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   (2.2 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
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    £292
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
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    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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  • Templecombe   (6.6 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
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    £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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  • Henstridge   (5.2 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 5
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    £289
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 5
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 2 reviews
    Rating from 2 reviews
    Able to sleep five people, this two bedroom property is situated on the border between Somerset and Dorset in the little village of Henstridge.
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  • Gillingham   (1.1 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 4
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    £292
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
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    This charming, single storey barn conversion sleeps 4 people in the pretty Dorest village of Milton on Stour.
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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 405 reviews
    Rating from 405 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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  • East Knoyle   (5.1 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
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    £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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  • Warminster   (5.9 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
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    £284
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    This semi-detached barn conversion in Kilmington near Mere sleeps two people in one bedroom.
     
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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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  • West Knoyle   (3.8 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 2
    Prices from
    £261
    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   (2.5 miles from the centre of Gillingham)
    Sleeps 6
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    £298
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 6 reviews
    Rating from 6 reviews
    Sleeping up to six people in two bedrooms, this self contained wing near Shaftesbury is in an ideal location for exploring Dorset.
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