Things to see and do on a weekend in Wimborne

PUBLISHED: 11:17 11 July 2017 | UPDATED: 11:17 11 July 2017

Wild swimming in the Stour at Pamphill

Wild swimming in the Stour at Pamphill


From cocktails under the stars and Shakespeare in the garden to a dip in the Stour, Marcia Moody discovers a treasure trove of delights to revive her flagging spirits after a busy working week

Friday night

It had been a long week, so as hot sticky afternoon melted into balmy evening I happily plonked myself down in a rattan armchair in the fragrant herb garden at The Olive Tree on East Borough, ready to peruse their cocktail menu ( Alongside the dozen or so classics, the Elderflower Bellini on their seasonal selection caught my eye - just the kind of early-evening refresher I wanted to sip in these tranquil surroundings. Inside, The Olive Branch has a spacious, airy bar and restaurant with a relaxed vibe, and on the menu plenty of local produce. If you fancy staying over there are 10 rooms at its sister property 1777 at the Albion, a former coaching inn now boutique style B & B, just around the corner on the High Street ( I was tempted to indulge in another cocktail from The Olive Branch’s impressive list (which also includes three summery mocktails); maybe The Secret Garden (gin, raspberry, mint, lime and soda water) or Caribbean Fizz (coconut rum, pineapple juice and Prosecco), but I definitely didn’t want to be late for dinner.

Patas Arriba is the hot new tapas pop-up which operates out of Deans Court Cafe every Friday from 6pm ( The enticing six course menu changes every week, and though their delicious dishes are authentically Spanish the produce is all local, with fish from Bell’s Fisheries, meat from Paul Keating Butchers, veg from Minster Greens and bread from Le Petit Prince. Later, under a starry sky, the outside courtyard is a lovely spot for a chilled Pedro Ximinez sherry or two! 


The Priest’s House on the High Street is a ten room museum located in a Grade II listed townhouse, which explores the history of east Dorset. Throughout the summer (until 30 September 2017) it is hosting a fascinating exhibition - ‘How Does Your Garden Grow?’ – all about the history of gardening. Afterwards take a turn around the museum’s own delightful garden ( There’s nothing quite like a gentle amble along an apple and pear tree lined pathway to work up an appetite, and The Squash Court at Deans Court offers a lovely lunch selection including homemade soups, quiche, salad and cakes using, wherever possible, produce from the property’s famous walled garden. Deans Court also offers self-catering accommodation, so if you fancy staying in an 18th century cottage, gate house or shepherd’s hut, this will be right up your country lane (

If the weather gods are smiling, then how about a spot of messing about on the River Stour, which runs through Wimborne. Dream Boats ( offers rowing boats for hire. There are a number of other one-off Wimborne area events to look out for over the summer, such as nature experiences at Knoll Gardens, at nearby Hampreston ( 


A visit to Walford Mill Crafts, on Stone Lane seemed like a particularly ‘Sunday’ thing to do ( The former mill, believed to date from the 15th century.

If that whets your appetite for a new kind of sensory experience, you could try a spot of wild swimming in the River Stour afterwards. Next to the old Roman ford on the River Stour in Pamphill is a large pool where you can take a cooling dip. Daniel Start, author of The Wild Guide to the South West describes it as: ‘a wide, popular river pool with a riverside beach, footbridge and a small weir, and there are good walks or swims upstream!’ Before bidding a fond farewell to my weekend break in the Wimborne area, I had a hearty ploughman’s at the Pamphill Dairy Cafe (, just outside Wimborne. On site there is also a shop with a tempting selection of seasonal produce and local goodies (including homemade cakes and From Dorset With Love jams, chutneys and vinegars.) Which maybe why I returned home with a bushel of rhubarb, some Dorset Knob biscuits and a rather splendid cheese board. 


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