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
Update April 2023: This post has been updated with the latest dates.
Dorset Food Festivals: January – April
Dates: 3rd-4th February 2023
Location: The Corn Exchange, Dorchester High East Street, Dorchester
Tickets: £10 (includes your first pint and a pint glass)
This year will be the 34th Dorchester Beerex – a beer festival that has raised over £200K for charitable causes to date! Last year’s event had 80 real ales and 21 ciders/perries, with food available at all sessions and live music during the Friday and Saturday evening sessions. Expect this year’s to be similar – more details to be shared soon.
Lyme Regis Beer Festival
Location: Marine Theatre, Church St, Lyme Regis DT7 3QA
Tickets from: TBC
Head to the seaside for the Lyme Regis Beer Festival, which usually kicks off the season of Dorset food festivals. Normally healed across the Easter Weekend, the Marine Theatre plays host to a great lineup of local beers – as well as musical talent!
There are dozens of 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
Dates: 8th April 2023
Location: Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Buller’s Way, Abbotsbury, Weymouth DT3 4LA
Tickets from: £7.50 (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 FOOD FESTIVALS IN MAY
Dorset Knob Throwing Festival
Dates: Runs every 2 years – next event is May 2024
Location: Old School House, Cattistock, Dorchester DT2 0JH
Tickets from: TBC
No one, old or young, seems able to resist a snigger at the name of the infamous Dorset Knob Throwing Festival. 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
Dates: 7th May 2023
Location: High Street, Shaftesbury
This excellent Dorset food festival is held in the beautiful village of Shaftesbury. Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival will have around 100 stalls, demonstrations from both local and well known chefs and many street entertainers
The centre point 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!
READ MORE: 11 of the Prettiest Villages in Dorset
Christchurch Cheese & Chilli Festival
Dates: 20th-21st May 2023
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!
BeCider Seaside 16
Dates: 26th-29th May 2023
Location: Bredy Farm, Bredy Ln, Burton Bradstock, Bridport DT6 4ND
Tickets from: £85 for the weekend, £30 for day tickets
Looking for a proper, overnight festival, complete with camping? Bredy Farm have been organising the SouthCider Festival for the last few years – a music and cider festival combo – which has now transformed into the BeCider Seaside Festival on the May and August bank holidays. You can come for the day, or bring a tent and camp for the weekend to really make the most of it!
The event itself is a celebration of local cider, food and drink, and music, 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.
Christchurch Food Festival
Dates: 27th – 29th May 2023
Location: High Street, Christchurch
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. It’s free to attend and packed with stalls from local food and drink suppliers.
DORSET FOOD FESTIVALS IN JUNE
Poole Seafood Festival
Dates: 2nd – 4th June 2023
Location: Poole Quay
Held across Jubilee Weekend this year on Poole’s historic quay, the Poole Seafood Festival is Dorset’s only free seafood festival. This is three days celebrating the best in local seafood, produce as well as plenty of live music all weekend!
READ MORE: Things to do in Poole
Swanage Fish Festival
Dates: 17th-18th June 2023
Location: Prince Albert Gardens, Swanage, BH19 2AR
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
Dates: 10th-11th June 2023
Location: Highcliffe High Street (Lymington Road)
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
Dates: 11th-24th June 2023
Location: Askers Meadow, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 4SB
Tickets from: £3.50 adults
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
Dates: 17th June 2023
Location: Hall & Woodhouse Brewery, Blandford St Mary, Blandford Forum DT11 9LS
Tickets from: £10 (includes glass, programme and 1 pint)
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.
JULY FOODIE EVENTS
Weymouth Food Festival
Dates: 29th-30th July 2023
Location: Lodmoor Country Park, Preston Beach road, Weymouth, DT4 7SX
Tickets from: £5 adults, £2 children
The Weymouth Food Festival was a popular new addition to the Dorset food festivals calendar a few years ago, and it’s still going strong! The two-day event sees over 60 food, drink, arts and retail craft stalls to explore, as well as a hot food court.
On top of that, the festival has tons of great entertainment lined up, including a live music stage, dog talent show, bubble party, cooking demonstrations, a chilli-eating competition, and a children’s fun fair.
READ MORE: A Local’s Guide to Weymouth Dorset
Great Dorset Chilli Festival
Dates: 5th & 6th August 2023
Location: Stock Gaylard Estate, Sturminster Newton, DT10 2BG
Tickets from: £7 adults (when booked in advance)
The Great Dorset Chilli Festival has everything a chilli enthusiast could want! Expect stalls selling everything from sauces and chilli jams to chilli fudge and chilli cider.
It’s not just chilli, though! Now in its 12th year, this is a top-notch food festival with stalls covering charcuterie, cheese, gin, ceramics, ice cream, jewellery, brownies, olive oils, dressings and more.
There are also bands, buskers, mariachi, chilli-eating competitions, falconry, beer tent, cider tent, gin bar, street food, cooking demonstrations, bouncy castles, and more!
Dorchester Cider Festival
Dates: 19th August 2023
Location: The Borough Gardens, Dorchester, DT1 1RG
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!
READ MORE: 20 of the Best Places to Eat in Dorchester
Upton House Food and Music Festival
Dates: 11th-13th August 2023
Location: Upton Country Park, near Poole
Tickets from: £3 per adult
During the August Bank Holiday, Upton Country Park in picturesque Poole will host its fantastic Food and Music Festival again this summer. Expect a gastronomic weekend packed with interactive experiences, food stalls, and live music.
Situated on the front lawn, with the stunning backdrop of this grand Grade II listed Georgian House, the festival will be an opportunity to celebrate delicious regional and national produce from a diverse selection of stallholders with plenty of entertainment for all the family.
BeCider Seaside 17
Dates: 25th-28th August 2023
Location: Bredy Farm, Bredy Ln, Burton Bradstock, Bridport DT6 4ND
Tickets from: £85 for the weekend, £30 for day tickets
BeCider Seaside 17 is the follow up to the May bank holiday festival, held across the August bank holiday weekend in Burton Bradstock. This is a celebration of Dorset food, drink, and cider – as well as music, 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. You can come for the day, or bring a tent and camp for the weekend to really make the most of it!
SEPTEMBER DORSET FOOD FESTIVALS
HIX Oyster Celebration
Location: The Oyster & Fish House, Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3JP
Tickets: Free. Food and drink tokens will be available to purchase on the day, with oysters from £1 each.
Mark Hix MBE will kick off the beginning of the native oyster season with the official HIX Oyster Celebration, an all-day event honouring the life and times of the oyster on the Deck of The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis.
Mark and his guests will host a series of talks and tastings exploring the heritage of the great British mollusc. Guests will discover oysters from around the South West of England and enjoy them paired with an array of local drinks. In addition to the oyster extravaganza, Sally’s Fish Camp will serve up a short menu of her favourite shellfish dishes throughout the day.
SEAFEAST Dorset Seafood Festival
Dates: 9th & 10th September 2023
Location: Weymouth Harbour, Weymouth DT4 8BG
Tickets from: £10 (kids free)
The annual 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.
There’s usually plenty of fizz flowing alongside the delicious food. 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.
Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival
Dates: 9th-10th September 2023
Location: Sturminster Newton Recreation Ground, Sturminster Newton, DT10 1BY
Tickets from: £7
The Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival is a must for cheese lovers! It’s held in the hometown 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, 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!