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

  • Shaftesbury   (5.0 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £244
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    Explore the Heritage CoastlineArea of Outstanding Natural Beauty
     
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  • West Knoyle   (3.8 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £254
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    This is a wonderful, ground floor, semi-detached, studio barn conversion, situated in the grounds of the owner's farmhouse, in West Knoyle, near Mere, on the borders of Wiltshir...
     
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  • Wincanton   (4.5 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Prices from
    £50
    Per double room per night (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 417 reviews
    Rating from 417 reviews
    Charming country inn situated in unspoilt Somerset countryside in Wincanton with a choice of 13 ensuite rooms. Family & four poster rooms available. Kid's play area & gardens.
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  • Shaftesbury   (4.1 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £381
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
     
    This barn conversion near Shaftesbury sleeps six people in three bedrooms.
     
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  • Gillingham   (2.2 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £272
    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   (2.9 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Prices from
    £90
    per room per night (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 101 reviews
    Rating from 101 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.
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  • Templecombe   (6.8 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Prices from
    £68
    Per room per night B&B (2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 56 reviews
    Rating from 56 reviews
    With a stay at Half Moon Inn in Templecombe, you'll be within the vicinity of Cadbury Castle and Sherborne Castle. This inn is within the region of Stourhead Garden and Fleet Ai...
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  • Sturminster Newton   (3.8 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 12
    Prices from
    £392
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 12
     
    Ideal for anglers
     
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  • Shaftesbury   (3.3 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Prices from
    £55
    Per room per night (based on 2 sharing)
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 129 reviews
    Rating from 129 reviews
    With a stay at The White Lion Inn in Gillingham, you'll be close to Stourhead and Stourhead Garden. This inn is within the region of Nunney Castle and Cadbury Castle.Rooms Make ...
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 129 reviews
    Rating from 129 reviews
  • Gillingham   (3.6 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
     
     
    Set in peaceful countryside close to the Dorset/Somerset border, it forms the wing of Court Farmhouse. Set on a 200 acre working farm overlooking open countryside in the centre ...
     
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