Besides great sights, an interesting history and many exciting destinations, Gillingham has a lot more to offer. Here you will find many helpful tips to enjoy your vacation in Gillingham.
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Sights in Gillingham
Gillingham is a town in the county of Kent in England. It is situated on the River Medway, approximately 80 miles (130 km) eastsoutheast of London. The town has a population of around 100,000 people.
The town of Gillingham was first recorded in the AngloSaxon Chronicle in the year 695 as “Gillingham”. The name is thought to derive from the Old English word “gyllingas”, meaning “place of the Gylla’s people”.
The town was an important Royal Navy Dockyard from the 16th century until the early 20th century. The dockyard was closed in 1984, although part of it is now used as a commercial harbour.
The town is home to the University of Kent’s Medway campus, which was established in 1965. The campus is located on the site of the former Naval Dockyard.
The town of Gillingham is served by two railway stations, Gillingham (Kent) and Gillingham (Dorset), both of which are on the mainline from London to Exeter.
The town has a number of tourist attractions, including:
The Historic Dockyard Museum
The Medway campus of the University of Kent
The Medway Queen paddle steamer
The Gillingham F.C. football stadium
The Coming Home Centre, a Second World War museum
The Strand leisure centre
History of Gillingham
Gillingham can trace its origins back to the 7th century when it was first mentioned in the Freebold charter, considered to be one of the oldest documents in Kent. In this charter, Bishop Hedda of Wessex gifted land in Gillingham to his nephew, Freebold. It is believed that Freebold then built a manor house on the site, which later became known as ‘Freebold’s Hall’.
During the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror gave the estate to his halfbrother, Odo of Bayeux. Odo was responsible for the construction of the nearby Castle Baillieul, which helped to defended the area from attacks by the French. The castle was later destroyed during the Hundred Years War.
Gillingham grew in importance during the Medieval period as it became a key stopping point for pilgrims travelling to the nearby Canterbury Cathedral. The town also became a market town, with a market charter being granted by King John in 1202.
During the 13th century, Gillingham was ravaged by two major fires, the first of which destroyed much of the town. The second fire, in 1248, destroyed the parish church. A new church, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene, was built in 1250.
The Black Death reached Gillingham in 1348, claiming the lives of around half of the town’s population.
In 1568, Queen Elizabeth I visited Gillingham. Her visit was recorded in the church registers at the time, which noted that ‘the Queen drank of the water of the well, and was mightily pleased with the same’.
During the English Civil War, Gillingham was a Royalist stronghold. In 1642, a force of around 1,000 Royalist troops occupied the town, holding it against a Parliamentarian army of 3,000. However, the Parliamentarians eventually took control of the town and held it until the end of the war.
The 19th century saw the coming of the railways to Gillingham, with the first station opening in 1856. The town continued to grow in the early 20th century, with several large housing estates being built to accommodate Londoners moving out of the city.
During the Second World War, Gillingham was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe. The worst raid occurred on the night of the 5th/6th May 1941, when around 100 people were killed.
Today, Gillingham is a bustling town with a population of around 100,000. It is home to a number of businesses and industries, as well as being a popular shopping destination. The town centre has been undergoing regeneration in recent years, with new shops and developments breathing new life into the area.
Vacation in Gillingham
Gillingham is a town in the county of Kent in England. The town has a population of around 100,000 people and is located in the southeast of the country, near the coast.
Gillingham is a popular tourist destination for a number of reasons. Firstly, the town is home to a number of historic buildings and landmarks. Secondly, the town has a range of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as a lively nightlife scene. Finally, Gillingham is within easy reach of a number of other popular tourist destinations in the southeast of England, such as London, Dover and Canterbury.
There are a number of different ways to spend your time on vacation in Gillingham. If you are interested in history, then you can visit some of the town’s historic landmarks, such as the 12th century Gillingham Castle, the 14th century St Mary’s Church, or the 18th century Gillingham Dockyard. Alternatively, you can simply enjoy some retail therapy in one of Gillingham’s many shops, or relax in one of the town’s parks or gardens.
If you are looking for something to do in the evening, then Gillingham has a number of pubs, clubs and bars for you to choose from. Alternatively, you could see a show at the Gillingham Empire Theatre, or catch a film at the Odeon Cinema.
If you are looking to explore beyond Gillingham during your vacation, then there are a number of other places of interest within easy reach. Dover, Canterbury and London can all be reached within an hour by train, and there are a number of coach and bus services running to other destinations in the southeast of England.
So, whether you are interested in history, shopping, nightlife or simply want to explore the southeast of England, Gillingham is the perfect vacation destination for you.
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