Festivals in Dorset

Come to Dorset during any month and you’ll find an array of festivals and events to enjoy!

Dorset plays host to a variety of events such as music, theatre, comedy, country shows…and there are even a few more unusual events to be found that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Spring into life!

As spring emerges, it’s time for a colourful mix of music, fossils and swans!

The Sherborne Abbey Music Festival is as majestic as it sounds with beautiful music in a magnificent setting. They say don’t look down but make sure you look up – the fan vaulted ceiling has to be seen to be believed, it will simply take your breath away!

Children will love taking a step back in time and discovering more about the dinosaurs that roamed our lands at Lyme Regis Fossil Festival. 

If you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary then make sure you visit Abbotsbury Swannery from mid May. Walk through the paths and watch as fluffy cygnets hatch from eggs right before your eyes.

Dates for a foodie’s diary

As if that wasn’t enough, the wide variety of Dorset events includes plenty of events for those with a love of food.

Or why not enjoy a day at the Nettle Eating Contest…we did say that there are more slightly unusual events taking place in Dorset! 

The SeaFeast Dorset Seafood Festival in September is also a must where you can enjoy some of the finest, freshest seafood whilst relaxing with a cold glass of bubbly!

Get into the carnival spirit

June really kicks off the start of summer when the county is alive with festivals and carnivals.

Chill out and really get into the swing at the Wonky Donk festival in July or let the kids (and grown ups!) enjoy some explosive fun at Tankfest!

The summer months also see traditional village fetes hang their bunting all across Dorset.

The summer holidays get off to a great start with Camp Bestival. Lulworth Castle provides the stunning backdrop for this well renowned family festival.

With music to tickle all taste buds, a fantastic line up for the little ones and much more, this is a festival not to be missed!

Morris Dancers bring the streets to life with their bright costumes and jingling bells with folk festivals in Lyme Regis and Purbeck during August. 

Plus, if you like it hot then make sure you pop along to the Great Dorset Chilli Festival!

A unique blend of nostalgia and entertainment

Enjoy a giant trip of nostalgia into the days of yesteryear at the Great Dorset Steam Fair at the end of August, widely recognised as the leading event of its type in the world with 2,000 exhibits, 800 trade stalls and over 220 full size steam engines!

You’ll be all puffed out after an action packed day!

A true celebration of country life

If you’re looking for a great day out for the young and old to all enjoy then make sure you go along to one of our agricultural shows.

Melplash Show and Dorset County Show are crammed full of animal shows, magnificent displays, trade stalls and all the fun of the fair!  

Don’t be fooled into thinking these are low key events, they really are buzzing with activity!

Fun and frolics with flamboyant and fabulous headwear

Get your hats at the ready by September for the Bridport Hat Festival, a wonderfully British celebration of eccentricity!

With music all around and entertainment for the whole family this wonderful, quirky event is not to be missed!

Celebrate Autumn

Celebrate the start of Autumn with a spectacular display of colours in the beautiful lakeside gardens at Sherborne Castle or take a magical evening stroll along candle-lit pathways through enchanted glades at Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens.

Festive Dorset events with magic and sparkle

And it doesn’t stop there! 

The year might be drawing to a close but there are still plenty of events to enjoy in Dorset, many of which have a touch of festive sparkle about them!

If you are planning to visit Dorset to take part in one of our amazing festivals and events, why not stay a while and make a holiday of it? 

We’ve got plenty of accommodation for you to choose from – your perfect break is just a click away!

Festivalhighlights

Wedding and Special Event Festival Feb 04

Wedding and Special Event Festival

Sturminster Newton invites couples & families to a unique town event, where they can discover enticing offers for all occasions. Visit Wedding & Special Occasions Exhibitors in The Exchange -...

Brew Dorch - Dorchester's Festival of Drinks Feb 16

Brew Dorch - Dorchester's Festival of Drinks

Venues across Dorchester are celebrating the town's prestigious brewing and distilling history and organising some refreshing (see what we did there!) events that will involve a fair amount...

Swanage Blues Festival Mar 02

Swanage Blues Festival

The Big Blues Parties on the South Coast - Twice a year! * 15 Indoor Venues  * 30 Top Class Acts  * 50 Great Gigs, Open Mic and Jam Sessions * £15 Wristband /...

Springtober Fest Mar 11

Springtober Fest

We invite you to don your lederhosen and prepare yourself for Nothe Fort Springtober Fest! This Spring, we are bringing you all the fun of Oktoberfest, but you don't have to wait until Autumn!...

Bournemouth Bay Run Apr 02

Bournemouth Bay Run

Bournemouth Bay Run - 2nd April 2023 Whatever your running ability – fun or competitive, there’s a race for you. Set against the backdrop of Bournemouth’s famous seven-mile...

Easter Bonnet Parade Apr 09

Easter Bonnet Parade

Lyme Regis will be aglow with colour and creativity on Easter Sunday, as people gather to show off their hats and beautiful bonnets in the Easter Bonnet Parade. Come along and take part or just watch...

Bournemouth Writing Festival Apr 21

Bournemouth Writing Festival

A three-day extravaganza of talks, walks, seminars, panels, performances and workshops for writers wanting to write. We've curated a smorgasbord of professional writers and industry experts,...

Sherborne Abbey Music Festival Apr 27

Sherborne Abbey Music Festival

Sherborne's annual Abbey Music Festival takes places from 27 April to 4 May 2023. With another full programme of music concerts, venues include Sherborne Abbey, Cheap Street Church,...

Teddy Rocks Music Festival Apr 28

Teddy Rocks Music Festival

The festival purpose is to raise money and awareness for children's cancer and is in memory of Ted Newton, who lost his fight to cancer aged 10, in June 2010. Every penny raised from tickets,...

Cheese and Chilli Festival May 20

Cheese and Chilli Festival

The Cheese Festival is the perfect event for cheese lovers who can try and buy from an incredible range of local and regional products. Meanwhile for those who enjoy a slice of spice, The Chilli...

Christchurch Food Festival May 27

Christchurch Food Festival

Come try and buy from the best local producers, delicious street food, craft drinks and bars and a host of great entertainment including the chef demo stage with some of the country's top...

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival May 27

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival

Welcome to Purbeck Art Weeks Festival 2023. Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) is offering yet another superb programme of concerts and talks plus artists’ Open Studios and exhibitions across...

Swanage Fairy Festival Jun 01

Swanage Fairy Festival

Swanage fairy Festival will be making a huge splash again this year in the stunning seaside town of Swanage in Dorset. You will be mesmerized with the spectacular live mermaid show, spellbound by the...

Poole Seafood Festival Jun 03

Poole Seafood Festival

We’re very excited to announce Dorset’s ONLY FREE Seafood Festival takes place on 3rd – 5th June 2022 (Jubilee Weekend!), on Poole Quay, Dorset. The seafood festival has...

The Plant Fair Jun 03

The Plant Fair

With plenty to explore, from small independent nurseries selling unusual hardy perennials, herbs, alpines, cottage garden favourites and native wildflowers. Discover other unique items for your garden...

What does your Dorset look like? Adventures on our epic coastline? Visiting attractions with family? A walk through the beautiful countryside? Or perhaps a chilled out evening eating and drinking with friends? Discover a sample of your #VisitDorset images below and share your love for Dorset using the hashtag on Instagram.