August Bank Holiday in Dorset

Wondering how you’re going to spend this year’s August bank holiday weekend?

There’s certainly no shortage of things to see and do here in Dorset to keep you entertained for the whole 3 days. From family friendly fairs and festivals to fireworks and folk weekends, you’re spoilt for choice for events taking place over the long weekend.

Events and festivals

If you’re looking to start your bank holiday weekend with a bang, don’t forget to head down to Bournemouth seafront for the last of the Friday night firework displays. Starting at 10pm, this free event attracts thousands of people to see the dazzling fireworks light up the night sky and can be seen from miles around.

On Friday 25 and Saturday 26 August, Cinema Under the Stars will be showing the Super Mario Bros. Movie and Dungeons and Dragons set within the grounds of the iconic Corfe Castle.

Over near Sturminster Newton, the annual Oak Fair takes place on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 August. It’s a real celebration of the countryside with woodcraft, chainsaw carving, heavy horse shows, falconry displays, over 200 artisan craft stalls and the skills of the Adams Axemen display team. There’s also lots of food and drink on offer too, so you can make a whole day of it.

The Anonymous Festival in Dorchester is now in its 13th year. This is a free, family-friendly festival taking place on 28 August from 11am. As well as fresh musical talent from some of the best local youth starlets, there’ll be workshops, activities and food stalls.

If folk music is your thing, from Friday 25 to Monday 28 August the Lyme Regis Folk Festival brings you a variety of well-known and local musicians, plus dancing, ceilidh, workshops and music sessions.

Stay cool

The August bank holiday weekend wouldn’t be complete without a few hot days of sunshine, so if you’re looking to cool off in the water but want to avoid the busy beaches, here’s a few ideas for you.

What better way to cool off in the heatwave than to jump off two huge inflatable assault courses into a lake?! For ages 6 and above, you’ll be shrieking with pure glee as you tackle both the Castle Lake and Woodland Lake adventure courses at Dorset Adventure Park near Corfe Castle. And if a thundery downpour should hit, you could try the Dorset Mud Trail – prepare to get mucky!!!

A traditional British summer pastime, everyone loves a spot of rockpooling at low tide. One of the best places in Dorset (if not the whole country) to find the hidden creatures of the sea is Kimmeridge Bay. The waters here form part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and are teaming with diverse marine wildlife – they even have a snorkelling trail available during the summer months so you can get even closer to the local wildlife and cool off at the same time.

If you're seeking an adrenaline rush, why not have a go at coasteering? Available at many locations along the Jurassic coastline, join an expert guide for a few hours of jumping, swimming and climbing.

Bank Holiday on a budget

For some great low-cost or no-cost days out in Dorset read our latest value-for-money blog or check out our top ten ideas for free days out. Explore castles, go on a nature trail or ride your bike for a cycling adventure in our beautiful countryside.

If you've got children under 5 years old, they get in for free at Swanage RailwayAbbotsbury SwanneryMuseum of Jurassic Marine LifeHighcliffe CastleThe Blue PoolThe KeepSandworld and Nothe Fort.

For children under 3 years old, the following attractions offer discounted tickets or free entry: Farmer Palmers Farm Park, Adventure Wonderland, Monkey WorldThe Tank MuseumDorset Heavy Horse Farm ParkMuseum of East DorsetThe Rex Cinema, Haynes Motor Museum, Sherborne Castle and GardensWimborne Model TownTeddy Bear MuseumLyme Regis Marine AquariumLulworth CastleExbury Gardens and Railway and The Dinosaur Museum.

Accompanied by a paying adult, children under the age of 14 get free entry to Swanage Pier and children under 16 get free entry to Dorset Museum.

There are also museums, country parks, hill forts and more which offer free admission. See the full list of over 200 free things to do in our wonderful county.

And don't forget to look at our Special Offers page to see what deals and discounts are available to save some money during your break.

Enjoy eating out

Dorset has an excellent reputation for fantastic food and drink. Sample some of the delightful local produce or purchase your own at the many farmers markets and enjoy a delicious picnic at one of Dorset's beauty spots.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a slice Dorset Apple Cake at one of our welcoming tearooms or tuck in to a well deserved pub lunch at one of our cosy country pubs. Just don’t forget to wash it down with some of our locally produced ciders and ales. Now that sounds like our kind of bank holiday weekend!

Book your bank holiday getaway now!

With all of this just waiting to be enjoyed, can you really afford not to book your break in Dorset?

We have a fantastic range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes. Choose from cosy cottages, farm stays, welcoming B&Bs, country hotels and scenic caravan and campsites. Some will have the added bonus of hot tubs and spa facilities to really treat yourself this August.

Your break in Dorset is only a click away! See you soon…


• Hotels
• B&Bs
• Self Catering
• Farmhouses
• Pubs & Inns
• Caravan and Holiday Parks
• Campsites
• Glamping

For travel advice over the Bank Holiday weekend in Dorset, visit Travel Dorset.

Bank Holiday weekend ideas

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