118: Wimborne Minster

OS Explorer map 118, Shaftesbury & Cranborne Chase: Poole, Wimborne Minster & Blandford Forum – I own this map, and had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 5th May 2021. This is the last of three posts about a trip to Dorset with Vesper, also meeting Mother Dearest.

My previous two posts told you of the bulk of mine and Vesper’s Dorset trip, but there remains one small but pleasantly formed thing left for me to narrate: the stop that we made on the drive back home in Wimborne Minster, to see the charming Wimborne Model Town. Vesper and I looked for interesting places to stop before we started the trip at all, and since she really likes model villages – having particularly fond memories of the one at Legoland, which she’s been looking for an excuse to go back to for years – we naturally decided to stop here when we found out about it. (We actually planned to stop on the way to Dorset, but spent a bit longer visiting Millicent in Oxford than we’d planned, so postponed it to the return journey.)

Wimborne Minster itself (the full-sized version)

We arrived in Wimborne Minster in the mid-morning, just an hour or so into our journey back to Cambridge, and I first went for a quick wander around town while Vesper took a call in the car. Unfortunately I didn’t go in the Minster, but I still enjoyed my little stroll around town. I soon got back to the car and we paid our way into the Model Town itself.

The model town was very cute! I’ve been to a model town once before, somewhere in Berkshire I think, visiting my cousin in Maidenhead as a child, but it was a very long time ago and I don’t remember it that well.

The town is set up in 1/10th scale, meaning that one can easily walk around in the little streets with the houses coming up to chest height. It’s set in the 1950s – the time when the model was first built, though it’s been extensively restored since then – and it was great fun looking at the shop names, and peeking through the windows at the vendors and customers.

The model Wimborne Minster

Probably most impressive was the model of the Minster, which had organ music playing out of it, and was open at one end so that one could look in and see a miniature wedding in progress!

Inside the model Wimborne Minster

The Model Town was a great little place to stop at, and I’m very glad we broke our journey there!

Previous visits

I visited this map area previously in September 2015, on a trip with my Oxford friends No Longer Hairy, Little S and Unicorn, to visit our fellow friend Ex-Linguistician at her home in Shaftesbury. This trip started with some time spent at my parents’ house in Northamptonshire, where we spent a pleasant day having a walk around nearby villages, before staying the night there and drving down to Dorset the next morning. For unclear reasons – given that I lived in that map area for twenty-odd years – when I wrote my Northampton post in the early days of this blog, I selected this trip to write about in exacting detail, using my text message archives and such like to reconstruct how the trip was planned. So if you’d like to read about that, head over there!

We spent a pleasant day in Shaftesbury, first heading out for a pub lunch and a wander around the town as we generally caught up with each other, not having met since the end of the university term a couple of months before. Shaftesbury is a pretty little town. We then returned to Ex-Linguistician’s house for some board games and dinner, before departing that same evening to drive back to Northamptonshire.

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury’s famously pretty sloping cobbled street

I have to say, I don’t remember many more details of the trip, so I’ll have to leave it there!

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