With Dorset's gardens and parks bursting with colourful flowers and warm spring sunshine peeping through the clouds, April is a lovely time of year to visit our county.
As maximum average temperatures reach 14°C (57°F) you'll be able to enjoy dining outside at a café, bistro or pub, or even get to spend some time on the beach. However, if the April showers try to put a dampener on your visit, don’t worry, we’ve got lots of ideas for wet weather days for all ages.
Top tip – spring and autumn are the best times to visit the super popular landmarks such as Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, Old Harry Rocks and Portland Bill. Parking will be easier and there will be less crowds to get in the way of your perfect holiday photo!
Read on for all the best things to see and do in Dorset during April.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea
The much-loved children's storybook character The Tiger Who Came to Tea will be making an appearance this month at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester and The Lighthouse in Poole.
Shire Hall Museum © Seven Stories / Damien Wootton
From 16 March until 20 May, visitors to Shire Hall will not only get to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea exhibition, they’ll also be able to step into Sophie’s kitchen to have tea with a life-size tiger! Entry to the exhibition is included with a museum ticket. Ticket prices are £9.50 for adults, £5 for children (children under 5 years go FREE) and £20 for families.
Over at Poole’s Lighthouse Centre for the Arts, the musical play The Tiger Who Came to Tea returns on tour. Based on the book by Judith Kerr, the stage adaptation will be running from Tuesday 4 until Thursday 6 April. Ticket prices start at £13.75 each.
Dorset gardens in springtime give visitors a welcome blast of colour from beautiful camellias, cherry trees and magnolias. You may also see late flowering daffodils and early bluebells depending on when you visit.
World famous for its camellia groves and magnolias, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens is a top location to visit during spring. Located near the Jurassic Coast, you can enjoy magnificent views over the coastline and The Fleet Nature Reserve from their viewpoint - the walk up maybe steep, but is definitely worth it!
At the National Trust’s Kingston Lacy gardens, you can immerse yourself into the Festival of Blossom from 18 March until 30 April and on Sunday 16 April, you can join one of the garden team at Exbury Gardens for a Camellia tour or talk.
The Easter holidays are in April this year with Good Friday on 7 April and Easter Monday on 10 April being bank holidays - perfect for a long weekend getaway.
Throughout Dorset, there will be lots of Easter events taking place including children’s trails, craft activities, family fun, Easter Egg Hunts and even having breakfast with the Easter Bunny on Bournemouth Pier!
It's lambing time
For the chance to see and feed lambs and kids (baby goats) head over to Farmer Palmers Farm Park. The Park is specially designed for children under 8 years old and there are also pigs, donkeys, deer, guinea pigs, alpacas, chicken, ducks, cows and ponies to see. Children will also love the play areas and World of Dinosaur Roar!
The Park is open everyday in April and there are special Easter Egg Hunts taking place between Friday 7 and Monday 10 April.
Abbotsbury Food Fair
Set in the grounds of the beautiful Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, the Abbotsbury Food Fair includes around 30 stalls from makers and producers from across Dorset. In association with Dorset Food & Drink, there will be lots of opportunity to sample, eat and buy delicious local produce - yum!
The Fair takes place on Saturday 8 April and the entrance ticket allows access into the stunning Subtropical Gardens. Tickets prices are £7.50 for adults, £5 for children and children under five years old go FREE.
Bournemouth Writing Festival
If you have an interest in writing or literature, the brand new Bournemouth Writing Festival is the place to be in April. With over 70 events across 3 days, you can take part in workshops, talks, walks, children’s events and more in venues across Bournemouth Town Centre.
From Friday 21 to Sunday 23 April, you’ll get the chance to meet best-selling authors, BAFTA-winning and nominated screenwriters, editors, poets and journalists. Some events are free and some events are ticketed.
Free activities include 'Writing on the Beach' with Richard & Judy winner Christine Aziz and a Poetry Hunt organised by Bournemouth Poet Laureate Myriam San Marco. There will also be literary walks and 'genre breakfasts' too.
There'll be an Open Mic event on Saturday 22 April, in association with Boscombe-based Doppelganger Dialogues and families can get involved in workshops, activities and readings from children’s authors to encourage young minds to get writing.
Gillingham and Shaftesbury Spring Countryside Show
Expect agricultural and livestock shows, live music, food and drink, dog agility courses, show gardens and more at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Spring Countryside Show.
This traditional country show is a great day out for the whole family (including dogs on leads) and takes place on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April.
You can even make a weekend of it with the option to camp overnight from just £10 per pitch per night. Discounted prices for camping and show tickets are available until 31 March 2023.
Reconnect With Nature
Spring is a great time to reconnect with nature. With the weather warming up and spring flowers popping up all over the place, it’s time to get outside and awaken your senses.
Take the time to slow down, relax and enjoy the simple things in life. Listen to the birds twittering, notice the colourful wildflowers or enjoy a picnic with your favourite people (or four legged friends).
Read our blog for more information about country parks and nature reserves to visit in Dorset.
Sherborne Abbey Music Festival
Hosting world-class performances and showcasing local musical talent, the annual Sherborne Abbey Music Festival takes place from 27 April until 4 May.
This classical music festival is open to all with a mixture of free and ticketed events.
Bridport's Film Festival
From Page to Screen is a film festival with a difference. It is the UK's only festival celebrating the adaptation of books to film.
Taking place in Bridport from Wednesday 26 to Sunday 30 April, the Festival features discussions, Q&As and masterclasses with authors, screenwriters, directors and film academics. Tickets start at £5 for adults and £4 for students.
Sidney Poitier in the film A Raisin In The Sun.
The programme this year includes 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' starring Elizabeth Taylor, 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' starring Jim Broadbent, 'She Said' starring Carey Mulligan and 'Allelujah' starring Dame Judy Dench.
Teddy Rocks Festival
Originally created in 2010, the annual Teddy Rocks Festival raises money and awareness for children’s cancer. The Festival takes place near Blandford Forum over the bank holiday weekend from 28 until 30 April.
Adult tickets are available for the day starting at £30 or the whole weekend from £84.75, with the option to camp overnight as well. Child and family tickets are also available with under 5s and carers going FREE.
Headline acts include East 17, Vengaboys, Goldie Lookin Chain, Feeder and Jake Bugg.
© Charlie Raven
Book an April getaway to Dorset
If you're thinking about booking a holiday or short break to Dorset this April, we've lots of choice for places to stay overnight. From cosy cottages and scenic log cabins to luxury hotels and homely B&Bs, there is something for all tastes and budgets.
Don't forget to check out our special offers for booking a bargain break at discounted prices.
What are you waiting for - book your spring holiday today!