Having spent another lovely Saturday in the pretty market town of Wimborne Minster, I thought it was about time that I put together a mini guide to this wonderful little place in Dorset. With its picturesque church nestled in the town centre, a myriad of quaint shops and cafes, and of course, the annual Christmas lights switch-on, it’s one of the most festive spots here in the south west of England. Read on for my recommendations of the best places to warm up with a hot chocolate (or mulled wine!) and where to find the prettiest corners to add a little quintessential British charm to your Instagram grid!
Where to hunt for gifts
This family-owned bookshop is all a bookworm could possibly want: independent, packed with various genres, and most importantly, with that wonderful book scent permeating the air. It also helps that there’s a well-stocked crime section!
A Little Decorum
There’s no gift more thoughtful than a lovely handmade trinket and this little gift shop is filled with treasures for just about anyone you can think of. You’ll find seasonal accessories for the home, delightful treats and a warm welcome.
Tails from the Woods
What could be more lovely and quaint than a traditional toy shop? Discover doll houses, wooden toys and more. Plus, with a seasonal display, it makes for a pretty Instagram picture year round!
Trading since 1974, this record shop has something for every music junkie. Alongside vinyls and CDs, you can also browse a range of t-shirts and accessories to accompany your gift.
No day out would be complete without a visit to a florist and marvelling at the graceful display of flowers. With Christmas bouquets and festive wreaths, it’s perfect for this time of the year.
Where to warm up
Toasty and welcoming, Cloisters is an idyllic hideaway to huddle from the cold and replenish with a warming hot chocolate. Serving up delicious homemade dishes, it’s also a charming place to stop for lunch. I always have my first mulled wine of the year here!
A wine and cheese bar with low ceilings, beams and fairy lights, Renoufs Wimborne is one of the cosiest spots to indulge in an afternoon tipple and some yummy nibbles on the side. The Grade II listed building makes for an atmospheric setting, especially when it’s frosty outside.
The Olive Branch
Ideal for a relaxed lunch or whiling away an afternoon, The Olive Branch is a smart, welcoming pub with plush armchairs and hearty food. Expect British favourites alongside some lighter dishes in a warm countryside interior. It’s the perfect spot to grab a glass of wine and sink into one’s surroundings.
Number 9 on the Green
Exactly how one would imagine a cute tearoom to look like, here you’ll find homemade cakes, dainty teacups and a real homely feel. With lovely views over the Wimborne Minster church and housed in a cottage that could easily be mistaken for a doll house, I can’t think of a better place to enjoy a sweet (or more substantial) bite to eat.
The White Hart
Quaint and traditional, this lovely pub is tucked away at the end of a pretty courtyard, not far from the church in the centre of town. Its chocolate-box exterior reminds me of The Holly Bush in Hampstead Village and it always makes an enchanting photo.
The Thirsty Bird
A new discovery, this bar is equally perfect for daytime cocktails as it is for a soothing cup of coffee. The interiors are just the right level of quirky while the menu is fun and full of yummy treats to hit the spot. Extra points for fairy lights in the window!
Where to hit the hay
1777. Bedrooms & Breakfast at the Albion
Transformed from a 17th-century coaching inn, the 1777. is a cosy B&B rich in history and charm right on the High Street. If you’re partial to decorative wallpaper, wooden floorboards and fireplaces, this might just be the ideal place to get a restful night’s sleep.
The Minster Arms
Tucked away just on the outskirts of the town centre, you’ll find charming rooms with stylish décor and sumptuous bath tubs for a well-deserved soak. Conveniently located for a tasty bite to refuel with, the downstairs restaurant serves elegant dishes with a rustic touch.
10 Castle Street
Not quite in Wimborne but still within easy reach, this luxury manor house is nestled in the village of Cranborne, around 15 minutes away by car. Its Grade II Palladian build makes for a lavish getaway reminiscent of a 20th-century murder mystery setting. The hotel features a fine dining restaurant, beautiful grounds and all you could possibly need to relax.