Things to do this Christmas in Dorchester

PUBLISHED: 16:42 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:54 02 January 2018

The ice rink in Brewery Square


From a Hardy Christmas to skating in the square, there is plenty of festive cheer in Dorset’s county town

Skating in the Square

Open from 25 November to New Year’s Eve, the rink in Brewery Square brings a wonderful Christmassy atmosphere to the heart of Dorchester. Alongside the rink, Brewery Square boasts a wide variety of fabulous restaurants and shops so ideal for a spot of Christmas gift hunting after a triple Salchow. Book tickets online at


Christmas at Max Gate - 30 November  – 31 December

Thomas Hardy’s Dorchester house is decked out for a Victorian Christmas. Seasonal performances include: Tuneful Stories (8 Dec) with Tim Laycock; Christmas Performance (16 & 23 Dec) with the New Hardy Players; Music, Stories & Poetry (17 & 21 Dec) with a Hardy theme.


Christmas at Hardy’s Cottage - 1–31 December

Experience the Dorset Christmas of a young Thomas Hardy at his  family’s cottage in Higher Bockhampton. Festive Tuneful Stories by a roaring log fire (2 Dec); Carols at the Cottage (7, 14, 21 Dec); Tranter Dewey’s Christmas Party (20, 21, 23 Dec) carols, folksongs, poetry from Hardy;  Winter Words  (23 Dec) the New Hardy Players perform Thomas Hardy’s favourite wintry words against the backdrop of Thorncombe Woods.


Create a Christmas Lantern Workshop - 3 December

Make your own lantern to carry in the Christmas Cracker Lantern Parade. 10am - 12 noon at Corn Exchange.


Dorchester Christmas Cracker - 7 December

Lights switched on by St Peter’s Church at 6.30pm with Santa and Christmas Lantern parade. Christmas Craft Fair in Corn Exchange and Christmas Market Stalls in South Street from 4pm. Shops open late, you may even find yourself being served by a Christmas fairy or elf!


A Child’s Christmas in Wales - 17 December

The Legeti String Quartet, with Mark Tattersall as narrator, performs this evocative adaptation of Dylan Thomas’s childhood memories. 3pm, Corn Exchange, 01305 266926.


The Christmassy Christmas Show - 20 December

Meet a snowman who lives in the fridge, spot some naughty elves and admire the world’s worst Christmas jumper. 2pm & 4.30pm Corn Exchange, 01305 266926.


My Dorchester Christmas - Dave Cumber of Dave Cumber Vets

I love Christmas lights, wall-to-wall carols and taking the family to choose our Christmas tree from Trinity Street. But as my wife Kate will testify, I’m rubbish at Christmas shopping. If I do go then I drop by my favourite coffee shop – Finca on Great Western Road which has the best coffee (and cakes) in Dorchester. On Christmas Eve it’s a family tradition to have supper at La Caverna on Icen Way; Franco and Ali serve wonderful Italian and Sicilian food.

Christmas Day is spent at home with our dogs Gru and Margot and our four grown-up children, along with extended family. Boxing Day I’m on call taking the emergency phone from 8am, running an emergency morning surgery and dealing with any pets that are hospitalised at the surgery or urgent cases that need veterinary care.

Our Practice Christmas Party is at Nothe Fort in Weymouth and this year has a “Casino Royale” theme so I don’t think my usual Scooby Doo outfit will be suitable for such a glamorous occasion!


Click here to see our full Dorset Christmas guide.

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