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!


Poole Dream Machines Jun 07

Poole Dream Machines

Dream Machines will be back at Poole Quay, every Tuesday, from 2nd May - 26th September 2023. The event creates a unique, exciting atmosphere as bikers and spectators enjoy a relaxed...

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival Jun 07

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival

Welcome to Purbeck Art Weeks Festival 2023. A two week festival celebrating all aspects creative of art. Artist Open Studios for you to explore around the Purbecks offering a broad selection of...

Wimborne Minster Folk Festival Jun 09

Wimborne Minster Folk Festival

As is traditional, on the second weekend of June, Wimborne Minster will come alive with the annual Folk Festival as the streets, pubs and concert halls are filled with morris dancers, music...

Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival Jun 10

Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival

The Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival returns for 2023 and takes place on Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11. The event, which started in 2014, will once again be held throughout the village...

Bridport Food Festival Jun 11

Bridport Food Festival

A foodie fortnight in celebration of local food and drink in and around the town of Bridport. With a wealth of chefs, makers, bakers and farmers situated in and around Bridport, one day is...

Chesil Rocks Jun 15

Chesil Rocks

Chesil Rocks has been an annual family friendly music and arts festival in Langton Herring since 2012, although events did not take place in 2019 or 2020 due to the pandemic. The event is non-profit...

BEAF Festival Launch Event Jun 16

BEAF Festival Launch Event

The festival kicks off with our Launch Party on Friday 16 June, bringing incredible music all the way from Soweto to Boscombe's glorious Victorian music venue, the O2. Bantu Continua Uhuru...

BEAF Festival Opening Celebration Jun 16

BEAF Festival Opening Celebration

Join us on Friday 16 June 6pm at B.A.D. as we launch the start of the festival and the preview to see Boscombe World, a major new BEAF commission by Harold Offeh. Boscombe World is an adventurous...

DorsetFest Jun 16


DorsetFest is a family-friendly music festival set in the heart of the Dorset Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The two-day event offers a fantastic range of music, entertainment and food...

Access BEAF Group exhibition Jun 17

Access BEAF Group exhibition

Access BEAF is a group of emerging artists from across Bournemouth and Dorset. The group was set up to support one another, particularly for those artists who have experienced racism and may have...

BEAF Art Pavilion - Part of BEAF Arts Festival Jun 17

BEAF Art Pavilion - Part of BEAF Arts Festival

Spilling out onto the streets, BEAF is building its first Art Pavilion, a space for workshops, performances and maybe a game of backgammon or chess, or maybe just a place to lounge and grab a coffee....

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.