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Christmas in Dorset: The Ultimate Guide to Events in 2022!

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Christmas Events in Dorset

It’s Christmas time in Dorset – and that means dozens of fab festive events, markets, and more. Perfect for getting yourself into the festive spirit!

Things like festive themed trails at our scenic country parks, pop-up Christmas markets selling brilliant handmade gifts, and specially illuminated trails to explore after dark.

Not to mention numerous chances to meet santa, as well as his elves and reindeer. This year, you can even feed live reindeer on a working farm!

I’ve divided this post into three sections. First up is a list of all the Dorset Christmas events which will be running throughout the festive season. The second section is a list of Christmas Lights Switch-On Events in Dorset, while the third is a quick-list of all upcoming Christmas Markets (full list in this post).

Use the table of contents to skip ahead, or browse through the post for inspiration. There’s so much on, you’re bound to find something fantastic near you!

If you know of any great Christmas events and markets around Dorset that aren’t listed here, leave a comment at the end of this post or get in touch and I’ll add it in. Merry Christmas…

Map of all Dorset Christmas Events

17 Christmas Events in Dorset

2022 Dates: 18th November – 2nd January 2023
Location: Lower Gardens and Town Centre
More Info

One of the biggest and best-known Christmas events in Dorset is Bournemouth’s annual Christmas Tree Wonderland. It’s a free trail of festive-themed illuminations throughout the Lower Gardens in the town centre.

Christmas Tree Wonderland Bournemouth

This year, the lighting features and installations will stretch all the way from the Seafront, through the Square, and up to the Triangle, Beale Place, Horseshoe Common and the Lansdowne roundabout.

Amongst all these magical lights and decorations, there’s also a traditional Christmas market in the Town Square, the fantastic pop-up Alpine Lodge Bar, and an outdoor ice rink.

READ MORE: Bournemouth Christmas Markets and Events

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Poole Quay
Times: 2pm – 4pm
More Info

A family-friendly Christmas launch in Poole, with entertainment, street music, dancing, face-painting, and more! Santa will make several guest appearances throughout the afternoon along with his elves and reindeer. Santa’s sleigh will also be parked up on the Quay offering photo opportunities for children big and small!

2022 Dates: 19th November – 2nd January 2023
Location: Poole Town Centre, High Street, and Poole Quay
Times: TBC
More Info

The Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival will feature dazzling illuminations that weave through Poole Town Centre from the Lighthouse to Falkland Square, along the High Street and down to Poole Quay. There’ll also be a Christmas market, festive food and attractions, a spectacular flotilla of lights and much more, so step back in time and celebrate Poole’s maritime history with a modern twist!

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, East Cliff Promenade, Bournemouth, BH1 3AA

Step back in time and discover the magic of a traditional Victorian Christmas at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum. The halls of the historic house are stunningly decorated for Christmas in traditional Victorian style.

Follow the Christmas Trail to find out more about Christmas traditions and collection items linked to this magical time of the year. There’ll also be a magical nutcracker trail for families to enjoy.

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Upton Country Park, Poole Road, Poole BH17 7BJ
More Info

There are lots of great Christmas events going on at Upton Country Park in Dorset this year…

  • Santas’s Woodland Grotto: TBC
  • Festive Arts & Crafts Fair: TBC
  • Wreath Making Workshops: TBC
  • More to be annonced

2022 Dates: 19th – 20th November
Location: The Tank Museum, Bovington, BH20 6JG
More Info

Enjoy a Christmassy day out for all ages at Bovington Tank Museum. Watch live entertainment and buy unique presents from local crafters, plus children can explore our Christmas trail. You can even see Santa arrive in a tank at 11am!

2022 Dates: 25th November – 23rd December
Location: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, DT3 4LA
Timings: TBC
More Info

Head to Abbotsbury, a picturesque village near Weymouth, for the return of ILLUMINATE.  In the run-up to Christmas, Abbotsbury’s stunning Sub-Tropical Gardens will be illuminated after dark for a truly spectacular experience.

2022 Dates: 25th November – 29th December 2022
Location: Nutley Farm, Winfrith Heath, Dorchester DT2 8DT
More Info

This brilliant Christmas event at Nutley Farm in Dorset is returning for a second year, and will be raising funds for the Somerset and Dorset Air Ambulance. Enjoy the festive season under the stars with Nutley Farm’s Christmas Lights and Reindeer Experience…

  • Meet – and get the opportunity to feed – the farm’s friendly reindeer.
  • Wander along the magical illuminated 600m walkway, with glittering archways, twinkling trees and light installations.
  • A new Elf hunt, have fun finding the Elf’s as you enjoy the illuminated walk.
  • Seasonal food, mulled wine & cider, hot chocolate and hot drinks in the festive barn.
  • Santa will be visiting the farm on certain dates!

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Swanage Railway, Railway Station Approach, Swanage BH19 1HB

Swanage Railway’s Steam and Lights was a magical Christmas steam train journey through the Isle of Purbeck countryside. Hopefully, it will return this Christmas – keep an eye on their website for details.

It’s a one-hour evening round trip passing the historic ruins of Corfe Castle, with stations and key points along the line specially lit. The steam locomotive and carriages will be also be covered with brightly coloured lights while the cosy steam-heated carriage interiors will be festively decorated.

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Adventure Wonderland, Christchurch, BH23 6BA
More Info

Adventure Wonderland is a family-friendly theme park on the edge of Bournemouth. This Christmas, they’ll be hosting a magical sequel to 2020’s sell-out special, The Santa Show.

Expect an all-singing, all-dancing stage show featuring Father Christmas and some of his trusted elves!

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Different Venue each night
Times: 6:15pm daily
More Info

Throughout December you can enjoy the “Living Advent Calendar” in Christchurch. A “door” is opened every evening for a different 30-minute performance at a different venue in the town. There’s a variety of local performers including choirs, singers, bands, dance troupes, and theatre.

2022 Dates: 2nd – 4th December and 7th – 24th December
Location: Kingston Lacy, Wimborne BH21 4EA
More Info

Image credit: Sony Music

There are lots of magical Christmas events coming up at Kingston Lacy, one of the most splendid stately homes in Dorset!

During the day, you can visit the traditionally decorated house, with extravagant Christmas trees, garlanded fireplaces, and a dining room set for a fabulous Christmas feast. On the estate grounds, there’s also a festive Winter Wander Trail to explore the beautiful parkland.

Then, after dark, the estate comes alive with an incredible illuminated trail through festive gardens. . Wrap up warm and be transported into a winter wonderland where you will discover sparkling tunnels of light, walk under giant baubles and beneath trees drenched in jewel-like colour, all choreographed to a soundtrack of Christmas classics.

Pause at the mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden and don’t forget to glimpse Father Christmas along the way. Independent street food vendors bring a delicious twist to tasty treats on offer.

2022 Dates: Various dates throughout December
Location: Corfe Castle
More Info

There are lots of festive Christmas events on at Dorset’s iconic Corfe Castle this year…

  • Lord of Misrule Story Telling (see website for dates). “Take a step back to the 17th century where our very own Lord of Misrule will take you on an interactive journey through the ruins of the castle and teach you the games, dances, stories and Christmas traditions of days gone by.”
  • Twelve Days of Christmas family quest (throughout December). Search for the shields hidden in the castle ruins and complete the activities on a special Christmas Castle Quest.
  • Marshmallows, Firepits and Festivities (see website for dates). Gather around a fire pit with a warm drink from the 17th Century tea-room and toast some tasty marshmallows.

READ MORE: Best Castles to Visit in Dorset

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Horton Rd, Ashley Heath, Ringwood BH24 2ET
More Info

A full day of Christmas fun, including children crafts of tree decorations, willow stars and party hats, family festive quiz trail, and performances by the Dorset Youth Marching Band. Don’t forget to wear your favourite Christmas jumper!

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Farmer Palmers Farm Park Ltd, Wareham Road, Organford BH16 6EU
More Info

This year Dorset’s Farmer Palmers say they’re making their Christmas event even better than ever! That means more lights, more elves, and more magic! The farm will be decorated, and there’s a ‘Meet Farmer Christmas Experience’ in the enchanted barn (11th – 23rd December).

There’s also Farmer Palmers Christmas Twilight Event (20th – 23rd December 4:45pm to 7:30pm). With an enchanted barn, photo opportunities, panto dame, elves, lots of fancy dress and, of course, Farmer Christmas himself!

2022 Dates: TBC
Location: Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, BH19 2JL  
More Info

There are always lots of fab Christmas events running at Durlston Country Park on Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck. Last year they had…

  • Rudolph’s Reindeer Roundup! – Santa’s cheeky reindeer are hiding around the park! Can you help find them all?
  • Design Your Own Christmas Seed Bomb
  • The Snowman Live Score with Cabaret of Living Cinema
  • Festive Family Fun Run
  • Christmas Rocket Lanch – Design and build your own Christmas Rocket, then launch it!

2022 Dates: 25th December
Location: Weymouth Harbour
More Info

Every year, the Weymouth & Portland Lions Club host the popular Christmas Day Swim in Weymouth Harbour. That’s right, a pre-Christmas-lunch dip in the chilly waters of Weymouth Harbour to raise money for the Lions Club Charities. Are you brave enough?

Dorset Christmas Lights Switch Ons

Looking for your nearest Christmas Lights Switch-On event in Dorset? There are loads going on across the county, check the list below for dates and locations…

Christmas Tree Wonderland Bournemouth
Christmas lights in Bournemouth

Bournemouth: 18th November, Lower Gardens. It appears there is no specific event planned, but the Christmas Tree Wonderland opens on the 18th.

Poole: TBC

Brewery Square Dorchester: TBC

Weymouth: 26th November, more info nearer the day, New Bond Street.  Live entertainment and a countdown to the switch-on of Weymouth’s Christmas illuminations at 4pm. There’s also a world record attempt for the number of elves in one place at a time, so fancy dress is encouraged! More info.

New Milton: TBC

Moors Valley: TBC

Lyme Regis: TBC

Wimborne: TBC

Ringwood: TBC

Corfe Castle: The village Christmas lights are normally switched on the first weekend of December (more details to follow). More info.

Dorset Christmas Markets

Below, you’ll find a quick list of all the Christmas Markets happening around Dorset this year – in date order.

Need to know more? There’s a full list of Dorset Christmas Markets here, which includes more information like location and pricing details. Save both these posts to help plan your 2022 festive season!

Dorset Christmas Markets
  • Kingston Maurward Christmas Craft and Food Fair, Dorchester, TBC
  • Longthorns Two Day Christmas Market, Wareham TBC
  • Alpine Market at Bournemouth’s Christmas Tree Wonderland, Bournemouth, 18th Nov 2022 – 2nd Jan 2023
  • Festive Arts & Crafts Fair at Upton Country Park, TBC
  • GIFTED at Bridport Arts Centre, Bridport, TBC
  • Highlands End Christmas Makers’ Market, Bridport, TBC
  • Festive Fair Compton Acres, Poole, TBC
  • Step Into Christmas, Sherborne, TBC
  • Littledown Christmas Market, Bournemouth, TBC
  • Inaugural Christmas Market Mapperton, Beaminster, TBC
  • Leweston School Christmas Market, Sherborne, TBC
  • Poole’s Marvellous Market Christmas Special, Poole, TBC
  • Swanage Christmas Market, Swanage, TBC
  • Cerne Abbas Christmas Street Fayre, Cerne Abbas, TBC
  • Poundbury Independent Christmas Market, Dorchester, TBC
  • Nothe Fort Christmas Steampunk Festivities & Market, Weymouth, TBC
  • Symondsbury Estate Christmas Market, Bridport, TBC
  • RSPB Arne Christmas Market, near Wareham, TBC
  • Christmas Steampunk Promenade & Market, Weymouth, TBC
  • Athelhampton Christmas Fair, Puddletown, TBC
  • Handmade Wimborne Christmas, Wimborne, TBC
  • Shire Hall Christmas Market, Dorchester, TBC
  • Dorchester Christmas Cracker, Dorchester TBC
  • Shaftesbury Christmas Fair, Shaftesbury, TBC

Read More

24 Christmas Markets in Dorset

9 Christmas Markets and Events in Bournemouth

Locally Made Foodie Gifts for Dorset Lovers

8 of the Best Dorset Music Festivals

If I’ve missed any fab Dorset Christmas events from this list, please leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to add it. Have a great Christmas everyone!

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