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

  • Penselwood   (4.3 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 5
    Prices from
    £294
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 5
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 8 reviews
    Rating from 8 reviews
    This property provides comfortable, well-furnished accommodation for five people over two bedrooms - one first floor double, and one ground floor twin with additional fold out b...
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  • Templecombe   (6.6 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £320
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 19 reviews
    Rating from 19 reviews
    This pet friendly self contained wing of a Grade ll Listed 18th century house sleeps 4 people and is located in the village of Templecombe in Somerset just a short distance from...
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  • West Knoyle   (3.8 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £278
    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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  • 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   (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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  • Gillingham   (3.2 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 6
    Prices from
    £312
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
     
    In north Dorset between the historic towns of Sherborne and Shaftesbury, and near the Somerset/Wiltshire borders, this detached Scandinavian style wooden lodge is located on the...
     
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  • Near Wincanton   (3.9 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
     
     
    In the village of Penselwood, near the Dorset and Wiltshire borders, this detached, converted barn, about 50 yards from the owner’s home, makes an excellent base for exploring t...
     
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  • Templecombe   (6.3 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
    Prices from
    £306
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
     
    Straddling the borders of Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset, this charming row of single-storey cottages is tucked away along a peaceful country lane, close to the village of Templ...
     
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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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  • Templecombe   (6.3 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £287
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    Straddling the borders of Dorset, Wiltshire and Somerset, this charming row of single-storey cottages is tucked away along a peaceful country lane, close to the village of Templ...
     
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