Wareham is a beautiful riverside town brimming with 2,000 years worth of history. It’s one of the few remaining Saxon-walled towns in the whole of England and the perfect place for a peaceful countryside holiday.
If you’re planning on visiting Dorset, we’ve put together a list of some of the most interesting things to do in Wareham while you’re there. From tasty eateries to walks along the fossil-filled coastline, Wareham is a must-visit.
Whether you’re an avid hiker, birdwatcher, or simply want a relaxing retreat, Wareham has something for you.
Things to do in Wareham Dorset
If you’re looking for ideas for your next visit, here are the nine best things to do in and near Wareham.
Explore the remains of Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle should be top of your itinerary when visiting Wareham. The hilltop ruins are one of the best-known sights in the entire county, and it’s incredible to see the thousand-year-old remains of a once imposing castle.
The nearby village of Corfe is the perfect place to stop for some lunch on your trip and is widely known as one of the prettiest villages in Dorset.
Go for a run or bike ride along the River Frome
The River Frome flows 35 miles from Evershot to Poole Harbour. It’s Dorset’s second-longest river but has some beautiful scenic paths for a jog or bike ride.
You’ll run into plenty of visitors and locals walking their dogs or taking a scenic walk along the quiet river in the shade of the trees.
If you’re looking for some great running trails while you’re in Dorset, you are spoiled for choice:
- Wareham Two Rivers Walk – 2 – 4-mile loop
- Woodlark Trail at Wareham Forest – 2-mile loop
- Lawrence of Arabia Trail – 7 miles
- Purbeck Way – 15.5 miles
- Hartland Moor – 2 miles
- Wareham Forest Way – 13 miles
Visit the historic town centre
You couldn’t ask for more from Warehams’ town centre. The narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings make you feel like you’re going back in time.
But today, Wareham’s town centre is bustling with so much to do and see. For those looking to shop, you’ll find boutiques, vintage stores, and high street brands nestled in historic buildings.
You’ll also find farmers’ markets, bakeries, butchers, and farm shops dotted throughout the town centre for fresh, local food.
And when it’s time to refuel, there are countless cafes, restaurants, and eateries to choose from.
Climb to the top of Dorset Downs
The Dorset Downs are a vast area of rolling countryside right in the middle of Dorset. If you’re feeling up to an adventurous hike, you could walk to the high points of the downs for breathtaking panoramic views of the hills and surrounding villages. Don’t forget your travel camera for some unbelievable shots!
The entire area has laws protecting it from development, so you’ll find an uninterrupted green paradise perfect for a peaceful walk or hike. If you do take on the steep hills, be prepared for the elevation – it’s high up near the top of the hills.
Visit the Market
The Quay hosts a weekly market each Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm. It’s the perfect place to find local produce, fresh vegetables, fish, meats, artisan cheese, and so much more.
Many of the stalls sell fresh flowers, handmade gifts, clothing, and toys, so it’s also a great place to find souvenirs for your trip.
On the second and fourth Sunday of each month, you’ll also find a Farmers and Makers Market hosted in the town hall. Here, locals offer handmade and homegrown produce that is hard to beat.
Explore the Purbeck Coast
Purbeck is a district in Dorset that takes its name from the Isle of Purbeck – a 60-square-mile piece of land that juts out into the English Channel, ending in a series of chalk stacks known as Old Harry Rocks.
The Purbeck coastline is part of the Jurassic Coast, a 90-mile stretch of land and England’s first-ever natural world heritage site.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find fossils along the coastline or preserved dinosaur tracks in the Purbeck Beds on your walk.
If you do head down to the coastline, here are some must-see spots:
- Old Harry Rocks
- Studland Beach and Nature Reserve
- Kimmeridge Bay
- Chapman’s Pool
- Swanage Beach
Arne is home to an RSPB nature reserve, and it’s one of Wareham’s hidden gems. The beautiful expanse of countryside is teeming with wildlife and covered in heather and ferns.
Arne is one of the few places in England you’ll get a glimpse of sika deer in the wild, and since they’re pretty used to visitors, close-up encounters aren’t uncommon.
There are several walking trails for exploring Arne, but the Red Trail is one of the best. This one goes through Big Wood and ends at Shipstal Beach. Since it’s one of the quieter beaches in the area, you just might get it all to yourself.
Take a River Cruise
A couple of companies offer river cruises in Wareham, and it’s a great way to explore the town and see everything from a different perspective.
The local guides give great detail about local tourist spots and the town’s history, and you’ll spot plenty of local wildlife, including otters, water voles, and a host of birds.
This visitor attraction is a firm favourite with families, and kids love the adventure of climbing aboard a boat to explore the river.
Visit one of the town’s museums or art galleries
To dive a little deeper into the town’s interesting history, the Wareham Town Museum is the place to go. It’s a volunteer-run museum that tells Wareham’s history and the surrounding area.
You’ll learn all about the Saxon wall and routes, the Jurassic Coast, and some modern history as well. Visiting the museum is free, so it’s a must for any visitor.
If you love art, there are several beautiful art galleries to visit in Wareham, including The Creative Gallery, Purbeck Artisan Yard, and The Gallery at 41.
Wareham isn’t usually on the top of any travel bucket list when it comes to visiting the UK, but it’s a stunning town with so much to offer. More and more travellers are looking for authentic villages with rich histories when exploring Europe, and Wareham ticks all of the boxes.
From exploring ancient castle ruins to hunting for fossils on the Purbeck Coast, there are plenty of fun things to do in Wareham, and it’s a hidden gem you won’t want to miss.