Our guide to What’s on in Dorset. If there is an annual event you think should be listed please let us know by contacting us with details.
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.
Purbeck Literary Festival www.purbeckliteraryfestival.info
Lambing weekend at Kingston Maurward
Flower Festival, Athelhampton House near Dorchester
Spring bulbs and daffodil weekend, Sherborne Castle
Dorset Food and Venison Festival, Lytchett Minster – Started in 2015 it’s a celebration of the best of Dorset produce with an emphasis on local venison. dorsetvenisonfestival.org
Powerstock Cider Festival, Powerstock, near Bridport. Around 20 cider producers attend this festival as well as local food suppliers.
Fish and Ships: In 2014, Portland Marina held their first ever Fish & Ship festival celebrating Dorset’s finest both on, under and above sea
Various St George’s Day events
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
2 day Plant & Garden Fair 29 & 30 May 2016 at Upton Country Park Poole BH17 7BJ
Free entry but donations welcome. Refreshments available
Lytchett Matravers Village Fayre. The 2016 theme is FUN, FAMILY AND COMMUNITY. With over 60 stall holders and everyting from welly throwing with the Scouts to face painting to Zorbing down the hill for the more adventurous. 14 May. lytchettmatravers.org.uk
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.
Blandford Georgian Fayre. Georgian Fayre with events taking place throughout the town during the day. Includes dancing, fair rides, street markets, food stalls, re-enactments, animals, craft stalls, music including brass bands, childrens activities and more. www.blandfordgeorgianfayre.co.uk
Boat show at Poole Quay Boat Haven, launched in 2015. www.pooleharbourboatshow.co.uk
Christchurch Food & Wine Festival. The award-winning Christchurch Food & Wine 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
Spring Tide Festival, Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock, Bridport. This outdoor food event gives you the opportunity to meet and buy from West Dorset‘s fantastic local producers. It shows off Dorset produce at its best, and there’s everything from fresh fish and meat, spring vegetables, artisan bread, cheeses and locally made beers, and ciders. www.spring-tide.org.uk
Lyme Regis Food Festival. www.lymeregisfoodfestival.co.uk
Bournemouth Wheels Festival. UK’s biggest FREE wheels-themed family event – high energy events across the town and seafront – from beautiful historic and classic cars to world class BMX stunts, Monster Truck parades and supercars. bournemouthwheels.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
Dorset Vintage Motorcycle Club Weymouth Run. Motorcycle run, organised by the Dorset Section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club. It takes in 60 miles of Dorset countryside before forming a static display in the afternoon when the Mayor presents awards. Open to vintage motorcycle club members riding motorcycles at least 25 years old.
Sherborne Abbey Music Festival
Sherborne Castle Country Fair
Lyme Regis Jazz, Blues and Beer Festival
Sandbanks Boat Show
Behind the Castle, Sherborne. Started in 2014 for one year only. A fantastic Summer’s day full of the best music over three stages in the beautiful grounds of Sherborne Castle. www.behindthecastle.co.uk
Evershot Country Fair. In West Dorset’s highest village, watch traditional rural crafts demonstrated, taste delicious food in the marquee, sixty different stalls to browse, enjoy ringside entertainment and live music. Take a trailer ride around the beautiful Melbury Estate deer park. www.evershot.org/ecf Twitter @EvershotCF.
Bridport Food Festival, Askers Meadow, Bridport. www.bridportfoodfestival.com
Cattistock Midsummer Festival. A rare opportunity to go behind the scenes and visit the private gardens, studios and the kennels for the hounds of the Cattistock Hunt. There’s also a plant sale, home-made teas in the village hall and the church will be open for its Flower Festival, guided tours, organ recitals and bell ringing. www.cattistockfestival.org
Wimborne Minster Folk Festival. Folk music and family fun. www.wimbornefolk.co.uk
Tankfest, Tank Museum
Beaminster Festival of Music and Arts
Larmer Tree Festival. A wide range of music, entertainment and craft for all the family, held in the beautiful Larmer tree Gardens.www.larmertreefestival.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
North Dorset 7s, Gillingham. North Dorset 7s is a Men’s and Women’s Charity Rugby 7s Tournament, hosted by North Dorset RFC in Gillingham, raising money for Cardiac Risk in the Young. The event is returning for its third year on Saturday 25th July 2015(10am-11pm), aiming to add to the £5,000 it has already fundraised since 2013. Over 1,000 rugby players and spectators will be in attendance with 32 teams competing across various competitions. There is plenty planned off the field for spectators too including a Beer Festival, Pimm’s Garden, Grand Raffle, Live Music. Camping is available for free with tickets to the event being sold on the gates on the day at £3 for Adults with U18s being able to attend for free. More information can be found at nd7s.co.uk
Bridport Charter Fair, South Street, Arts Centre and Borough Gardens
Wareham Carnival, Town Centre. www.wareham-carnival.org.uk
Camp Bestival. Family festival held in the grounds of Lulworth Castle. www.campbestival.net
Big Grove Summer Festival, Portland. Musical acts, open mic sessions on the second stage, fun fair, children’s corner, traders, food outlets and a fully licensed bar.
Portland Gooseberry Fayre, Southwell Business Park, Portland. Funfair, horse show, donkey rides, stalls, music and arena displays.
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
Chedington Street Fair
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. www.miltonabbas.org.uk/Street_Fair/streetfair.htm
The Great Dorset Steam Fair, Tarrant Hinton, Blandford Forum. A steam lovers paradise with over 220 full size steam engines, vintage vehicles, heavy shire horses, rural crafts, over 2000 stalls and a steam funfair.It takes place over 5 days and is recognised as the leading event of its type in the world. An amazing blend of entertainment and nostalgia can be found at this typically British event. www.gdsf.co.uk
Great Dorset Chilli Festival, Wimborne St Giles. 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
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.
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, East Lulworth. This festival takes place at beautiful Lulworth Castle. Music, DJ’s, comedy and more. www.campbestival.net
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. www.gillshaftshow.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
Swanage Lifeboat Week. Entertaining week culminating in the raft race on the Saturday.
The event raises vital funds for the RNLI.
Bournemouth Air Festival bournemouthair.co.uk
Weymouth Carnival and Fireworks. Weymouth Seafront.
Stock Gaylard Oak fair. A day for those inspired by the countryside, timber, conservation, crafts and local produce. www.stockgaylard.com/oak-fair/oak-fair-at-stock-gaylard.html
Dragon Boat Racing.Weymouth Beach.
Lyme Regis Regatta and Carnival Week www.lymeregiscarnival.co.uk
Buckham Fair, Beaminster Old fashioned fair, police dog displays, heavy horse displays, vintage cars and scooters plus trade stands. Organised by TV personality Martin Clunes and wife Phillipa, raising money for local charities. www.buckhamfair.co.uk
Forever Sun Festival. Dorchester. Music festival started in 2013. www.foreversun.co.uk
Bridport Carnival and Torchlit Procession www.bridportcarnival.co.uk
Bridport and West Dorset Open Studios . 3 day open studio event
Nothe Fort Victorian Fayre
MG Car Rally, Athelhampton House and Gardens, Dorchester
End of the Road Festival. Music festival held at Larmer Tree Gardens . www.endoftheroadfestival.com
Woofstock, Marnhull. Dog show. www.woofstockuk.co.uk
Bestival. The music festival moved from the Isle of Wight to Dorset’s Lulworth Estate in 2017. www.bestival.net
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
Bridport Hat Festival
Lyme Regis Arts Festival
Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival
Bournemouth Marathon Festival. 2 festival of running started in 2013. Includes a half and full marathon on the Sunday. www.run-bmf.com
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.
Wimborne Food Festival, Minster Green, High Street. A showcase of independent food producers, winemakers, brewers and chefs. There is an emphasis on locally sourced, sustainable produce. chefs showcase, food tasting, book signings, country craft demonstrations, street performers, food market and more. Free. www.wimbornefoodfestival.co.uk
Sherborne Literary Festival. 5 day literary event. www.sherborneliterarysociety.com
Sherborne International Film Festival
Best of Festival, Kingston Lacy, Wimborne. Food festival with over 150 local producers and vendors, alongside family friendly entertainment including live music, free face painting, a bouncy castle and a helter skelter.
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.
North Dorset Folk Festival – Held indoors at the High School in Sturminster Newton. www.northdorsetfolkfestival.co.uk
Pumpkins in the Park. Greenhill Gardens, Weymouth. Halloween fun.
Autumn Colours Weekend, Sherborne Castle
Bridport Literary Festival
Firework displays across the county
Christmas Light Switch on’s in towns and villages throughout Dorset.
Chase the Pudding. Weymouth Beach. 5k charity Santa run.
The Great Christmas Pudding Race, The Marine Parade, Lyme Regis. Charity pudding race event started in 2012.
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.