Gillingham, Dorset

Gillingham, Dorset

Gillingham is a town in the Blackmore Vale area of Dorset and is the county's most northerly town located close to the Somerset and Wiltshire borders. It's a great base for touring by road and rail. You can pick up train links from Gillingham station to Sherborne, Salisbury and beyond. Gillingham hosts several popular festivals over the summer. The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Agricultural Show is a great day out for all the family with a traditional cattle show, various stalls, competitions and events. The Gillingham Festival is an annual arts festival with live music, theatre, dance, exhibitions, food and wine, antique valuations, open gardens and classic cars on display. Accommodation in the area includes traditional B&Bs and fine old inns with rooms. You'll also find a wide choice of country cottages around the town.

History

There has been a settlement at Gillingham since 2500 BC. Just a mile to the north west of the town is Longbury Barrow - an ancient burial mound dating from the Neolithic period. The Romans also settled here and all sorts of artefacts have been found around the town and are displayed in the town museum. However, it was really a Saxon stronghold from which the name is derived meaning "homestead of the followers of Gylla". Gillingham's church, St Mary the Virgin's Church, has several Saxon features including a cross shaft dating from the ninth century. Other historic buildings include the Tudor Wyke Hall which along with the church is the oldest building in the town. Gillingham was also the seat of a royal hunting lodge in the Middle Ages used by Henry I, Henry II, Henry III, and King John. The lodge was destroyed by Edward III in 1369 after it fell into disrepair. From 1769 Gillingham developed as a mill town for silk. The town flourished with the coming of the railway in the nineteenth century and a variety of industries have supported the town including glove making, brickmaking, cheese production and printing.

Gillingham Museum

Gillingham Museum was founded in 1953 to house the Freame family's collection of historic documents and artefacts. The museum is now within a modern purpose built extension to the library and houses a range of collections including geological specimens and artefacts dating from the Iron Age, and the Roman and Saxon periods. The arrival of the railway is also detailed in exhibits and there is a reconstruction of a Victorian parlour. Highlights amongst the collection include a series of sketches and reproductions of paintings that John Constable did of Gillingham. The original Constable painting of "Old Gillingham Bridge" is in the Tate Gallery in London.

Accommodation in Gillingham

  • Gillingham   (2.9 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Prices from
    £90
    per room per night (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 112 reviews
    Rating from 112 reviews
    Traditional pub with modern decor. Close to Gillingham. 5 en-suite rooms for families and couples. Breakfast included. Restaurant serving lunch and evening meal. Free Wi-Fi.
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 112 reviews
    Rating from 112 reviews
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  • Shaftesbury   (2.6 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Prices from
    £395
    Per short break (seasonal) sleeps 4
     
    Luxury two bedroom lodge in the beautiful Dorset countryside close to Shaftesbury. Lovely furnished deck, cosy lounge with feature fire, use of onsite fitness suite.
     
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  • Henstridge   (5.1 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £264
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 6 reviews
    Rating from 6 reviews
    With wonderful views over the fields from the rear of the property, this beautiful cottage makes a wonderful spot for a romantic retreat.
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  • Gillingham   (2.2 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £292
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 11 reviews
    Rating from 11 reviews
    Rural Huntingford is a small hamlet that makes an ideal location from which to explore the beautiful country views and many National Trust properties and gardens close by, inclu...
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  • Gillingham   (0.6 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £326
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 5 reviews
    Rating from 5 reviews
    This detached chalet bungalow is located on the edge of the town of Gillingham in Dorset and sleeps six people in three bedrooms.
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  • Shaftesbury   (2.5 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £300
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 9 reviews
    Rating from 9 reviews
    Charming two bedroom Dorset country cottage with exposed stone work, lovely garden, resident miniature ponies & donkeys, family amenities & beautiful views. 5 dogs welcome.
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    Rating from 9 reviews
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  • Gillingham   (1.1 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £297
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
    This charming, single storey barn conversion sleeps 4 people in the pretty Dorest village of Milton on Stour.
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    Rating from 2 reviews
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  • Henstridge   (5.2 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £282
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 5
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 3 reviews
    Rating from 3 reviews
    Able to sleep up to five people, this two bedroom property is situated on the border between Dorset and Somerset in the little village of Henstridge.
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    Rating from 3 reviews
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  • Shaftesbury   (2.5 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £319
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 5
     
    This charming semi-detached cottage sits in the heart of the small village of Motcombe in the West Country, and can sleep five people in three bedrooms.
     
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  • East Knoyle   (5.1 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £260
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    This self contained wing of the owner's home on the edge of the village of East Knoyle sleeps two people.
     
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