The Saxon walled market town bustles with life and independent shops, offering plenty of riverside charm.
Janine Drayson is an illustrator and mum to Rowan, two, and Elowen, six months. Her work (janinedrayson.co.uk) is inspired by the Dorset landscape.
I love rummaging in Wareham’s charity shops, and the Purbeck Artisan Yard in the town centre is fab – it’s where local upcyclers, artists and creators sell their work all year round.
We love playing hide-and-seek in the dunes along the beach at Studland. We’ll collect shells and then have a sneaky hot chocolate in the National Trust café at Knoll Beach.
The magical Blue Pool in nearby Furzebrook is lovely – it changes from blue to green to turquoise throughout the day.
Wildlife inspires many of the products you’ll find here. Expect prints, plants, lighting and tableware that will create a home where country cottage meets Scandi design. purbeckliving.co.uk
THE PRIORY HOTEL
If you’re able to leave the kids for an evening, make a dash for the fine dining offered at this luxury boutique hotel. Alternatively, sunny spring days don’t get more sublime than those spent taking afternoon tea on the River Terrace. theprioryhotel.co.uk
The beating heart of Wareham is where you’ll find the weekly market on Saturdays, and it’s the perfect spot for a picnic or trip up the River Frome on the paddle steamer. Alternatively, let the kids explore under their own steam with a canoe, rowing boat or paddle board available for hire.
Eight miles south at Kimmeridge Bay, head to the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve, where kids can have a go at eco-crabbing. This method replaces the traditional hook with a bag that the crabs hang onto, which means they’re thrown back to sea in the condition you found them. dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Regarded as the greatest collection of tanks in the world, you can watch these awesome vehicles roll out in the Kuwait Arena, weekdays at 1pm, from 30 March to 6 April. tankmuseum.org
on the move
BUY: Expect to pay £500,000 for a four-bedroom detached house a few minutes’ walk from the centre. You might find a Grade-II listed doer-upper within the town walls for just less than that.
SCHOOLS: Parents often describe Yarrells Prep School as magical (co-ed, 2–13). Parkstone Grammar for girls is rated outstanding in all areas.