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Well the summer holidays are finally here so it’s time to pack up the camper or caravan, kids and the dog and head off on your travels. If you are looking for a relaxing few days by the sea or fancy a little bit more excitement whilst you are on holiday there are some great activities taking place that are not too far from one of our Dorset Best of British Holiday Park.
If you are heading to Dorset for your summer camping holidays or touring caravan sites here a few ideas to have a look at:-
Date – 23 Jul 2016 – 30 Jul 2016
Lyme Regis celebrates the amazing contribution that the Lifeboat service makes with their annual Lifeboat Week. The week is packed full of fun with activities taking place every day including Teddy Bears Picnic, Pavement Art and Swimming in the Bay. There will be lots displays, music evenings, fireworks, RAF Displays and of course the annual Duck race. Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week is certainly not to be missed.
More information on their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/LymeRegisLifeboatWeek/
Those of us of a certain age will definitely remember the Hovis television advert that featured a young boy pushing his bike up a very steep hill. However, contrary to popular belief, the picturesque cobbled hill that featured in the 1970s advert is not in Yorkshire but actually in Shaftesbury, Dorset.
North Dorset features some breath-taking countryside and this famous street makes a great backdrop for a ‘selfie’ or Instagram pic – just try resisting the urge to hum the Hovis theme tune whilst you walk down the hill ;0).
Take a drive along the Jurassic Coast and you might just find yourself on a film or TV set. This week sees the whole of Weymouth Quay being closed off to traffic as they transform the town in to a World War II backdrop for the blockbuster movie – Dunkirk. Keep your eyes peeled for One Direction’s Harry Styles and other leading actors Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh.
Or why not head west for a few miles and take a tour around West Bay – the TV location for the crime drama Broadchurch. Follow the footsteps of David Tennant and Olivia Colman around the town and local beaches. Keep it to yourself – but they have been filming series 3 for the last few weeks – so you might even catch a glimpse of series 3 being filmed!
Date – Every Thursday during the summer
Summer Breeze on the Quay takes place on Thursdays in July (21st & 28th) and August (every Thursday) on Poole Quay from 7pm. There will be live music, street entertainment and lots of activities for all the family. Look out for special themed nights and a spectacular fireworks finale at 10 pm.
If you are camping close to Bournemouth and Poole and fancy a bit of real excitement – why not take a thrilling zip wire ride from the end of Bournemouth Pier. Climb the Zip tower at the end of the pier then zip over the sea back to the beach. On holiday with a friend – why not race them back to the award winning beach with a dual line ride.
More details: – http://www.rockreef.co.uk/pier/
Date – 29 – 31st July 2016
The pirates will be taking over Swanage this July with the first ever Purbeck Pirate Festival. Running from the 29th to the 31st July 2016 the swash-buckling festival has a fantastic programme lined up, including re-enactment battles, sword-fighting and cannon fire; Shanty singers ‘The Salts,’ ‘Kelp!’ and the ‘Wareham Whalers’.
For the grown-ups there is the Pirate Rum Tent, and the UK’s leading Jack Sparrow impersonator will be making an appearance.
Date – 28th – 31st July 2016
Dorset’s largest music festival kicks off this weekend with Camp Bestival 2016 once again taking place in the beautiful grounds of Lulworth Castle. The line-up this year will surely make the Jurassic Coast venue rock – with Fat Boy Slim, KT Tunstall, Squeeze and X-Factor finalists Reggie N Bollie.
More details: – http://www.campbestival.net/
Date – 30th July – 1st August 2016
Swanage Carnival and Regatta is a week of events that takes in a full programme from Saturday 30th July all the way until Saturday 1st August. A great family event, the procession is spectacular and there is a fabulous fireworks on both Saturdays and the middle Wednesday.
Visit the Carnival website http://www.swanagecarnival.com for more details.
The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site stretches from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, a distance of 96 miles – with plenty of places to stop and explore enroute.
Take in the spectacular views of Durdle Door, Old Harry Rocks, Lulworth Cove, Kimmeridge, The Fleet and Golden Cap, whilst exploring the coastal towns along the way.
The B3157 Jurassic Coast Road follows the line of Chesil Bank and Fleet Lagoon from Weymouth to Bridport providing 18miles of breath-taking views over countryside and coast. It’s one of the most strikingly scenic coastal roads in Britain.
If you don’t drive, take the X53 Jurassic Coaster Bus which follows the route but make sure you grab a spot on the top deck.
More info: http://jurassiccoast.org/
Every Tuesday from April to September
Grab your helmet and your leathers – as up to 2000 bike enthusiasts roar into town every Tuesday night from April until the end of September, turning Poole Quay into a fabulous bike show. Join enthusiasts and spectators for a great atmosphere.
Take part with £1 per bike on the night or season ticket available to purchase from Poole Tourist.
Date – Saturday 6th August 2016
Poundbury near Dorchester plays host to the sixth Dorset Food & Arts Festival in the very grand Queen Mothers Square.
This free event offers a taste of what Dorset has to offer, in food, in drink, in the creative arts and in music. There will be 50-plus stalls showcasing local food and drink, including the regular Poundbury Dorset Farmers Market stallholders, music by local singers and groups all day and demonstrations by food experts and chefs. Opening the chef’s demonstration kitchen this year will be TV celebrity chef Lesley Waters.
More info – http://www.dorsetfestival.org/
Date – 6th – 14th August 2016
The Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival Week, run during the second week in August and is one of the biggest fundraising events for the town. Throughout the week there will be fireworks, carnival procession, regatta races, activities and events for all ages.
The famous Lyme Regis Duck Race takes place on Sunday 14th August which is a great event for kids of all ages to take part in.
More info – http://lymeregiscarnival.co.uk
Date – 13th – 14th August 2016
The Christchurch Carnival is over a hundred years old and is a celebration of fun for the whole family.
The carnival procession leaves the Civic Offices at 2pm and travels along Bridge Street, along the High Street, down Sopers Lane, into St Margarets Avenue and ends up on the Quay where there will be a display of VW Campervans and Birds of Prey for people to enjoy as well as being able to have a closer look at the arrival floats.
Date – 16th – 17th August 2016
Weymouth Carnival has taken place in Weymouth for over 50 years in order to raise funds for local charities and good causes. This year the carnival is being held over two days so that means double the fun!
Promising to be bigger than ever, floats, walking entertainers and, of course the Carnival Queen will wow thousands of spectators all along Weymouth Esplanade.
On Tuesday 16th the Weymouth Carnival will be running an evening torchlight procession inviting the public to light a torch in what will be a moving tribute to absent loved ones.
Both The Red Arrows and The Battle of Britain planes will be taking to the skies of Weymouth & Portland – with the promise of breath-taking displays.
But the excitement doesn’t stop there; there will be lots of family orientated fun such as stalls, fairground rides, games, performances, music, food and much, much more. The evening the Carnival procession which includes the Weymouth and Portland Bikers and stunt riders to warm up the crowds before the procession. The evening will be topped off with fireworks from Weymouth Bay at 21.30 hours.
Date – 18th – 21st August 2016
If you haven’t seen this event before – you are in for a big surprise. Stand on the cliffs and watch the planes perform their amazing aerobatics over the sea.
Bournemouth Air Festival was officially voted the best Tourism Event in the country by Visit England and has welcomed over 7 million people to Bournemouth since it launched in 2008.
Expect to see displays from the awesome RAF Red Arrows and the mighty Typhoon, SallyB and The Blades, to name but a few, supported with a multitude of land, sea and air Royal Navy assets, Pier-to-Pier county show trading stalls and Wave105 staging three nights of music, including a ‘proms on the beach’ style concert, the best chart acts and a celebration of dance music.
The Red Arrows will be performing at the festival and visitors can see the breath-taking team in action at the set time of 1545 (3.45pm) on all four days.
More info – http://bournemouthair.co.uk/
Please note all event dates are provisional and subject to change
Date – 20th August 2016 – 15:00 – 22:00
A FREE family friendly event in Borough Gardens. 20th August 15:00 to 22:00.
The Cider Village is back with this free family event in Borough Gardens in the heart of Dorchester. There will be a huge selection of real cider producers selling their finest drinks, delicious hot and cold food including hog roast, a game BBD, wood fired pizza as well as entertainment for the kids.
There will be non-stop live music from five top local and guest bands and don't worry, there will also be soft drinks, Beer, Lager, Perry, Pimms and Prosecco for the non cider drinkers.
Date – 20th Aug 2016
Bridport Carnival is a must-see event and a highlight of the town's calendar!
The fun packed extravaganza includes a grand procession held on the third Saturday in August each year and features plenty of floats and colourful walking entries. The carnival procession starts at 7pm from West Road.
The traditional Sunday evening torchlight parade from Bridport to West Bay, which creates a superb end to the celebrations with the awesome spectacle of 1,500 blazing torches being carried by families as they snake their way to the seaside for a celebration with live music and fireworks. The torchlight procession sets off at 9pm from South Street (torches will be on sale from 6:30pm outside the Town Hall)
Date – Thursday 25th August 2016
The Melplash Agricultural Show 2016 is due to take place at the Showground, West Bay, Bridport on Thursday 25th August. It is one of the largest one day agricultural shows in the area and the only one held by the sea.
Having not lost its traditional roots, it still remains today a showcase and celebration for local farmers, producers, growers and craftsmen in the area. Around 20,000 people are expected this year where you will find everything from farm animals to terrier and ferret racing, falconry, a fabulous Food Hall and Cookery Theatre.
In the main ring you can watch in awe as the motorcycles and quad bikes show off their amazing stunts. They will be joined by the magnificent parade of winning animals, huntsmen and their hounds and beagles, and show jumping.
More info – https://www.melplashshow.co.uk/
Date – 25th – 28th August 2016
The Purbeck Valley Folk Festival is a small festival set on a farm on the beautiful Jurassic Coastline. If you are looking for something that the kids and oldies will love alike – then this is the festival for you.
Headlining this year are the Proclaimers but also expect to see some of the usual Purbeck folk faces at the lunchtime song sessions, a new talent stage, Poetry Slam, children’s area (crafts, storytelling, puppet shows, theatre/games, cinema), youth music workshops, crochet, bunting and knotting workshops, meditation area, and lots, lots more.
Date – 25th – 29th August 2016
If you are looking for an excellent fun and action packed day out for all the family, you'll love the Great Dorset Steam Fair. This traditional English fair is held at the village of Tarrant Hinton, near Blandford Forum and you will be amazed at the variety of exhibitions and the sheer scale of the show when you first arrive.
You can watch steaming giants of the past being put through their paces; or head over to the old time steam driven funfair. Over 50 showmen's engines with their gleaming twisted brass can be seen generating the light and power for the old carousels and swing boats to operate. This makes for a fascinating spectacle especially at night where the venue transforms into a magical, electric city.
You will also find lots of different vehicles taking part in the show cavalcade including – Vintage, veteran and classic cars, lorries, military vehicles, tractors, motorcycles and bikes. Country crafts from thatchers to cider makers and memorabilia collections of all kinds are also well represented. Plus you won’t be short of some therapeutic shopping opportunities with over 500 trade stands providing an endless variety of goods to purchase.
More info and tickets – http://www.gdsf.co.uk/
Date – 3rd – 4th September 2016
Love tractors, farm animals or the odd tipple of local cider – then you will love the Dorset County Show. Taking place over the first weekend of September just on the outskirts of Dorchester this annual must-see event follows centuries of rural tradition that sees farming communities come together to exhibit the best of their produce and labours.
Like many other country shows, Dorset’s County show is built around a core of traditional competitions and events. Farmers from near and far bring their animals and crops to compete against “rivals” old and new to see whose is the best. Or at least whose impress the judges most on the day!
The show’s biggest events will be held in the main ring. In this area, expect to see the White Helmets Motorcycle Team performing full-throttle, daredevil stunts.
In addition to this, there will also be a variety of show jumping events and vintage tractors.
This year the Red Devils will be dropping in (quite literally) to the Show. The team will be performing a spectacular display above the Main Ring on both Show days.
Other events planned for the show include live cookery demonstrations, sheep shearing, cattle competitions and fishing demos.
More information and tickets – http://www.dorset-county-show.co.uk/
Need a place to stay nearby? View a list of Best of British Dorset Holiday Parks