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food and drink dorset england

There are loads of amazing Dorset food festivals throughout the year! Beer festivals, cheese festivals, even the infamous Dorset Knob Throwing Festival… there’s plenty to keep you busy! These events are always my favourite way to delve into the local culture (and flavours) of the county.

With loads of amazing local produce – from seafood to cheeses to awesome beers and ciders – Dorset has a lot of good stuff to celebrate. Which is probably why we have so many festivals and fairs focused solely on food. Some are more general, while others focus on a very specific food type. Keep scrolling to see this year’s lineup of awesome foodie events for your calendar…


RELATED POST: 30 Dorset Festivals – Dates for your Diary


Dorset Festivals Guide
Blue Vinny cheese and Dorset Knob Biscuits – staples at all our food festivals!

Lyme Regis Beer Festival

2020 Dates: 10th-11th April

Location: Marine Theatre, Church St, Lyme Regis DT7 3QA

Tickets from: £5

Head to the seaside for the Lyme Regis Beer Festival, which kicks off the season of Dorset food festivals. Across the Easter Weekend, the Marine Theatre plays host to a great lineup of local beers – as well as musical talent! This year there are over 20 cask ales and kegged beers on offer, all of them locally produced in Dorset, Devon and Somerset. Line your stomach with some of the excellent local street food and sip your way through as many of the beers as you fancy. All whilst listening to an eclectic mix of music ranging from Irish, to reggae, to sea shanties – even a brass band!

RELATED POST: 21 Things to do in Lyme Regis

Abbotsbury Food Fair

2020 Dates: 11th April

Location: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, Weymouth DT3 4LA

Tickets from: £5 (includes entry to the Subtropical Gardens which is normally £12.50)

The Abbotsbury Food Fair is in one of the more unique settings on this list, hosted within the grounds of the stunning Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens. It’s run in conjunction with Dorset Food & Drink, so you know you’re in for a real foodie treat. Surrounded by the spring foliage and dazzling blossoms of the gardens, you can explore over 30 stalls of local produce.

RELATED POST: 8 Dorset Vineyards to Visit for Tours and Tastings


Dorset Knob Throwing Festival

2021 Dates: 2nd May. This festival is now held every two years.

Location: Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester DT2 8PY

Tickets from: £5

No one, old or young, seems able to resist a snigger at the name of the infamous Dorset Knob Throwing Festival, held in the grounds Kingston Maurward College. Although the name lends itself to all kinds of puns and childish giggling, a Dorset Knob Biscuit is actually a kind of bread roll produced by the local Moore’s Biscuit company. Knob Throwing is the highlight of the festival – anyone can enter and attempt to break the 29.4m record set by Gent Dave Phillips in 2012. But you’ll also find food stalls brimming with local produce, music, entertainment, and workshops such as knob painting (not even joking!). There’s even a Knob Eating Challenge. I promise I’m not making this up!

READ MORE: 25 of the Best Things to do in Dorchester

Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival

pretty village in dorset
Gold Hill in Shaftesbury

2020 Dates: 3rd May

Location: High Street, Shaftesbury

Tickets from: Free

This excellent Dorset food festival is held in the beautiful village of Shaftesbury. The centre point of the Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival is the slightly bonkers tradition of the Gold Hill Cheese Run. Participants must carry (or roll) a wheel of locally-made cheese up the famously picturesque (and very steep) Gold Hill. The cheeses can be up to 35cm (14″) in diameter, so they are pretty hefty. Which makes them incredibly awkward to get up a hill!

Christchurch Food Festival

2020 Dates: 8th-10th May

Location: High Street, Christchurch

Tickets from: Free

Christchurch Food Festival is one of my personal favourites. This 3-day event takes over the centre of Christchurch to celebrate locally made food and drink. In 2020 the festival coincides with the 75th anniversary VE Day, so there are some extra-special events this year. Including a display from the Red Devil Parachute Display to open the show!

Spring Tide Food Festival Dorset

2020 Dates: 16th and 17th May

Location: Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock (next to Burton Beach National Trust Car Park)

Tickets from: £2.50

Another of my favourite foodie events, the Spring Tide Food Festival at Burton Bradstock takes place overlooking the beautiful Hive Beach. My top tip would be to park in neighbouring West Bexington and walk the coastal path along the beach, then up and over the cliffs, to get to Burton Bradstock. It’s a lovely walk and a great way to work up an appetite. The festival itself is another celebration of local produce. It’s quite small, but there’s a great selection of food and drink – and the atmosphere is always fantastic.

READ MORE: 11 of the Prettiest Villages in Dorset

Mudeford Seafood Festival

2020 Dates: 23rd-25th May

Location: Mudeford Quay, Christchurch, BH23 3NT

Tickets from: Free

Dorset is famous for its stunning coast, so it makes sense that we can boast some seriously top-quality seafood. The Mudeford Seafood Festival is an awesome three-day event which truly makes the most of our amazing seafood scene. Featuring live demos, local musicians, and an old-school funfair, as well as over 60 stallholders serving up locally sourced food and drink, this event is a must for foodies.


Dorset food festivals

Christchurch Cheese & Chilli Festival

2020 Dates: 6th-7th June 2020

Location: next to Bournemouth Airport, Hurn, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6AD

Tickets from: £4.24

According to the website, the Cheese and Chilli Festival is “the only show in the UK which celebrates both Cheese and Chilli within a family festival setting”. It tours several locations throughout the country but kicks the season off right here in Dorset. There are 70-100 traders at each show, as well as rides and family-friendly entertainment. Of course, chilli and cheese are front and centre of the event. There’s a chilli sauce competition, a chilli eating competition – even a “man vs food” challenge!

Swanage Fish Festival

2020 Dates: 12th-14th June

Location: Prince Albert Gardens, Swanage, BH19 2AR

Tickets from: Free

Back to the seafood again now with the Swanage Fish Festival. This annual event is a tribute to the town’s long-running heritage of fishing and the sea. It’s held in the Prince Albert Gardens, overlooking the beautiful bay. There are lots of stalls offering a huge array of fish, including both locally sourced and more exotic fare. Whether you’re after a classic fish n’ chips, or champagne and oysters, there’s something for every seafood lover!

RELATED POST: 17 of the Best Things to do in Swanage

Highcliffe Food & Arts Festival

2020 Dates: 13th-14th June

Location: Highcliffe High Street (Lymington Road) AND the Recreation Ground, Highcliffe, Christchurch BH23 5DZ

Tickets from: Free

The Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival is a two-day event focusing on both local and regional food, drink, and art. With arts and crafts on sale, as well as plenty of musical and other entertainment, this is a brilliant way to enjoy the local culture. And, of course, there’s plenty of great food too! Expect celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, and a huge array of stalls selling products from local food producers and independent restaurants and retailers.

Bridport Food Festival

2020 Dates: 14th-20th June

Location: Askers Meadow, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 4SB

Tickets from: £3.50

A week-long event promoting local food and drink, as well as healthy, sustainable eating, The Bridport Food Festival is full of local flavours and produce. With cookery demonstrations, baking competitions, and a beer festival, there’s plenty to excite the senses. There’s also a children’s marquee packed with free hands-on cooking and play sessions. So this event is perfect for families.

Dorset Beer Festival

2020 Dates: 20th June

Location: Hall & Woodhouse Brewery, Blandford St Mary, Blandford Forum DT11 9LS

Tickets from: £10 (includes glass/mug, programme and 6 drinks tokens)

Another exceptional beer festival is the Hall & Woodhouse Beer Festival. It’s run by one of the most popular breweries in Dorset – the producers of Badger Beers – at their brewery in Blandford Forum. Expect hot food, live music, entertainment, and – of course – a great lineup of real ales, ciders, and perries. It’s a great community event showcasing one of my favourite local producers.


2020 Dates: 27th June

Location: The Great Field Poundbury, 1 Peverell Ave E, Dorchester, DT1 3RH

Tickets from: Free

Another very specific Dorset food festival, now. BeeFest is a free event in Poundbury which is all about – you guessed it – bees! The aim of the day is to raise awareness about those industrious hive dwellers, and about the current plight of the British bee. Numbers have taken a significant hit in recent years, so the festival says it’s “critical that we take up the cause to ensure that bees can continue to play their crucial role in our ecosystem”. The event looks set to be a lot of fun, too, with stallholders, beekeepers, crafts, and a bee bbq!


SouthCider Festival

2020 Dates: 3rd-6th July

Location: Bredy Farm, Bredy Ln, Burton Bradstock, Bridport DT6 4ND

Tickets from: £15

Looking for a proper, overnight festival, complete with camping? The SouthCider Festival offers exactly that. You can come for the day, or bring a tent and camp for the weekend to really make the most of it! They even offer a glamping package, staying in luxurious bell tents! The event itself is a celebration of local cider, held on a family-run farm nestled in the rolling hills of West Dorset. There’s a packed lineup of music, featuring local favourites as well as talent from around the world.

Dorset Seafood Festival

2020 Dates: 11th-12th July

Location: Weymouth Harbour, Weymouth DT4 8BG

Tickets from: Free

The annual Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival on Weymouth Harbour is my FAVOURITE Dorset food festival event. In fact, it’s one of my favourite events of the year! The festival is a celebration of local seafood – as well as lots of other incredible produce from around Dorset. It’s hosted by Nyetimber champagne, so there’s plenty of fizz flowing. Don’t miss the chance to have champagne and oysters on the harbourside overlooking the masts of yachts and fishing vessels. Stalls from local suppliers and independent restaurants line both sides of the harbour, while two stages offer live shows and cooking demos.

READ MORE: A Local’s Guide to Weymouth Dorset


Great Dorset Chilli Festival

2020 Dates: 1st-2nd August

Location: St Giles House, Wimborne St Giles, BH21 5ND

Tickets from: £6.50 (when bought online)

Who’d have thought we could have two chilli festivals in one year? The Dorset Naga used to be considered the hottest chilli in the world, and put our county firmly on the map for spice lovers. Inspired by that, the Great Dorset Chilli Festival has everything a chilli enthusiast could want! Expect stalls selling everything from pepper plants to condiments, as well as cooking demos, talks, music, and plenty of spicy street food stalls. There’s also a “sauce off”: a competition with entries from all over the country!

Dorchester Cider Festival

2020 Dates: 15th August

Location: The Borough Gardens, Dorchester, DT1 1RG

Tickets from: Free

Held in the Victorian Park of the Borough Gardens, The Dorchester Cider Festival features over 75 ciders from local and national suppliers. There’s also hot and cold food, live music from local artists, and entertainment to keep the kids occupied as you sample your way through some of the best ciders in Britain!


Food Rocks

2020 Dates: 5th-6th September

Location:  Marine Parade, Lyme Regis, DT7 3JH

Tickets from: Free

The Lyme Regis Food Rocks festival was founded by local restaurant owner and celebrity chef, Mark Hix. The aim was to showcase the South West’s incredible produce, and to promote local, seasonal and sustainable eating. All money raised is donated to the RNLI and the Fishermen’s Mission – last year they raised over £11,000! The programme is packed with cooking demos, food and drink stalls, and supper clubs. These last are special ticketed events with multi-course tasting menus designed to really make the most of the region’s spectacular produce!

Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival

2020 Dates: 12th-13th September

Location: Sturminster Newton Recreation Ground, Sturminster Newton, DT10 1BY

Tickets from: £

Last, but by no means least, is another super-specific foodie event. The Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival is a must for cheese lovers! It’s held in the home-town of the famous Dorset Blue Vinney cheese, so this is a real celebration of local and regional cheeses. It’s a huge event with demos, music and entertainment, and street food – as well as heaps of stalls piled high with incredible local cheeses and cheese related products. With 25 cheese producers in attendance this year, you’ll have no shortage of things to try. It’s not just cheese these days, though. There are also dozens of local food suppliers, serving up everything from my favourite Dorset Conker Gin to local shellfish!

Are there any Dorset food festivals I’ve missed from this round-up? Scroll down to leave a comment and let me know!

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