Whether you are planning a holiday or day trip or just wondering what there is to see and do in Dorset during July, here's some fabulous ideas for how to spend your summer.

July really is the time to get outside to enjoy the south coast sunshine and warmer evenings. So, it's not surprising that this month is filled with lots of music festivals, camping adventures, carnivals and outdoor theatre shows to make the most of the good weather.

For a full list of events this month, take a look at our What's On guide for July.

Outdoor music festivals

A photo from the stage at Camp Bestival looking out to the crowd

© Camp Bestival

We’ve got some fantastic music festivals taking place this summer – here are our top picks.

The family-friendly Camp Bestival returns to the beautiful grounds of Lulworth Castle between Thursday 25 and Sunday 28 July 2024. Not only will there be headline music acts such as Paloma Faith, McFly, James Arthur and Pete Tong, but the festival will also feature many family favourites like Dick and Dom and Mr Tumble. Weekend, day and camping tickets are available, starting at £80 for an adult ticket and £16 for children.

SandFest returns for its 7th instalment at Sandbanks on Sunday 14 July 2024 and this year’s headline act is Dizzee Rascal. This is a beach festival like no other with the world famous golden sand of Sandbanks Beach underfoot and views of Old Harry Rocks and the Jurassic Coast in the distance. This event is for 18+ year olds only and tickets start at £50.

With over 50 live acts across 4 stages, Poole Harbour Festival is back from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 July 2024. The headliners are Razorlight and The Coral, plus loads of local and tribute bands too. There’ll be kids entertainment on the Saturday and Sunday, plus lots of food and drink stalls too. Day and weekend tickets are available, starting from £22 for an adult ticket and £8.50 for children.


It wouldn’t be summer without carnivals, and we’ve got some brilliant ones taking place this July.

Kicking off the 2024 Carnival season is Wareham Carnival. With live music and food and drink and then the Carnival Procession on the final day, don’t miss this weekend of fun from Friday 19 to Sunday 21 July.

Swanage Carnival and Regatta is one of the biggest events taking place in Swanage and draws visitors every year from far and wide. Enjoy 8 days of events from Saturday 27 July until Saturday 3 August.

Lyme Regis and Bridport Carnivals take place in August.

Reconnect with the land beneath your feet

Views of Worth Matravers village from the Smugglers Ways walking route in Dorset

This summer, why not get out those walking shoes and discover Dorset’s history.

Not only is the scenery and landscapes amazing to look at, there is a story behind what lies hidden beneath your feet as you walk through our beautiful countryside.

Discover mystery and intrigue as you wander along riverside walks, over the top of hills or next to the magnificent Jurassic Coast. Even if you’re not a history buff, you’ll still get to see cracking views and there is always a pub, café or tearoom nearby to sample a few local flavours. Read our blog for 5 suggested walking routes to follow.

Swanage Jazz Festival

This year’s line-up for the 2024 Swanage Jazz Festival has now been finalised.

Headline acts and supporting artists will be performing traditional to contemporary jazz in a variety of venues between Friday 12 and Sunday 14 July.

Tickets starts from £43 with concessions for under 19s and a FREE Fringe Festival in local hotels and pubs.

Sherborne Castle Classic and Supercars Show

Atkins Ferrie Supercar Show at Sherborne Castle and Gardens

Photo courtesy of Sherborne Classic & Supercars Limited

With over 1500 vehicles, the Classic and Supercars Show returns to the stunning grounds of Sherborne Castle on Sunday 21 July 2024.

For car enthusiasts and families alike, this event is a huge crowd pleaser.

Adult advance tickets are available from £17 (which include a 15% discount on the gate price). Accompanied children under 16 get FREE entry.

Open air theatre

What could be better than a warm summers evening and sitting outside for a picnic and outdoor theatre show?

Shakespeare seems to be the flavour of the month with Hamlet being shown at Kingston Lacy near Wimborne Minster and Athelhampton House near Dorchester. Over on Brownsea Island, Macbeth will be stirring up toil and trouble under the stars of Dorset’s nights sky.

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company bring their latest production 'The Dressing Book' to Tarrant Monkton and Child Okeford in mid July. This brand-new play is full of songs, poems and slapstick.

As well as your chairs and picnics, remember to take a blanket or warm clothing for when the sun goes down as the evenings in July can still feel a little cool.

Car free adventures

Swanage Railway steam train at Corfe Castle station in Dorset

Corfe Castle Railway Station © Diana Jarvis

If you want to leave the car at home or head out for a day of adventure by bus, train or boat, we’ve got some great ideas for car free adventures in Dorset.

Jump on a double-decker open top bus to see more of our amazing county, take to the sea with a City Cruises boat trip between Poole and Swanage or step back in time for a nostalgic ride on a Swanage Railway steam train.

Whichever way you choose to travel, you can put away the Sat Nav, relax and let someone else do the driving!

Yoga in the outdoors

Outdoor yoga with Sonia Lockyer on Brownsea Island in Dorset

Yoga with Sonja Lockyer on Brownsea Island © National Trust Images/ Rachel L

If you're a fan of yoga, don't forget to bring your mat with you on holiday and enjoy outdoor yoga at a number of venues across the county.

At Swanage Pier, listen to the sounds of the sea as you relax and unwind. Tuesday morning sessions are for all levels, and Thursday morning sessions are for intermediate participants. 

Enjoy early morning yoga and breakfast on Brownsea Island. Following the one hour session, you'll be served a delicious picnic breakfast prepared by local plant-based chef Wylde Green Kitchen, and the chance to savour the island's tranquillity before getting the ferry back to Sandbanks.

Free Park Yoga also takes place at Durlston Country Park, Poole Park and in Bournemouth's Central Gardens every Sunday from 9:30am until 10:30am between 5th May and 15th September 2024.

Stay a little longer

If you're planning on an overnight stay or short break during your to Dorset visit this July, we've got lots of choice places to stay.

Whatever your budget or requirements, choose from hotels, B&Bs, pubs and inns, holiday parks, glamping or camping.