Mini guide to Gillingham
Located in the beautiful English county of Dorset, Gillingham is the region's
most northerly town and is believed to have been home to settlers as far back
as the Stone Age. However, its true historical development can be traced back
to the Saxons, who made reference to it in 10th century documents. Modern day
Gillingham retains many important features of its history and heritage and this,
coupled with its proximity to the capital, makes it such a popular tourist town.
Besides the stunning countryside surrounding Gillingham, visitors come to see
the town's museum, which is a relatively new attraction having only been completed
in 1996. The museum's displays chronicle the history of the area from Saxon
times up to the 20th century and there are also paintings of the town by John
Constable, a feature that is especially popular with tourists.
Around Gillingham the pace of life is slow and typical of a country town. That's
not to suggest that there's nothing to do here; the local leisure centre is
open to all and features an indoor swimming pool, squash and badminton courts,
sports halls and a fitness suite. Meanwhile, for lawn bowling fans there's a
six rink indoor bowling club and outdoor bowling green. Gillingham Football
Club and North Dorset Rugby Football Club both have grounds and modern club
houses in the town.
Gillingham is the main shopping centre for a number of surrounding towns and
villages and features a range of independent retailers as well as two large
supermarkets. The town has a reasonable selection of restaurants, with an emphasis
on traditional British fare, while local country pubs provide cold beer and
a warm welcome to anyone looking for a pleasant evening's entertainment.
For a day out from Gillingham take a trip to nearby Shaftesbury, a town with
a history and heritage as rich as Gillingham. With many historic buildings including
an abbey built by King Alfred, a museum with displays of the town's key historical
periods and all the charm of a traditional country town, Shaftesbury is well
worth a visit.
Gillingham can be reached by car via the M3 or A303 from southern destinations
or the A350 from northern locations. Gillingham Station has a direct link with
London Waterloo Station for easy rail access, while Heathrow and Gatwick are
the closest international airports.
Selection of hotels in this region:
Click below for a
full list of hotels and online booking