Wareham was an important and prosperous south coast port in Saxon times and its accessibility also attracted regular Viking raids - Canute captured it in 1016, and earthen walls were raised around the town on three sides for protection. Those grassy banks remain a haven for wildlife now, and enclose a thriving market town with a Saxon street plan and more than 200 buildings of historic and architectural interest.
Follow the signposted ‘Walls Walk’ for fine views over the meandering River Piddle, or take the ‘Town Walk’ to explore Wareham's heritage and shop-lined streets. Be sure to see the parish church of Lady St. Mary with its magnificent stained glass. In Dorset's oldest church, St. Martins in North Street, see the life-size stone effigy of Lawrence of Arabia. His cottage Cloud’s Hill, is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.
There are also plenty of other attractions in town and nearby; the Town Museum outlines the history of the town from pre-historic times and the World of Toys is home to a collection of antique and collectors toys including musical boxes and automata. Maybe you would prefer to join a river cruise at the picturesque Quay, hire your own boat perhaps, and when evening comes, enjoy a film at Britain's only gas-lit cinema, The Rex. Purbeck Sports Centre offers a first-class facility with an indoor swimming pool especially for those days when the weather doesn’t quite hold out!
The best way to discover Wareham and Purbeck is by foot and, as well as the two town walks, there are four ‘waymaked’ routes that help you to experience the wonderful scenery and fascinating wildlife for yourself. Call into Purbeck Information & Heritage Centre on South Street for the Four Walks Pack (Four Walks Pack including The Purbeck Way, The Purbeck Way West, The Two Rivers Walk and Wareham Forest Way @ £1.50).
There are plenty of places to eat and drink in town, from tearooms and traditional fish and chip shops to English and continental restaurants as well as a variety of pubs offering traditional fare. Don’t forget the numerous events including Wareham Carnival (25th July – 01st August), Purbeck Aware (15th May – 13th June) and Dorset Art Weeks (29th May – 13th June), as well as the Farmer’s Market (every fourth Friday of each month), the Home Producers Market (every Thursday in the URC Hall) and the Town Market (every Thursday in East Street).
To learn more about Wareham and its special events visit the Purbeck Information and Heritage Centre in the former Holy Trinity Church on South Street. Population 8,000
Corfe Castle Model Village and Gardens
Corfe Castle Museum
Margaret Green Foundation Trust Animal Sanctuary
Purbeck Toy and Musical Boxes and Vintage End of Pier Museum
Wareham Town Museum
Pub and BarPriory Hotel
Wareham Wren Bookshop
Holme Nurseries Ltd
Roberts Chemist Ltd
Shaylers Vision Centre
A F Joy
Solemate Shoes Ltd
Peter Hedley Gallery
Wessex Fine Art & Ceramics
Harrys Cafe Bar
Clavells Cafe & Farm Shop
B Curtis Ltd
The Tank Museum Shop
The Creative Gallery
Richard Harvey Wines Ltd
Places to Stay near Wareham
Priory Hotel (0.22 miles)
The beautiful, historic, 16th century Priory Hotel with its riverside setting, is somewhere very special indeed. A perfect place to relax and unwind, where peace and tranquility prevail.
With open views of the abounding countryside, ... More
Worgret Manor Hotel (0.98 miles)
Springfield Hotel, Leisure Club & Spa (1.70 miles)
Kemps Country House (2.75 miles)
Mortons House Hotel (4.28 miles)
Kimmeridge Farmhouse (4.89 miles)
Scott Arms Hotel (5.32 miles)
Park Lodge (5.40 miles)
Kingston Country Courtyard (5.63 miles)
The Cheese House (5.66 miles)
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