Dippy Arrives in Dorset

The Natural History Museum’s famous Diplodocus skeleton cast, known as Dippy begins his nationwide tour in 2018. It is of course, fitting that his first stop is to the Jurassic Coast, the birthplace of palaeontology, for a 12-week stay at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester from February until the 8th of May. Entry to see Dippy is free, however visitors do need to book a 60 minute slot in advance. There will also be lots of events happening at the museum and across Dorset in partnership with the Jurassic Coast Trust.

Dippy begins his nationwide tour right here in Dorset

Tuck in to the Finest Dorset Local Produce

With award-winning restaurants, weekly farmer’s markets, and numerous festivals and fairs showcasing Dorset’s food and drink producers, there has never been a better time to sample the sumptuous range of local produce from across the county. Enjoy a spot of Dorset Knob throwing with a selection of local delicacies at Kingston Maurward, crack a lobster or two at Dorset’s Seafood festival in Weymouth, test your taste buds over at Wimborne St Gilles at the Great Dorset Chilli Festival, and stock up on some choice Dorset cheeses at the Sturminster Newton cheese Festival.

Quintessential Country Gardens

Dorset is home to some of the most spectacular homes and gardens in the country, all with their own stories and hidden histories. Enjoy a relaxing day taking in the wonderful surroundings and imagine these homes in their heyday, playing host to English aristocracy, dignitaries and famous faces. Many host events throughout the year and with the first snowdrops already appearing it won't be long until many are full of spring colour, so keep an eye on the ever-changing ‘What’s On’ section for the most up-to-date events listings.

Take advantage of the many spectacular gardens in Dorset

Image credit: Forde Abbey

On Chesil Beach

Ian McKewan’s novel ‘On Chesil Beach’ has been adapted into a powerful drama starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle, set for release in June. The cinematic views across Chesil Beach will undoubtedly inspire many visitors to explore this unique area of coastline in 2018. Take in the huge views west from the Heights Hotel on the Isle of Portland and discover the variety of wildlife in the the area at the Chesil Beach Centre. Explore the Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens and the largest colony of free-flying mute swans at the Abbotsbury Swannery, with the chance to see hatching cygnets from mid-May until late June. Further west at Burton Bradstock, tuck in to local produce at the Spring Tide Food Festival in May or enjoy a delicious lunch with a wonderful view at the Hive Beach Café or the Seaside Boarding House.

On Chesil Beach release June 2018 filmed right here in Dorset

Image credit: Lionsgate Films International

Wonderful Wildlife

With well over 80% of the UK's bird, butterfly and mammal species living in Dorset, not to mention all six of the UK's reptile species, you may well encounter some magnificient wildlife on your next visit. Both the Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and the Dorset part of the Cranborne Chase AONB offer a variety of habitats supporting all manner of wildlife, with conservation reserves managed by the likes of the Dorset Wildlife Trust, National Trust and the RSPB, providing access and information for everyone to enjoy these natural delights. There are also plenty of opportunities to stay in secluded rural settings and watch amazing wildlife right on your doorstep - Bookham Court near Dorchester even has a a network of cameras and a heated wildlife hide that enables guests to quietly observe nesting birds of prey, nocturnal badgers and more wonderful wildlife.

Dorset is home to over 80% of the UK's Bird, Butterfly and Mammal Species

Image credit: Paul Haynes Photography

Dance the Night Away

Dorset boasts a truly diverse selection of music events happening throughout the year, including intimate performances in rural locations brought to you by Dorset Artsreach, boutique festivals offering an eclectic mix of styles from Folk to Jazz  and everything in between, plus the Camp Bestival and Bestival festivals who bring an award-winning blend of music and colour to thousands of revellers at Lulworth Castle.

Thousands of visitors enjoy the array of spectacular events in Dorset

A Celebration of Steam

One of Dorset’s largest annual events celebrates 50 years in 2018 with a spectacular five-day event held over the August Bank Holiday. See extensive working displays of steam, industrial and agricultural exhibits, plus a breath-taking World War One display, a music festival, food and craft stalls, stunt displays, and one of the nation’s largest travelling fairgrounds.

Great Dorset Steam Fair celebrates its 50th year

Image credit: Paul Haynes Photography

Join a Dorset Carnival Spectacular

July and August see a party atmosphere arriving in Dorset with carnival processions and regattas taking place in many towns across the county. Spectacular fireworks, torchlight processions, music events, and the ever-popular Red Arrows aerial displays entertain the crowds and also raise valuable funds for local causes. 

Get Active

If your New Year’s resolution is to live healthier and be more active, why not make the most of Dorset’s glorious countryside and the immense network of paths and trails on offer to achieve your target? The Isle of Purbeck Walking Festival in September has a programme of organised walks for all ages and fitness levels, and whilst the Weymouth Ironman (70.3) is a vastly more challenging event, supporters are more than welcome to cheer on the competitors.

The awesome ruins of Corfe Castle are a spectacular view

For Literary Lovers

Fans of literature and poetry are truly spoilt for choice in Dorset with a number of popular literary festivals taking place in Bridport, Dorchester and Sherborne in the autumn. The festivals showcase a diverse selection of authors, with a mix of Dorset residents and acclaimed international guests. For those interested in Dorset’s rich literary heritage, you can explore the inspirational landscapes and locations featured in the works of revered authors such as Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, John Fowles and Enid Blyton, with a selection of guides and trails available on our Literary Dorset pages.

Visit Thomas Hardy's desk where his Dorset inspired novels were written


Dorset County Museum
Dorset County Museum

Dorset County Museum closed in October 2018 for a two-year multi-million pound redevelopment. Complete with new galleries, a learning centre, collections storage, a library and visitor facilities the new Museum will become a cultural destination at the heart of Dorset’s community. The Museum is continuing to inspire, educate and entertain all generations on its county-wide tour exhibiting in towns and at events across Dorset.

Bookham Court
Bookham Court

Bookham Court Holiday Cottages are 4/5 star cottages sleeping 2-9 guests.They enjoy panoramic views over Thomas Hardy's Blackmore Vale in Dorset. Fishing lake,games room, wildlife hide, glorious walks,half an hour from the sea,dogs welcome.M2 wetroom

The Great Dorset Steam Fair
Great Dorset Steam Fair - Visit Dorset

Steam engine exhibits, vintage vehicles, heavy shire horses and rural crafts. Working rural displays on a 500-acre site including old time steam funfair. Tickets on sale from Tourist Information Centres across Dorset.



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