Gillingham Things to Do
In my area we still have county fairs, county fairs attended by 10s of thousands with profession carnival booths, rides and top acts. I didn’t know what to expect out in this area. We arrived at what seemed like a church carnival, no professional singers, no carnival booths with people throwing coins into cups, and no loud mechanical rides ringing in the ear. This county fair was a subdued relaxing affair. The first thing we pasted was a couple of youths teaching a variety of juggling activities. While juggling 3 balls didn’t work out for me, I was able to get a plate spinning on the top of a stick. Not the same as discovering a cure for cancer, but I was pretty proud of myself,
Elsewhere there were booths with simple games for the kids with others selling a variety of local crafts and goods. My favorite was the hard cider tasting, it was so good that I even brought some home to share.
Local dancers exhibited folk dances in period outfits. The dancers were people of my age and built so I appreciated them a lot. They were people donating their time and loving what they were doing.
The biggest crowd favorite was the falconry exhibit. Birds flying free and returning at the command of their handler is a site. It makes everyone there feel like a child; watching the flights in amazement.
The county faire was not exactly Disneyland, but a relaxing enjoyable day none the less.
The Royal Engineers Museum and Library doesn’t sound like an exciting place but the name fools you. I had vision of a museum dedicated to old shovels, transits and perhaps a bulldozer or two. Instead I found galleries displaying Chinese embroideries, maps, medals, drawings, letters, paintings, uniforms alongside Zulu shields from Rorke's Drift, tanks, torpedoes, bridges and chemical weapons. There is even a Harrier jet that saw action in the Falklands. A thousand years of English history is found here.
We were walking to the Gillingham indoor pool past the Royal Engineers Museum when we noticed a sign announcing the coming of the Zulu reenactment. Now as a history buff and someone who’s seen the 1964 movie “Zulu” more than once it struck my interest. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. In the USA, it would be akin to having a reenactment of the little big horn. I’m not sure how politically correct that would be here.
The event is a four day affair in mid June. Each day is filled with lectures, shows and exhibits. The Zulu royal family is the guest of honor along with their native dancers. Anything you wish to know about the Zulu war you can find out here. The high point for us was the Zulu dancers along with the soldiers in their drills and firing demonstration. If this even was held in the US one would find giant crowds with a lack of community. Here, the crowds are local and moderate and the feeling intimate. Want to join the Zulu dancers? Just stand up and give it a whirl.
For a listing of all the activites for 2006, check out: http://www.remuseum.org.uk/events/downloads/zulu06.pdf
, Gillingham, SP8 5NR, United Kingdom
Good for: Families
Moto Service Area, M2 Motorway Junctions 4-5, Rainham, ME8 8PQ, United Kingdom
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Families
I booked this Travelodge well in advance and only paid 15 GBP per night. I have stayed in other...more
Gillingham Sports & Outdoors
Priestfield Stadium is the home of Gillingham Football Club. I visited recently to watch my team play the Gills, and we were promoted as the result of our victory, so this review may be a little rose tinted. The stadium is actually pretty good, despite what we were singing, if you exclude the away stand, which is currently made of scaffolding. However, as my brother said, at least your view isn't restricted. Tickets were £17, and programmes £3. There are food and drink stands inside which are fairly standard. If it's a sunny day, you like football, and there's a match on, why not?
Equipment: Raincoats for away fans - the stand is not covered.