Gillingham is a town situated in the Medway area of Kent. It has a great deal of history, with it dating back to the Domesday Book in 1086. Within such a lovely town it is unsurprising that there are many things to do in Gillingham.
Within this article, we will be looking at all the diverse attractions and activities that are available to do in Gillingham. With so many things to do in Gillingham you will be spoilt for choice.
Explore Gillingham’s Historic Dockyard
For any and all history buffs, a trip to Gillingham’s historic dockyards should be top of your list of things to do in Gillingham.
Chatham Docks, as is their official name, was a Royal Navy dockyard located on the River Medway. Established in Chatham in the 16th Century, the dockyard expanded in Gillingham and in the early 20th Century over two-thirds of the docks were in Gillingham. The dockyard was first built following the Reformation which led to relations with the Catholic countries of Europe worsening, leading to a requirement for additional defences. Over 414 years Chatham Royal Dockyard provided more than 500 ships for the Royal Navy, and was at the forefront of shipbuilding, industrial and architectural technology.
The dockyard closed in 1984 and it is now managed as the Chatham Historic Dockyard visitor attraction by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust. It hosts many events and workshops, including the Call the Midwife location tour. Although the show is set in London, much of it is filmed at the dockyards.
The opening times are dependent on the time of year so best to check the website to plan your visit.
Relax at Riverside Country Park
Riverside Country Park is one of Gillingham’s beautiful parks and is the perfect place to visit for any walkers, runners or cyclists.
The park covers 100 hectares alongside the Medway Estuary, including Motney Hill and Berengrave Local Nature Reserve. There are many different habitats within the park, including mudflats and salt marsh, ponds and reedbeds, grassland and scrub, which provide a haven for wildlife so it is a wonderful place to visit for nature lovers.
The park opens daily at 8am and has many facilities such as a cafe and a toilet. The closing time is dependent on the season so make sure to check the website.
Visit the Royal Engineers Museum
The Royal Engineers Museum is Kent’s largest military museum where you can discover the story of the Royal Engineers and how they have helped the British Army live, move and fight for over 300 years.
The Museum was formally established by the Institution of Royal Engineers in 1875 and now houses a collection which includes 25 Victoria Crosses, Wellington’s map of Waterloo, Chard’s weapons from the Zulu War, an amazing collection of bridge laying tanks and so much more.
This is a must visit for any history or military aficionados. The opening times are Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm and tickets are £14 for adults, £12 for seniors and local adults and £6 for children.
Enjoy Family Fun at Strand Leisure Park
The Strand Lido and Leisure Park has been a popular destination for visitors since it opened in 1896 and it has the UK’s only saltwater, riverside outdoor pool. It also has river walks, play areas and a cafe so all the family will be able to enjoy a visit.
To enjoy the fun, you must pre-book a session online. The session times are 10.30am to 1.30pm and 2.30pm to 5.30pm. Check the website for more details.
Discover Local Flavors on Gillingham High Street
Gillingham High Street has a lot going on within it. It has the bi-weekly market, every Monday and Saturday, where you can peruse around 50 different stalls.
The high street itself has many different shops, such as New Look and Boots, alongside many cafes and restaurants which will be perfect for a spot of lunch.
Gillingham high street is also very near to the home of Gillingham FC, making it a handy place to go eat before a game.
Experience the Thrills at Gillingham Ice Bowl
Planet Ice is Gillingham’s local ice bowl. If you love ice skating or ice hockey, you will find a lot to do here. Even if you aren’t a fan, it also has many different events including musical performances.
If you are wanting to learn to ice skate, they also have classes available for all levels. They also have classes for learning ice hockey and show skating.
Stroll Through Capstone Farm Country Park
Capstone Farm Country Park is another thing to do in Gillingham which is perfect for nature lovers. It has a variety of habitats including ancient woodlands, old orchards, a freshwater lake, meadows and hedgerows.
The park has a well equipped visitor centre with disabled access, family friendly facilities, information leaflets, and natural history displays. There is also a lakeside café which will provide a scenic spot for refreshments.
If you are after more than a lovely cup of tea and a stunning view, you can make the most of the trim trail, the waymarked walks and running trails, the cycle routes and mountain bike track. There is a network of bridleways, which include jumps, for horse riders to enjoy.
The park opens at 8.30am until dusk.
Participate in Local Festivals and Events
A quick trip to Gillingham’s neighbouring town, Rochester, will allow you to enjoy the annual Rochester Sweeps Festival. Spread across three days, it is a wonderful celebration full of music, dancing, entertainment, food, drink and much more.
Staying in Rochester, you can also enjoy the Rochester Dickensian Christmas Festival which brings Victorian festivities to Kent. Expect to find street entertainment, readings, song and dance as well as amazing Dickens’ characters as you explore the literary journey that was the great writer’s life.
Enjoy a Day Out at Chatham Ski and Snowboard Centre
If you do enjoy the cold and snow sports but ice skating isn’t your thing, Chatham Ski and Snowboard will be able to help you out.
You are able to ski or snowboard but there is also tobogganing and the centre is available for birthday parties.
If you are completely new to skiing and/or snowboarding, there are many lesson options available such as private lessons, group lessons or family lessons.
The opening times are 10am to 10pm, Monday to Friday and then 10am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday. Check the website for full details before you visit.
Top Things To Do In Gillingham
There are so many wonderful things to do in Gillingham. It does not matter what you are into or what you enjoy, you will find something to do in Gillingham. From walks in beautiful parks to getting the adrenaline pumping via snowing boarding or ice hockey, you will find something to do in Gillingham.
Whether you are a visitor or local, take the town to explore the diverse offerings that Gillingham has on offer.