Just seven miles from Poole, Wimborne is a quintessentially British market town with a wealth of wonders to explore. Sam Burden shares her childhood memories and insider knowledge of this market town.
As a Wimborne native, nothing beats my early memories of this charming market town being a positive rural escape from the more commercialised towns.
From my grandparents taking my brother and I to the local cafés for homemade cakes and tea, to the latter years of joining my friends on a hot summers day with a picnic on the freshly mowed lawn on the Minster Green. Although the town has changed somewhat within the past years re-inventing itself from sleepy and old fashioned to something much more current, it still upholds a community feel; every person you bump into is smiling and willing to engage in conversation with you.
Packed with history, Wimborne is centred around the Minster Church, which dates back to the 12th century. If you take a walk on along the town’s cobbled streets you’ll notice the historic 15th and 16th Century buildings. Although big high street retailers are few and far between, the boutique shopping outlets here are a real treat! There is an abundance of independent shops selling anything from individual fashion buys, interior design and traditional sweets! There are also a smattering of high street brands such as Fat Face, Crew and Seasalt Cornwall. I particularly love venturing into Mirage Boutique on Mill Lane and finding some unique jewellery pieces. From Friday to Sunday, the Farmers Market just outside of the town centre is somewhere to pick up some great deals on fashion, books and crafts!
If you want to grab a bite to eat, there is a great mix of cute cafés and restaurants and much of the food is homemade and locally sourced, so can be a real culinary treat!
My personal favourite is Cloisters Café on East Street, where a tempting plethora of homemade treats and specialist coffees and teas await, including their famous gigantic toasted teacakes – which are as big as person’s face but perfect for sharing! And of course their traditional Dorset Apple Cake!
If cheese and wine are your thing, you must visit the newly opened Renoufs – a fun way to enjoy a sharing charcuterie board with a choice of the very best and finest local and international wines and cheeses with friends. It’s not hard to understand why the restaurant is always packed and booking a table is essential!
The town really comes into its own in terms of nightlife. Every street is alive with independent pubs and distinctive quirky bars. There are around 12 pubs in the town that all offer something different, whether it’s a sports bar like The Cricketers, or the Rising Sun for live band performances. For something unique, try The Butcher’s Dog Bar and Bottleshop on East Street; a bijoux bar nestled in the back of High Street that serves fourteen different craft beers on tap or how about The Gin House on West Borough that creates unique takes on cocktails and gin tasting experiences.
In Wimborne, you’re never more than a stone’s throw from Dorset’s stunning countryside. Set between two rivers, the town is perfectly placed for riverside walks, or head slightly further afield to Badbury Rings, an Iron Age hill fort dating back to 800BC. Nowadays, the hillsides are perfect for families and dog walkers. Pack a picnic and take in the views. There’s also Kingston Lacy, a lavish 17th century family home commissioned by one of the most powerful families of Dorset to be built to resemble an Italian Palace and set in 8,500 acres of unspoilt countryside.
So, if you’re looking for somewhere charming to escape for the day or spend overnight, Wimborne is the place you need to put on your list!
The Kings Head in the heart of Wimborne Square is an impressive 200-year-old hotel. With high ceilings and large windows, this elegant residence is reminiscent of a bygone era but finished with modern comforts.
Rooms start from around £70 for a double midweek and around £110 weekends for a double including breakfast.
Call +44 (0)1202 880101
Try the Tickled Pig on West Borough. This family run restaurant is housed in a grade II listed building dating back to 1603. Feast on innovative dishes where everything is made with in-season ingredients locally sourced from their own kitchen garden or from Dorset.
Fun for children and adults alike, venture to the delightful Model Town & Gardens - a unique attraction, offering a to scale model of the town in the 1950s. Situated on King Street, you will feel like a giant whilst walking around this miniature version of Wimborne.
Call +44 (0)1202 881924
Did you know?
- Sir Tim Berners Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is patron of the nearby village of Colehill, where he lived during the early 1990s.
- It has the highest life expectancy in the country, not to mention highest rate of people being married per capita.
- The town has Royal roots, with King Henry VII’s grandparents taking residence in this town and nearby Kingston Lacy.