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Gillingham in Kent is one of the county’s hidden gems, boasting an abundance of things to do, from a leisurely walk at the Riverside Country Park, a trip to The Strand for a spot of sailing or a ride on the narrow-gauge railway, or a slice of history courtesy of the Royal Engineers Museum, one of our most important museums for military engineering nostalgia.
The town is home to Gillingham Football Club, who play at Priestfield Stadium. Sport remains a popular pursuit for local people, with Medway Park sports centre at the heart of the community. It boasts three indoor pools for swimming and scuba diving, a gym, a sports hall and squash courts, while Jumpers Rebound Centre is a world-famous trampolining facility. Plus, there’s Planet Ice, the home ice rink for Kent’s premier ice hockey club, the Invicta Dynamos!
Formerly, the main source of employment for Gillingham was Chatham Dockyard. When it ceased to be a naval base in 1984, the town faced significant unemployment. A Word Heritage Site application has since been planned for the site and its defences, hoping to attract history seekers to the local area. Since the 1980s, Gillingham has rebuilt its economic base and the Gillingham Business Park was set up three miles out of town, attracting investments and diversifying economic activities. It is now one of the most popular business locations in North Kent. Gillingham’s marina provides further employment, while the town has an important retail centre, with a large street market in the high street on Saturdays and Mondays. Gillingham is within easy reach of the M2 motorway, linking London to Dover, while Gillingham Railway Station has recently seen significant improvements in services. It is now the terminus of the Southern Railway system.
Serving the Gillingham and the Medway area, there are a great number of state-funded primary schools, together with 12 non-selective state-funded secondary schools, six state-funded grammar schools, five state-funded special and alternative schools, one further education college in MidKent College, three independent preparatory schools, two independent senior schools, and two independent special and alternative schools. Notable schools include The Howard School (formerly the Gillingham Boys Grammar School), Rainham Mark Grammar School (formerly the Gillingham Technical School), Rainham Girls School and the Robert Napier School. MidKent College first introduced higher education courses in 2012, and Universities at Medway is a tri-partite university campus complex comprising the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Greenwich on the former Pembroke barracks buildings.
Most of the property sales in Gillingham over the past year were terraced properties, which sold for £205,371 on average, with an overall average property price of £249,893. Gillingham is clearly a very desirable place to live, with great links to London, a fabulous social scene and a thriving local economy.