A guide to spending Christmas in Dorset  holiday cottages

A guide to spending Christmas in Dorset

Sarah 04 October 2023

There’s a lot going on in Dorset this festive season! We’ve searched high and low to find the very best days out, Christmas events, markets and places to see Santa so that when you stay in one of our cosy cottages for Christmas, you know exactly where to find all the festive fun.

Christmas events in Dorset

Christmas at Kingston Lacy | November – January 

Outside photo of Kingston Lacy

The beautiful Kingston Lacy estate will be adorned with Christmas decorations, Christmas tree and twinkling Christmas lights as it hosts numerous family events from late November until January. Take evening strolls around the illuminated gardens, follow the festive family garden trail, meet Santa and enjoy Christmas crafts.

Dorchester Christmas Cracker | Sunday 10th December 2023

Attend an evening of Christmas festivities in Dorchester, which is sure to get you excited about Christmas. You can expect seasonal entertainment, festive food and drink, and all the local shops stay open late to allow shoppers to stock up on Christmas gifts.

Christmas at Corfe Castle | December

Aerial shot of Corfe Castle

Join the Lord of Misrule to be transported to Christmas in the medieval times on a journey through the castle ruins, made magical by contemporary Christmas lights, lanterns and beacons. You will learn about medieval traditions, and join in with games, dance and entertainment.  

Blandford Yuletide Festival | Friday 1st December 2023

Enjoy an evening of festive fun from 5pm with a Christmas market, a lantern parade, carol singing and evening entertainment around the town before coming to an end with a firework spectacular.

A fairytale Christmas at Upton Country Park | Selected dates in December 

Lady drinking hot chocolate at Christmas event

Join the family friendly adventure trail this December at Upton Country Park. Starting at the Welcome Centre, you will be able to buy your trail map for £6 and explore the formal pleasure grounds that surround the house – be sure to keep an eye out for any magical fairytale characters you may spot along the way!

When you have completed your Christmas adventure, head to the Christmas Tree Finale near the Tea Rooms to claim your Christmas present prize and warm up by the fire, with hot drinks and marshmallows to toast.

Places to see Father Christmas

Sail with Santa in Poole | Selected dates in November & December 

Sail with Santa

A unique Santa experience that is as much for the adults as it is the kids. Sail with Santa will cruise around Poole Harbour. Kid’s can enjoy a 30-minute magic show with snacks and Santa will stroll around the boat handing out presents to all the children. Meanwhile, you can enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols as you sail past the likes of Brownsea Island and Studland Bay.

Father Christmas Magic at Farmer Palmers | Selected dates in November & December

At Christmas, the whole park receives a full festive makeover so you can be sure of a cracking Christmas atmosphere. You will find ‘Farmer Christmas’ in his traditional winter cabin in the Little Farmer’s Fun Barn where he will be meeting little ones. 

Where else can you see Father Christmas in Dorset?

Christmas markets in Dorset

Bournemouth Christmas Market | November - January 


A visit to Bournemouth’s revitalised alpine Christmas market will be sure to get you in the festive spirit. Located in the centre of the city, the alpine market promises the best of local crafts, gifts and culinary delights, while the two-storey Alpine Lodge Bar offers refuge from the crowds with festive snacks, mulled drinks and Christmas cheer.

Shaftesbury Christmas Market | Sunday 10th December 2023

This one-day Christmas market will transform Shaftesbury high street into a Christmas shoppers' paradise with over 90 stalls selling fresh local produce, artisan gifts and delicious street food! The market will run from 10am – 4pm, so why not make a day of it? After checking out the market, you could head to Shaftesbury Abbey or stroll down the iconic Gold Hill.

Bridport Christmas Cheer | Wednesday 6th December

Head to the annual Bridport Christmas Cheer for an evening full of live music, food and drink and range of wonderful Christmas stalls.

Symondsbury Estate Christmas Market | 1st, 2nd and 3rd December 

The annual Symondsbury Estate Christmas Market is back with a weekend of fantastic stalls, food and drink, mulled wine and music.

Other Christmas Markets

  • Swanage Christmas Market | December 
  • Gillingham Christmas Craft Fair | December

Cottages to rent for Christmas

We have picked some of our properties that are designed with families and groups in mind to help you plan a Christmas break in Dorset with the family. Also, check out our guides to supermarkets in Dorset for that all important Christmas food shop!


Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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