What’s on

Our guide to what’s on in Dorset (annual events).

If there is an annual event you think should be listed please let us know by contacting us with details.


Poole Bath Tub Race

1 January, Poole Quay. cheer on the crews as they take their specially constructed bathtub vessels out on the water

Wassailing at Bridport Community Orchard

Since 2008. Hot cider, apple juice and an open fire. Traditional Wassailing ceremony led by Martin Maudsley. Musical accompaniment, dancing and singing led by Wyld Morris. Song sheets available.Bring drums, trumpets, whistles or anything to make a noise to frighten away the bad spirits. www.bridportcommunityorchard.org.uk


Wimborne Minster Pancake Race

The race around the minster takes place takes place on Shrove Tuesday. The first heat is run as the Pancake Bell rings out. The race starts at the North Porch and competitors toss their pancakes at the four corners of the church. Open to all.

Shaftesbury Snowdrop Festival

A series of snowdrop events for all the family at various sites around Shaftesbury.

Dorchester Beerex

The Beerex takes place on the first full weekend in February every year.


Lambing weekend at Kingston Maurward

Annual lambing weekend attracts thousands of visitors.


St George’s Day events

At various locations around the County.


Teddy Rocks

The Teddy Rocks Music festival raising money for the Dorset charity Teddy20. Charisworth Farm, Blandford, Dorset.

Dorset Knob Throwing

Cattistock. As well as Knob Throwing there will be additional fun knob attractions including Knob Eating, Knob Painting, a Knob & Spoon Race, Guess the weight of the Big Knob, Knob Darts and a Knob Pyramid.  An enjoyable day out with a difference. www.dorsetknobthrowing.com. Photos of Dorset Knob Throwing.

Christchurch Food Festival

The award-winning Christchurch Food Festival takes place over a week in May. The International Food Market takes place on the opening weekend with around 100 traders selling a large range of quality food, drink related produce in the High Street. Free demonstrations by top local chefs and celebrities. www.christchurchfoodfest.co.uk

Cygnets hatching at Abbotsbury Swannery

Watch the cygnets hatch out – great photo opportunities.

Purbeck Arts Week

A celebration of visual art, music, dance, film and story-telling. www.purbeckartweeks.co.uk

Sherborne Abbey Music Festival

Week-long celebration of music, with events held in a variety of locations in and around Sherborne. www.sherborneabbeyfestival.org

Sherborne Castle Country Fair

Highlights traditional rural skills, as well as those more modern. www.sherbornecountryfair.com

Bridport Charter Fair

South Street, Arts Centre and Borough Gardens

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Find Dorset exhibitors at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show

Sherborne Castle Country Fair

Held in the grounds of Sherborne Castle in Dorset this spectacular lakeside event highlights traditional rural skills, as well as those more modern. www.sherbornecountryfair.com


Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

The festival looks at 200 million years of geology. It includes fossil-hunting walks on the beach, collectors showing their finds and scientists analysing the past, present and furture of geology. www.fossilfestival.com

Bridport Food Festival

Askers Meadow, Bridport. www.bridportfoodfestival.com

Thomas Hardy Birthday Weekend

Literary event by http://www.hardysociety.org/

Wimborne Minster Folk Festival

Folk music and family fun. www.wimbornefolk.co.uk

Verwood Carnival


Open Farm Sunday

Farms across Dorset open to the public. farmsunday.org

Grand Summer Steam Gala

Moors Valley Country Park. All available locomotives will be in steam, in addition to visiting traction engines, classic cars, a tractor driven saw bench and lots of other exhibits.

Tankfest, Tank Museum

Three days of arena action.

Beaminster Festival of Music and Arts

Music, theatre, literature and art. www.beaminsterfestival.com

Ashmore Filly Loo

Celebration marking the longest day and the filling of the village pond and is held on the Friday nearest June 21st. View photo gallery

Woofstock, Marnhull. Dog show



Camp Bestival

Family festival held in the grounds of Lulworth Castle. www.campbestival.net

Poole Harbour Festival

Family festival. pooleharbourfestival.com

UK Boogie Woogie Festival

Sturminster Newton. Boogie woogie and blues music www.ukboogiewoogiefestival.co.uk

Swanage Regatta and Carnival

2 mile carnival procession, live bands playing on the Main Stage and in the carnival marquee, firework displays, art competitions for children and adults, talent show, treasure hunts, dog show, parachute jumps, water and land sports, Red Arrows and more. www.swanagecarnival.com

Bridport Raft Race for RNLI

Normally held on the last Thursday in July. Home made rafts race down the River Brit.

Milton Abbas Street Fair

18th century festive atmosphere, home made bunting is hung across and up and down the street. Residents and stall holders dressed in eighteenth century costume – visitors welcome to join in.

Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week


Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival and Rally

Tolpuddle. This event commemorates the bravery of the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ struggle against poverty and authority. It features a wide range of music, speakers, comedians and poets.


Chettle Fete

Chettle Village Fete has earned itself the title of Dorset’s Whackiest Fete – includes the Alternative Dog Show presented by The Brigadier, the infamous Human Fruit Machine, Cowpat Bingo, Bang the Nail and you can place your bets for the Chettle Derby. Food stalls, big raffle prizes, art auction and more. Raises money for charity. chettlefete.co.uk

We Out Here

Wimborne St Giles. Four day festival celebrating world-class music alongside, wellness, family and cultural activities.

Great Dorset Chilli Festival

Stock Gaylard. A family-friendly event with lots on offer for chilli lovers, as well as options for those who prefer their food less spicy. www.greatdorsetchillifestival.co.uk

Gillingham and Shaftesbury Agricultural Show

Motcombe Turnpike Showground, SP7 9PL. Events and activities include double harness scurry driving, show jumping, terrier and ferret Racing, live music, heavy horses, cookery theatre, real ale bar, horticulture, birds of prey, dog show, food halls, hog roasts and more. gillinghamandshaftesburyshow.co.uk

Melplash Show

Bridport. One day agricultural show with something for all the family. Livestock, horticulture, homecrafts, motor cycle stunt show, local food and producers plus much more.  Twitter: @TheMelplashShow. www.melplashshow.co.uk Photos of Melplash Show

Swanage Lifeboat Week

Entertaining week culminating in the raft race on the Saturday.
The event raises vital funds for the RNLI.

Bournemouth Air Festival


Weymouth Carnival and Fireworks

Weymouth Seafront.

Lyme Regis Carnival

Fireworks, carnival procession, regatta races, activities and events for all ages raining money for local good causes. lymeregiscarnival.co.uk

End of the Road Festival

Music festival held at Larmer Tree Gardens. www.endoftheroadfestival.com


Dorset County Show

The Dorchester Showground, Dorchester. An action packed weekend for all ages including motorbike display teams, carriage driving, falconry, gun dog displays, terrier racing, sheep shearing and cookery demonstrations. www.dorsetcountyshow.co.uk

Dorset Seafood Festival

Hope Square, Weymouth. Weymouth harbour is transformed into a Seafood Village and you can see plenty of different species of fish and shellfish will be landed, prepared and cooked outside, ready for you to eat.You will also find live music, demonstrations and displays throughout the day. www.dorsetseafood.co.uk

b-side Festival

Dorset based arts organisation working with artists, residents and young people to make site responsive work revealing the marginal, sometimes forgotten and less commercial aspects of our coastal towns and communities. b-side festival returns to the the Isle of Portland, Dorset 9 -12 Sept with four days of brand new artworks you won’t see anywhere else. See spectacular projections on ancient castles, ride the No 1 bus like never before, get a make over in the unnatural beauty parlour, take a tour of a secret city where daily life is stranger then fiction join in with, witness and experience some remarkable events and artworks inspired by this fascinating island. Most events are free www.b-side.org.uk

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity – Walk for Wards

Walk raising funds for local hospitals. More info

Bridport Hat Festival

A celebration of hats. www.bridporthatfest.org

Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival

The Festival takes place on the second full weekend of September.


Pack Monday Fair

Sherborne. Street market dating back to medieval times, held on the first Monday after 10th October – old Michaelmas Day. Although no longer an agricultural fair, it is still a major event in Sherborne with four of the town’s main streets becoming full of street traders and food stalls for the day, and a funfair is usually held on the edge of town on the Monday and the days preceding it.

Weymouth Octoberfest

Real ale festival organised by West Dorset CAMRA, held in Weymouth Pavillion. 2022 event details

Enchanted Floodlit Gardens

Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Bullers Way, Abbotsbury. Take a magical evening walk along colouful candle-lit pathways into enchanted glades.Gardens open until 8.30pm. Photos of Enchanted Floodlit Gardens


Bridport Literary Festival


Firework displays across the county

Held at various venues.


Christmas Light Switch on’s

In towns and villages throughout Dorset.

Blandford Yuletide Festival


Chase the Pudding

Weymouth Beach. 5k charity Santa run.

Macmillan White Christmas Dip

Boscombe Pier, Christmas Day morning. Charity swim raising money for Macmillan www.whitechristmasdip.co.uk

Lions Club Christmas Swim

25th December, Weymouth Harbour. The event started in 1948 with a bet between two local men and has grown from around 30 swimmers to an average of 200 plus, and thousands of spectators.

West Bay Wallow

A charity fancy dress swim at midday on Boxing Day. Run by Bridport Round Table.