Gillingham has a rich history dating back over 1000 years, and has enjoyed mentions in a great deal of literature including the work of Thomas Hardy. Shaftesbury is a small market town in Dorset with a recorded history that goes back to the Anglo Saxon times. You can experience what it was like back in King Alfred's time, whilst walking round the ruins of the abbey, or just enjoying the history of the area displayed in the Gold Hill Museum. The town is home of Gold Hill, made famous by the Hovis advertisement, and has magnificent views over the Blackmore Vale. There is a wide variety of independent shops, pubs and restaurants for tourists to enjoy. This is the 'Gateway to the South West', from which you can tour the area from Stonehenge in the east, to Bath and Bristol to the north, and Bournemouth and the Jurassic Coast to the south. A visit to the NT gem Stourhead is also recommended. Shop and pub 1 1/2 miles.