trails written for Kentish towns:
Deal & Walmer
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Liz has also strayed over the border into East Sussex with her Rye Quiz Trail and is currently writing Folkestone and Sevenoaks, with more to follow.
Quiz Trail is available to buy online, or from a local shop – all listed on the website.