The Dorset events calendar is in full swing; from food festivals to county shows, Dorset has a huge selection of festivals for visitors to enjoy this summer.
Whether you fancy sampling some of the delicious local food and drink at one of the many food festivals in Dorset, watching one of your favourite bands at a local music festival, or even spending a fun-filled day out at the Dorset County Show, there is a Dorset event to suit everyone – and we are sure to have a holiday cottage nearby too!
Here are just a few of our favourite festivals and events taking place in Dorset this summer …
Swanage Fish Festival (17-18 June)
Image: Swanage Fish Festival
With live cooking demonstrations from top local chefs and sumptuous local food and drink, all with the beautiful Swanage Bay as the backdrop, what more could you want from a foodie festival?
The Swanage Fish Festival takes place in Prince Albert Gardens and is free to attend. There will be stalls offering a huge variety of fish such as local cockles, mussels, scallops and oysters (to name a few) and perfectly paired, of course, with champagne!
Camp Bestival (27–30 July)
Image: Camp Bestival
Camp Bestival is a family festival, which is held in the grounds of Lulworth Castle near Wareham so why not visit for the day or the whole weekend but skip the camping part and stay in a holiday home nearby?
With music, stand-up comedy, DJ sets and a fantastic lineup for little ones too, there’s something for everyone including the world’s biggest bouncy castle, an inflatable church, yoga, a dressing up tent, silent discos and more. The spectacular fireworks finale on Sunday evening is a real highlight too!
The music line-up includes Craig David, Ella Henderson, The Kooks, Sam Ryder and more, and there’s entertainment for younger members from the likes of Mr Tumble, Horrible Histories and infamous duo, Dick and Dom.
Weymouth Food and Family Festival (29–30 July)
Image: Weymouth Food Festival
Held at Weymouth's Lodmoor Country Park, Weymouth Food and Family Festival is a fantastic, family-friendly, fun-filled event. Brave visitors can test their taste buds during a chilli challenge competition that isn't for the faint hearted.
There’s also a mini fun fair, crazy golf, a dog companion show, a circus skills workshop and more, with live music throughout. It’s perfect for food and drink lovers who can try before you buy on an incredible range of local produce.
Swanage Carnival (29 July – 5 August)
Image: Swanage Carnival
The Swanage Carnival is one of the main highlights of the year in the town of Swanage, with eight full days of entertainment. The theme this year is ‘Under the Sea’ as it’s the designated ‘Year of the Coast’ and we can’t wait!
For the whole week, the streets, parks and beach come alive with live music, a colourful parade, beer tents, trade stalls and even a wheelbarrow race which encompasses every pub in the town. Our favourite parts of the week include the astonishing Red Arrows air show, fireworks displays and, of course, the procession itself!
Great Dorset Chilli Festival (5-6 August)
Image: Great Dorset Chilli Festival
The Great Dorset Chilli Festival will take place at the Stock Gaylard Estate near Sherborne this year. If you love all things chilli, this is the festival for you! From pepper plants to cayenne condiments, chilli eating competitions, spicy street food and music, as well as local ice cream and beers to cool the mouth, they have thought of everything and everyone!
With some of the country’s most respected chilli companies showcasing their plants, seeds, chutneys, hot sauces, chilli chocolate, relishes, pickles and more. Speak to the experts to discover how to cook with chillies and find out which chillies will or won’t blow your head off (the choice is yours!).
Melplash Agricultural Show (24 August)
Image: Melplash Agricultural Society
Held on Thursday 24 August, The Melplash Agricultural Show is held at The West Bay Showground near Bridport. The show provides a brilliant day out if you are in the area, with over 400 trade stands selling everything from local produce to tractors and plenty in between as well as exhibits including livestock, horses, homecrafts and horticulture.
Tickets are available to buy now from their website at a slightly reduced rate (if bought in advance).
Bournemouth Air Show (31 August – 3 September)
Image: Bournemouth Air Show
Bournemouth Air Show is the UK’s biggest air festival with four fun-filled days of action and entertainment in the air, on land and at sea from Thursday 31 August. The award-winning festival, which is free to attend, has entertained more than 8.5 million people since it began back in 2008.
You can expect to see displays from the Red Arrows, BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) and specialist aircrafts, Typhoon and Tutor. There’s also fireworks, street entertainment, live music and military performances as part of the programme too, making it one of many fun-packed events happening in Bournemouth this summer.
Dorset County Show (2– 3 September)
Image: Dorset County Show
The Dorset County Show is one of the county’s largest annual outdoor events, attracting more than 60,000 visitors. The show is centred around agriculture with traditional livestock judging, equine competition, horticulture classes, rural trade, crafts and food and drink.
There are also various displays and sections where visitors can witness farming practices such as milking and shearing first hand. New for 2023 will be displays from the world's biggest monster trucks, Shetland pony racing, Dorset axemen and more.
SEAFEAST Dorset Seafood Festival (9-10 September)
Image: Dorset Seafood Festival
A visit to SEAFEAST, the award-winning Dorset Seafood Festival, offers an amazing opportunity to gain a better understanding of the superb seafood available just off our wonderful Dorset shores.
The festival is held on the Weymouth Peninsula, at the end of Weymouth’s beautiful sandy beach. With demos from talented local chefs, live music, fun activities for kids as well as the opportunity to wander, sample and enjoy great food and local produce, Dorset Seafood Festival is a great day out!
Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival (9-10 September)
Image: Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival
The Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival has been taking place in Sturminster Newton near Sherborne since 1999. Visitors can expect to enjoy plenty of cookery demonstrations (of course with cheese!), cheese making, cheese tasting and cheese-related events.
There are also more than 60 food stalls, craft stalls, live music, children’s entertainment and an ale and cider tent – it’s not all just about cheese!
Stay with us in Dorset
Are you ready to book your Dorset holiday cottage and discover some of these festivals and events for yourself?
Browse our full collection of holiday homes online today. We have a fantastic range of large properties, dog-friendly houses, accommodation for the whole family, romantic boltholes and everything in between – come and discover the delights of Dorset today.
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.