Christmas shopping and lights in Dorset

PUBLISHED: 11:27 28 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:55 02 January 2018

Santa will be arriving back tank at Bovington! (Photo by


You’re sure to encounter plenty of Dorset’s festive spirit at these local events – you may even bump into Santa!


Symondsbury Estate Christmas Market - 2 December

This wonderful festive market, at Manor Yard just outside Bridport, includes stalls selling local crafts, food, drinks, and Christmas gifts. Also in attendance will be Christmas donkeys and there’s a children’s story-telling area. Runs 10am-6pm.

Christmas Cheer - 6 December

Late night shopping with over 30 stalls including local market traders, food producers and street food lining West, East and South Street. Plus Craft Fairs in Bridport Town Hall and at Bridport Arts Centre where Santa has set up his Grotto. Run 4 – 8pm.




Christmas Festival - 25 November

Christmas Market in High Street, live entertainment throughout the day in Saxon Square and other locations in town. Christmas Crafts Fair at Christchurch Priory (10am – 6.30pm). Father Christmas Procession starts at 4.30pm from High Street to his Grotto in Saxon Square. Switch on at 6pm from the Mayor’s Parlour.




Winter Art Fair - 24 November - 13 December

Festive artwork by members of Town Mill Arts including enticing gifts such as paintings, sculptures, drawings, pottery, textiles, jewellery and books.

Pop up Vintage Shop - 1 December  – 2 January

Jan Calow and Mandy Wiscombe spend all year sourcing, making, repairing, cleaning and renovating the stock sold at this pop up shop at the Town Mill Gallery.

Switch on Saturday - 2 December

Lantern Work shop in Baptist Church Hall from 3pm, followed by Lantern Parade led by Father Christmas. Lights Switch On in Broad Street by Mayor at 5.30pm.

Christmas Tree Festival - 15-17 December

The Baptist Church in Broad Street hosts a dazzling display of trees.

Carols Around the Tree - 23 December

Mince pies, mulled wine and carols around the town’s Christmas tree at 7pm.




Broadstone Christmas Parade - 2 December

Christmas-themed floats feature in this parade led by Father Christmas, from11am. More at




Gillingham Christmas Lights & Market - 1 December

Parade starts at 6.30pm from Town Hall Also Christmas Market (from 2pm), live music, street food and children’s rides.

Shaftesbury Christmas Spectacular - 4 December

Shopping and live entertainment 2pm - 9pm, including Craft Fair and Festive Street market. Gold Hill illuminations, community and school choirs singing carols, at 6pm the Town Band accompanies Santa from the Football Club to his Town Hall grotto.

Christmas Street Fair - 17 December

This massive market at Shaftesbury is probably one of the biggest and busiest in Dorset with stalls filling the streets from one end of town to the other. Runs 10am – 3pm.




Crafts at the Exchange - 2 December

Indoor monthly art and crafts fair featuring up to 30 plus local artists and crafters offering everything from glassware to woodwork, furnishings to jewellery.

Christmas Producers Market & Lights - 2 December

Local and regional food producers feature at this outdoor market, carol singers and Father Christmas in his Grotto. Christmas Lights switched on at 5pm.




Switch on Swanage - 2 December

Christmas lights switch-on and live music at Swanage Station. The switch is flicked at 4.30 pm.

Purbeck Christmas Tree Festival - 7-9 December

Emmanuel Baptist Church on Victoria Avenue will be home to around 50 sparkling trees at this magical festival which provides a showcase for local charities and businesses from all over Purbeck, as well as telling the Christmas story through music, singing, acting and story-telling.

Christmas Market - 9 December

Annual festive themed market in Station Road with numerous stalls, rides and attractions.




Vintage Christmas Festival - 2-3 December

Watch Father Christmas arrive by tank at The Tank Museum, Bovington at 10.30am then browse the 50 or so stalls at the extensive indoor vintage market. Runs 10am – 5pm

Christmas Celebration - 10 December

Christmas Parade starts at 4pm when Father Christmas arrives in his gold boots on the roof of the Red Lion before retiring to his Grotto in the town hall.




Christmas Wreaths - 10 December

Two-hour wreath making workshop (10am & 2pm) at Upton House, Poole. Booking 01202 262753.

Christmas Wreaths - 17 & 21 December

Florist Rachel Dunn shows you how to create a festive wreath at Loders Village Hall 2 – 4pm. Also 21 Dec: at Boarsbarrow Gifts & Crafts Studio, Loders. Booking essential 01308 456958.

A Handmade Christmas at Kingcombe

• 24 Nov: Christmas Card Print Workshop - Design your own card with Annabel Wilson. 10am – 4pm.

• 25 Nov: Festive Willow - Create stars, garlands and Christmas decorations with Richard Kerwood 9.30am – 4pm

• 26 Nov: Festive Felt - Make felt decorations including robins, baubles and puddings with Carla Taylor 10am – 4.30pm

Booking essential for all events on 01300 320684 or


Click here to see our full Dorset Christmas guide.

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