The welcoming town of Gillingham is set amid some of Dorset’s most idyllic countryside, near the county’s northern border. Take a wander from your holiday cottage in Gillingham and you will discover pretty streets lined with family-run businesses. The town lies on the banks of the River Stour, in Blackmore Vale, a sweeping valley characterised by ancient woods, rolling hills and farmland. Hiking to summits such as Hambleton Hill provides far-reaching views across Dorset and the neigbouring county of Somerset. Gillingham is conveniently located near the A303, which runs west towards Devon and east through Wiltshire toward London, passing Stone Henge along the way.
A luxury cottage for four in a quiet rural location, this converted chapel features an open plan living area overlooked by a galleried landing, timbered walls, and exposed beams to create a truly unique holiday experience. A countryside escape in Dorset close to many great locations.
Gillingham Museum, by the river, documents the history of the area, and is well worth a visit. There is a stone barrow in the town, and evidence of Roman settlement during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The town itself was established by the Saxons, and a beautiful Saxon cross dating from the 9th century can be seen at the church of St Mary the Virgin. During the Middle Ages, Gillingham was the site of a royal hunting lodge, while royal Gillingham Forest was reserved for the King’s deer.
Self-catering holidays in Gillingham are an opportunity to experience the area’s traditional events. These include the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show, which is an agricultural show held every August at the showground. The Gillingham Town Festival takes place in October. Directly to the town’s east, and a short drive from holiday cottages in Gillingham, Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an enchanting expanse of chalk down-land, woods and fields, scattered with pretty villages, historic churches and ancient hill forts. With 380 square-miles of unspoiled countryside and hundreds of trails and public rights of way, it is a paradise for walking, horse-riding and wildlife-watching.