Things to do in Wimborne Minster
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Start your day with sun salutations in a beautiful garden, try your hand at printmaking in a mill, then finish with a Shakespeare play at sunset or a spot of conscious clubbing
Yoga in the Garden
Somewhere in the world there may possibly be a better start to the day than open air yoga at Knoll Gardens, but it certainly wouldn’t be as accessible, as reasonably-priced, or as easy to return to time and time again. Amongst the trees, flowers and ornamental grasses of this glorious wildlife-friendly garden at Hampreston, just outside Wimborne, Jackie Hayfield leads a yoga class from 9-10am every Thursday throughout June, July and September. “There’s something extra-special about practicing yoga in this amazing outdoor space in the early morning before it opens to the public,” says Jackie, who adds that the classes are suitable for all levels including complete beginners. If the sun is shining the yoga takes place on the lower lawn, if it’s cooler Jackie leads participants on a mindful walk featuring standing yoga poses, and if the heavens open the class is held in the marquee. Each session costs £8 per person, to book email email@example.com or call 07955 587772.
In fact throughout the summer months Knoll Gardens is literally buzzing with activity running numerous guided walks including Bees in the Garden on 14 July.
Find out more at knollgardens.co.uk.
Getting creative at Walford Mill
If you enjoy arts and crafts then a trip to Walford Mill just outside town is a must (walfordmillcrafts.co.uk). Situated in a former mill, believed to date back to the 15th century, is an extensive craft gallery showcasing the work of local and national artisans covering a range of skills from silk weaving to jewellery, glass blowing to painting. There are also many resident craftspeople who run workshops there, teaching a kaleidoscope of oft-forgotten skills including silver-working, lace making and bookbinding. Most courses run for ten weeks, but Robin Mackenzie, a contemporary illustrator and printmaker who graduated from Arts University Bournemouth in 2013, holds a one-day introductory workshop in wood engraving or lino-cutting where you design an image for print, cutting a block and printing on Robin’s 1854 Albion handpress (workshop dates are 3 & 24 June and 8 July.
Community dining at the Drover’s
The Drover’s Inn is a community-owned pub at Gussage All Saints, located 15 minutes outside Wimborne. Back in 2015 villagers clubbed together to buy it and save it from becoming a private house, an initiative that won it The People’s Project accolade in the 2016 Best Kept Village Awards. The Drover’s first-Friday-of-the-month supper club, launched in September 2017, has become so successful that it’s often booked up a month in advance. And small wonder when you find out that diners have enjoyed dishes such as gin-cured halibut, fennel and pea risotto, and ginger cake with rhubarb sorbet – the menu is revealed on the night. The fabulous food is always accompanied by live music, which in recent months has brought Flamenco guitar sounds to this little corner of Dorset. If you can’t get into the supper club there is wood-fired pizza every Sunday night.
Sensational Summer Nights
- 1 A fond farewell to Torbay from the captain of cruise ship Eurodam
- 2 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 3 10 great hill walks in Cheshire
- 4 20 of the best restaurants in Hertfordshire
- 5 Rare gold medal of Nelson's Norfolk protégé expected to sell for up to £80,000
- 6 35 great Surrey pubs with beer gardens and terraces
- 7 Win £500 of English wine from Lyme Bay Winery
- 8 17 of the best spots for al fresco dining in Essex
- 9 12 outdoor dining experiences in Surrey
- 10 10 of the prettiest Villages in Dorset to visit
As sunset approaches there is still plenty to enjoy in this historic town, maybe take in a show at the art deco Tivoli Theatre on West Borough? June’s line-up includes Ben Waters Big Band, Simon & Garfunkel tribute act Bookends, comedian Count Arthur Strong and four-time Brit Classical Award winner Russell Watson.
How about a spot of ‘conscious clubbing’? Never heard of it? Well neither had I until I came across this conscious clubbing event in the gardens of Gaunt’s House (gauntshouse.com) on 20 July (tickets from eventbrite.co.uk.) There will be three DJ sets, and a strict no drugs or alcohol policy as the event aims for clubbers to connect to the music, themselves and the people around them without the assistance of substances.
It’s always worth looking out for some open-air theatre during the summer months, and Kingston Lacy, the beautiful National Trust property just outside Wimborne has a fine selection of theatrical performances in the garden. Choose from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (26 July) or The Tempest (2 August), and for younger theatre goers there’s some thrilling pirate action with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island (7 August). More details and booking at nationaltrust.org.uk/kingstonlacy.
Live music on offer locally includes Hen Fest Rewind (nothing to do with hen nights) – a boutique charity festival at Oakley just outside Wimborne on 23 June (tickets from eventbrite.co.uk). The Wimborne Folk Festival (8 - 10 June wimbornefolk.co.uk) brings toe-tapping music, bells and dancers to the streets, and this year Meetup fans (meetup.com) have the chance to go along with like-minded folk from the group Cascade of Friends on 9 June.
Breakfast, Brunch or Lunch?
The Cloisters on East Street is often credited with serving the best breakfast in Wimborne. Familiar favourites range from a hearty bowl of porridge or the full cooked breakfast to smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, there is also homemade jam and marmalade to spread on your toast or crumpet. There are all sorts of little treats to keep you coming back including a cake of the week (I remain hopeful that orange drizzle will back before too long), coffee of the month and just in time for the tennis a healthy-looking green smoothie called the ‘Wimbledon’.
Find out more at cloisterswimborne.com.
An Afternoon of History
One of the loveliest of Wimborne’s hidden gems is the Grade II listed townhouse on the High Street which is home to the Priest’s House Museum and Garden. Explore the history of East Dorset throughout a string of ten rooms, and alongside the permanent collections is a series of seasonal exhibitions including ‘Hats For All Occasions’ which incorporates some of their period costume collection and runs until December. On a sunny day the museum’s pretty walled garden with its fruit trees and country garden flowers is a peaceful spot for a relaxing cuppa and slice of cake from The Garden Tea Room. More at priest-house.co.uk.
If you are fascinated by the past then the Wimborne History Festival, 21-22 July, offers a weekend packed with historical displays, activities and performances across the town. The two main areas of focus for this living history event are the centenary of the end of the First World War and the 100 year commemoration of women gaining the vote.
Find out more at wimbornehistoryfestival.org.uk.