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Wareham, Dorset, UK

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Wareham is a small town in Dorset, England, set between Poole, Swanage and Weymouth. It is also quite close to the county town of Dorchester and the 'town-trying-to-be-a-city' Bournemouth.

Some History

Wareham has a river each side of it - the Frome and the Piddle. It also has some Anglo-Saxon  walls built over 1,000 years ago to keep invaders out, which means Wareham is still relatively safe in the unlikely event of a Viking attack.

The walls are basically big piles of mud surrounding the entire town. This ancient form of defence was fine until the invention of guns and the cannon, at which point mud proved to be no longer very good at protecting the populace.

At the east end of the town is a large quarry from which have been unearthed a number of interesting artefacts ranging from hoards of Roman coins to graves.

If you're really interested in the history of Wareham you can visit the museum on East Street, where you can find some of the aforementioned artefacts.


Wareham is pretty much a big crossroads with the imaginatively-named North Street, South Street, East Street and West Street being the main roads through the town. (Hitchhikers should note that you can thumb a lift quite easily by following North Street out of town; however, in the summer you'd be quicker walking.)

It's not so busy since they made a bypass there several years ago but you still get a lot of holidaymakers who think it will be quicker to get to Swanage through the town centre. It's not.

There's a station - Wareham Station - and there are buses every half-hour or so along North/South Street. Be careful though; if you get on the bus at the wrong time of day you are likely to be threatened, spat at, or even talked to by large groups of school children.

Culture and Accommodation

The best way to stay in Wareham is to know someone who lives in the town. Although there are a number of hotels and bed and breakfast places, most of them are either too expensive to consider or look like they were last decorated 30 or 40 years ago.

For those on a tight budget there are a number of campsites which allow you to live in the great outdoors, smelling all the sweet aromas of wildflowers, country air, sheep, cows and other such farmyard fragrances.

Things To See

There are two churches. There used to be three but one was turned into an art gallery (now a bureau for tourist information). First is St Martin's Church which contains a sarcophagus with a pretty sculpture of Lawrence Of Arabia on it.

The second is called Lady St Mary's. This looks the way you would expect a church to look, with lots of graves outside and children sitting on the surrounding walls smoking.

If you are staying a few days it is worth going to the cinema. The Rex is one of the oldest cinemas in Britain and, to this Researcher's knowledge, is the only remaining gaslit cinema as well. This does make it a little warm in the summer but it's more interesting than your average multiplex.

Wareham Forest is a large wooded area which is good for birdwatching and walking around. If you are so inclined it is possible to see a large number of different types of birds including great tits (Parus major) and owls (if you are a bird-lover and an insomniac), as well as less feathery creatures such as squirrels, deer and hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus).

If you have a quick eye you might also be able to spot a few of the more shy residents of the area such as slow-worms (Anguis fragilis), grass snakes (Natrix natrix), adders (Vipera berus), smooth snakes (Coronella austriaca), common lizards (Lacerta vivipara) and the more endangered sand lizard (Lacerta agilis).


It is pretty warm most of the time, which seems to make Wareham an expensive place to live and a nice place for a holiday as well, assuming you don't mind the locals giving you funny looks and talking about how much you haven't been spending in their shops and how all these holidaymakers are making the place look untidy.

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