There are loads of amazing Dorset festivals and events throughout the year! These are a great way to mix up your time in the county, and learn a little more about the local culture while you’re here.
From food festivals, to art and music events, to quirky traditional folk fairs… there’s something to suit everyone. I’ve rounded up all the Dorset festivals I know of in this guide, but there are probably even more. I’ll keep adding to it every time I learn of a new event, so be sure to check back. I’ll also pop together some more in-depth guides which will come very soon. Enjoy…
Dorset Festivals in January – March
ILLUMINATE at The Blue Pool, near Wareham – January 13th to February 27th 2022. A 1km trail of illuminations and music in the woodlands around the Blue Pool.
Dorset Spring Festivals: April – June
Abbotsbury Food Fair – 2022 dates TBC. A food fair hosted at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, with over 30 stalls showcasing local produce surrounded by the spring colours of the gardens.
RELATED POST: 19 Awesome Food Festivals in Dorset
Quayside Music Festival, Weymouth – 2022 TBC. A much-loved local music festival held at Weymouth Harbour every bank holiday.
Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival – 8th May 2022. Home of the bonkers Gold Hill Cheese Race, where participants race up a very steep hill with a huge (and very heavy) wheel of locally-made cheese!
Sherborne Abbey Festival – 29th April to 6th May 2022. An annual celebration of liturgy and music.
Dorset Knob Throwing Festival, Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester – 1st May 2022 (every two years). It’s not what you think. A Dorset Knob Biscuit is actually a kind of bread roll. The festival exists to see who can throw one the furthest. Although it’s also full of music, entertainment, workshops, and food stalls.
Blandford Georgian Fayre, Blandford Forum – 2022 TBC.
Christchurch Food Festival – 2nd – 5th June 2022. A 3-day event taking over Christchurch in celebration of locally made food and drink.
Wimborne Minster Folk Festival – 10th – 12th June 2022. A celebration of all things folk, with music, dance, and comedy.
Folk on the Quay, Poole – 2022 TBC. Traditional dance, morris dances, and outdoor music stages along Poole’s historic quay.
Beaminster Festival – 25th June – 2nd July 2022. An art festival covering a great range of local and international artists.
Dorset Summer Festivals: July and August
Bourne Free (Bournemouth Pride) – 8th-9th July 2022. Bournemouth’s Pride festival is one of the biggest and most popular in the county.
Cerne Abbas Music Festival – 7th-10th July 2022. Chamber music performed by one of the world’s elite Ensembles in the Village Church.
Jurassic Fields, Bridport – 8th-10th July 2022. A coastal music festival with counting for Girls headlining the Sunday stage this ear and more acts TBC.
Larmer Tree Festival, near Tollard Royal (on the border with Wiltshire) – on hold for 2022. A rich lineup of local, national and international artists covering music, outdoor theatre, live performances, arts, and comedy.
Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, Tolpuddle – 2022 TBC. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were six local farmers who formed a union in 1834, and were arrested and sentenced to seven years of transportation (exile in Australia). Today, they’re celebrated for being among the first to stand up for workers rights.
Laudemus, various locations – 10th-14th August 2022. A ‘festival of choral evensong’; for 5 consecutive evenings, Laudemus perform cathedral-style choral evensong in churches across Dorset.
Camp Bestival, Lulworth – 28th-31st July 2022. A family-friendly music festival in the grounds of Lulworth Castle.
Bournemouth Reggae Weekender, Bournemouth – 29th- 31st July 2022. A celebration of the diverse African-Caribbean culture in the local community and the rich reggae music heritage Great Britain has to offer.
Melplash Agricultural Show, near Bridport – 25th August 2022. One of the South West’s premier agricultural exhibitions.
Great Dorset Steam Fair, near Blandford Forum – 25th-29th August 2022. An enormous country fair showcasing traditional steam engines, as well as workhorses, rural displays, and craft marquees.
September – December Festivals in Dorset
READ MORE: Halloween Events in Dorset
Bournemouth Air Show – 1st-4th September 2022. An enormous air show held annually on Bournemouth Beach. Featuring displays from many RAF and other military planes and vehicles, including the famous Red Arrows.
Bridport Hat Festival – 2022 TBC. It’s “Haturday”! A celebration of all things hat – with music, competitions, and all kinds of inventive headwear!
Dorset County Show, near Dorchester – 3rd-4th September 2022. For over 175 years the Dorchester Agricultural Society has celebrated Dorset’s rural roots with an annual show dedicated to farming, local produce, and country life.
Food Rocks, Lyme Regis – September 2022, exact dates TBC. A food festival with a focus on local seafood, founded by local restaurant owner and celebrity chef, Mark Hix.
Swanage Folk Festival – 9th-11th September 2022. A weekend of concerts, workshops, and traditional dance displays – including morris dancing.
RELATED POST: 17 of the Best Things to do in Swanage
Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival – 10th-11th September 2022. A celebration of cheese, held in the home-town of the famous Dorset Blue Vinney cheese.
Purbeck WALX festival – 16th-18th September 2022. Formerly the Purbeck Nordic Walking Festival, this event offers hundreds of walks to suit all levels in iconic locations along the Jurassic Coast.
Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night – 5th November 2022. There are loads of great bonfire night fireworks displays across Dorset to enjoy.
Enchanted Illuminations at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Abbotsbury – 2022 TBC. The picturesque gardens are spectacularly lit up every October, with everything from floodlights to flickering candles creating a breathtaking atmosphere as you explore.
Christmas and New Years Eve
Christmas Markets – there are loads of fab, festive Christmas markets across Dorset every year.
Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland – November 2022 – January 2023 (exact dates TBC). Bournemouth’s very own winter wonderland, with over 100 glittering trees, a pop-up ice rink, and an alpine Christmas market.
And while you’re in town, here’s a list of all the festive markets and events in Bournemouth for your December calendar!
Christmas Events – Check out my guide to Christmas in Dorset for a full line-up of all events, markets, and lights switch-ons around the county.
Front Live New Years Eve, Weymouth Seafront – 31st December 2022. Weymouth’s New Year’s Eve celebrations have been ranked among the best in Europe. All the bars along the seafront come together, so you buy one ticket for entry to all. The party spills out onto the esplanade, creating an epic street party.
Are there any Dorset Festivals I’ve missed from this list? Scroll down to leave a comment, or get in touch on social media!