Welcome to Rainham

Our area guide to Rainham and Gillingham offers a brief overview of the towns and their attractions, properties, schools, history, council tax and public transport links.

Area Guides

Rainham and Gillingham Overview

Rainham and Gillingham form part of the Medway Towns (comprising Strood, Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham under a single unitary authority – Medway). The north of Rainham borders the south shore of the Medway estuary. On the western boundary is a large mixed-use business park (Gillingham Business Park), which includes some large retail outlets. The east of Rainham has a more semi-rural feel. Rainham has its own little neighbourhoods, including Rainham Mark, Macklands, Parkwood, Wigmore, Twydall, Meresborough and Lower Rainham, all falling in the ME8 postcode. Gillingham - ME7 - sits to the north west of Rainham, also enjoying a border with the Medway estuary. There is a complete mixture of people in Rainham and Gillingham, from young families to retirees, with houses to suit all tastes and requirements. Increasingly London commuters are moving to ME7 and ME8 to enjoy the value-for-money housing stock and high-speed train line into the capital. 

Rainham and Gillingham Shopping

Rainham itself has two modest shopping areas – the main covered precinct and Parkwood Shopping Centre. Together they offer a comprehensive range of shops, from Tesco and Boots to specialty record shop MagicDisco and Goldings Bakery. More extensive shopping facilities can be found at Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre where there are over 50 popular retailers all under one roof, including the largest M&S in the Medway and the largest Sainsbury's in Kent. Gillingham High Street and Gillingham Business Retail Park are two other shopping destinations Medway residents can enjoy.

Rainham and Gillingham Attractions

If you love the outdoors, you’ll love Rainham as it has a plethora of open spaces. Capstone Country Park covers 114 hectares of former farmland set on the North Downs. Explore the ancient woodlands, old orchards and freshwater lake. Berengrave Nature Reserve is a former chalk pit, which has been improved by Medway Council. The boardwalks now allow visitors to easily view the grassland, habitats and woodlands. Riverside Country Park covers 100 hectares alongside the Medway Estuary and includes Motney Hill. Tee off at Upchurch Golf Club, cheer on The Gills at Gillingham Football Club, take a dip at Splashes swimming pool or find peace and a good book at the town’s library. If you like amateur dramatics then you’ll love The Oasthouse Theatre where the Rainham Theatrical Society put on six major productions a year – it’s reputed to be the first ever theatre in an oasthouse in the world! 

Gillingham is home to the 'Gills' - the only Kent-based club in the Football League and sport types can also play a round at Gillingham Golf Club or swim a few lengths at Splashes Leisure Centre. Love winter sports? Gillingham is the town to live, with the Silver Blades Ice Rink on Ambley and the Ski & Snowboard Centre on Capstone Road. For wide open space and a sense of history, head to Great Lines Heritage Park, which connects Gillingham, Chatham and Brompton. Here you can discover 70 hectares of open space, Fort Amherst and the Chatham Naval Memorial. 

Rainham and Gillingham Food & Drink

There’s no shortage of pubs and restaurants and some highlights include The Barn Restaurant, The Barge, The King George V, Eight, the Beefeater at Manor Farm, The Cricketers, The Hungry Fox and The Flying Saucer. Cargo in Gillingham is a great bar for cocktails while The Spyglass & Kettle and The Three Mariners are the places to book for good quality pub grub.

Rainham and Gillingham History

Stone Age tools have been discovered in Rainham and there is evidence that Romans worked the land in the local area. The village was first recorded in AD 811 as Roegingham, thought to mean ‘the home of the people living on rough ground’, which is a likelihood given the flinty soil of the area. The medieval village was part of the royal estate of Milton Regis and evidence of bygone buildings can still be observed on the Lower Rainham road. Like a lot of Kentish towns, Rainham went from a small village to a bustling town when the railway line was extended. The population in 1801 was just 422 and two centuries later it is well over 6,000. Gillingham was mentioned in the Domesday Book as far back as 1086 and started life as a small hamlet with large farm holdings during the time of the Norman conquest.

Rainham and Gillingham Property Market

There is a staggering amount of property choice in Rainham, from Grade II listed buildings, Victorian terraces, Edwardian terraces, and 1930s semis and terraces to 1950s post war homes, new build estates, bungalows and apartments with river views. The most recent property explosion in the town came in the 1960s when the Parkwood Estate was built. At the time, it was the largest housing estate in Europe. The area around Gillingham Pier along the waterfront is undergoing intense regeneration. A number of mixed-use developments from top house builders, such as Berkeley, are changing the former industrial landscape and are encouraging further investment into this part of ME7.

Rainham and Gillingham Council Tax

Rainham and Gillingham fall within the Medway authority and the latest council tax charges can be found here:-


Rainham and Gillingham Education

Primary schools

  • Bryony Primary School
  • Fairview Community Primary School
  • Deanwood Primary School
  • Hempstead Infant & Junior Schools
  • Miers Court Primary School
  • Park Wood Infant & Junior School
  • St Margaret's CofE Infant & Junior School
  • Riverside Primary School
  • St Augustine of Canterbury CP School
  • St Thomas of Canterbury RCP School
  • Thames View Infant & Junior School

Secondary schools

  • Rainham Mark Grammar School
  • Rainham School for Girls
  • The Howard School
  • The Robert Napier School
  • Brompton Academy

Further education

  • University of Kent

Rainham and Gillingham Hospitals

The nearest hospital is the Medway Maritime Hospital

Rainham and Gillingham Transport

Rainham and Gillingham have their own train stations, which is on the Chatham Main Line running to St Pancras and Ebbsfleet International (both for the Eurostar), Victoria, Bromley South, Dover Priory, Canterbury East, Ramsgate and Margate. A typical rush-hour journey from Gillingham to St Pancras takes 44 minutes, and 50 minutes from Rainham. Commuters into central London also use the popular coach service run by National Express, and departing from Hempstead Valley. Road users are well connected to the A2.

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To make sure we turn enquiries into viewings, we are available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Our longer opening hours are a huge advantage when selling a property. Ask a member of staff to show you their diary on a Sunday and you’ll be amazed by the number of appointments.