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Events and things to do across Hampshire and Dorset this summer

PUBLISHED: 16:10 15 April 2014 | UPDATED: 16:10 15 April 2014

Tank Fest returns for 2014

Tank Fest returns for 2014


From the summer 2014 edition of Destination South - our pick of the best events taking place over the summer in Dorset and Hampshire


5-24 April - Easter Egg-stravaganza

Take the family for an Easter treat at Beaulieu Motor Museum. Ride on the Monorail, see the sights from the open-topped London Bus and get behind the wheel on the Mini Car Driving Circuit. Don’t forget to join the Hare-Brained Easter Trail for the chance to win a special treat from the Easter Bunny. Entry cost £20 for adults and £12 for children, call 01590 612345 for more information.


4 April- 2 November - Weymouth Sand Sculpture Festival

An award winning, undercover exhibition of sand sculptures created by some of the world leading sand artists on a theme of “Books & Authors” with an interactive “have a go” area, hot & cold snacks and gifts available, under 5’s play area. Preston Beach Road, Weymouth, Dorset, DT4 7SX. Open 10:30 Daily, closing times vary.


5-24 April - Durlston Country Park Easter Egg Trail

Hunt for clues around the Park to learn more about wildlife and win a prize.

Cost: £3, 10am-4pm daily. Durlston Castle, Lighthouse Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2JL.


20 April - Pirate Day

A fun day out for all the family at Nothe Fort in Weymouth. Expect cannon firing, mock battle, children’s crafts, bouncy castle, face painting, treasure hunt, fancy dress competition and more. Tel: 01305 766626 for more information.



2-5 May - Isle of Arts Festival

A four day celebration of comedy, drama, music, literature, film, photography and visual arts featuring performances, workshops, walks, talks and exhibitions in and around the town of Ventnor. Event prices range from free events up to £25 for headline events. For full details, booking tickets and general information go to


3-18 May - Isle of Wight Walking Festival

From dinosaur walks to singing walks and overnight adventures there is bound to be something for the whole family to feel inspired. For full details visit


18 May - Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge

Ride along some of Dorset’s glorious springtime countryside and picturesque villages whilst raising money for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. Online registration is now open and numbers are limited to 600 riders so visit now at


23-25 May - Bournemouth 7s Festival

As the largest sport and music festival in the world, Bournemouth 7s Festival is a must attend event in 2014. With over 320 rugby, netball, cross fit and dodgeball teams competing in a range of competitive and social competitions, the festival is an action packed weekend of sport, music and entertainment. Visit to find out more.


24 May-8 June - Dorset Art Weeks

A 16 day Open Studios event that is intended to bring the public face to face with the artists and makers whilst exploring the delights of one of the country’s most beautiful counties. The event is the UK’s largest open art studios exhibition involving more than 370 studio venues where the participating local artists will showcase their creative work. Visit for more information.


26 May - Poole Carnival

With a grand procession through Upper Parkstone to Branksome Recreation Ground and a charity fair with stalls, fairground rides, food outlets and entertainment, Poole Carnival is one not to be missed. To find out more visit


30 May - 1 June - Yarmouth Old Gaffers Festival

The town and harbour will embrace a fun filled weekend of entertainment and interesting things to see and do for the whole family. The harbour will be filled with the visiting gaff rigged vessels and other popular attractions include continental market stalls, food stalls, a craft marquee, The ‘Oooh Arrh Gaffers Bar’, veteran and classic vehicle display, ghost and history walks, children’s fancy dress and lots more. For further information see the Festival website or telephone 01983 761704.



12-15 June

The Isle of Wight Festival 2014 will be headlined on the Friday night by Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, playing an English festival exclusive! They will be joined by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on the Saturday and Kings of Leon on the Sunday. For tickets costing £190 visit


13-15 June - Wimborne Minster Folk Festival

Wimborne’s annual folk festival has been a highlight of Dorset summers since 1980. The 2013 festival promises three days of ‘folk, family and fun’, with the much-loved mix of dance displays, family activities, workshops and stalls returning to the historic minster town’s streets. For more details visit or call into Wimborne Tourist Information Centre for a copy of the programme.


15-21 June - Christchurch Priory Music Festival

In the setting of this magnificent ancient building enjoy various musical performances throughout. Visit for further details and to book tickets.


21 June - Round the Island Yacht Race

This is sailing’s answer to the London Marathon as 1600 boats, crewed by some of the biggest names in sailing as well as keen amateur sailors, skim past The Needles, the Island’s distinctive rocky structure, round St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge and back into the Solent. (


28 June - Royal Isle of Wight County Show

Celebrating the best of country life and farming on the Isle of Wight. (


28-29 June - Tankfest

Experience the best display of historic moving armour in the world at The Tank Museum in Bovington, bringing the story of tanks, tank crew and soldiers to life. (



11-13 July - Swanage Jazz Festival

A weekend of top class jazz in a relaxed seaside setting. (


12 July - Jurassic Fields Music Festival

A family a day out of fun and entertainment in Bridport showcasing the best music, food and entertainment the local area has to offer. Tickets on sale from Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis & Sherborne Tourist Information Centres.


16-20 July - Larmer Tree Festival

A boutique festival in lush gardens on the Dorset/Wiltshire border, with national and international bands, street artists, carnival procession and creative workshops for all. (


26 July-3 August - Spirit of Portland

A multi-community based festival, celebrating the unique culture and maritime heritage of Portland. (


26 July – 2 August - Swanage Regatta and Carnival

Join thousands of revellers as they enjoy the spectacle provided by the colourful dance troupes, walkers in fancy dress, themed tableaux and music. (


29-31 July - New Forest and Hampshire County Show

Enjoy show jumping, equestrian class, local food and farming, flower shows, family activities and much more. (


31 July-3 August - Camp Bestival

Camp Bestival 2014 will once again take place at the majestic Lulworth Castle, set against the backdrop of England’s dramatic Jurassic coastline in Dorset. With music to tackle all taste buds and much much more, stand up comedy, DJ sets, and a fantastic line up for the little ones this is a festival not to be missed. (



2-9 August - Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week

The oldest and largest annual sailing regatta in the world, the event boasts an 8-day schedule combining competitive racing and great fun for the 8,000 competitors racing and 100,000 spectators who enjoy a fantastic line up of shore-side entertainment day and night. The famous fireworks take place on the final Friday of the event. (


3 August - West Bay Day

Celebrating West Bay’s rich history, heritage, quality of food, local businesses and incorporating a multitude of fun activities and entertainment for all the family, including circus skills workshop, children’s crabbing competition, live music, vintage motor cycles and much more!


8-17 August - Swanage Lifeboat Week

Entertaining fundraising week culminating in a Saturday raft race and family barbeque. (


12-17 August - Ventnor Fringe

The Ventnor Fringe is an inspiring collaboration between artists, promoters, venues and members of the public who come together each year to create a truly unique festival. (


20 August - Weymouth Carnival

Enjoy fun activities and events throughout the day including aerial displays, grand procession and fireworks.


23 August - Wimborne in Bloom Duck Race

Join in the fun as ‘sponsored’ yellow rubber ducks race along the River Allen in Wimborne.


27-31 August - The Great Dorset Steam Fair

Widely recognised as the leading event of its type in the world with 2,000 exhibits, 800 trade stalls and over 220 full size steam engines enjoy a giant trip of nostalgia into the days of yesteryear. (


28-31 August - Bournemouth Air Festival

Air display teams including fighter jets, wing walkers and parachutes – Royal Marine beach assaults, fireworks and outdoor evening film screenings all feature at this fabulous free festival that happens all over the beaches of Bournemouth. (



4-7 September - Bestival

The award winning Bestival returns on the Isle of Wight for 2014, after the success of its tenth anniversary. (


5-7 September - Swanage Folk Festival

This small seaside resort comes alive with Morris Dancers and folk music lovers with a number of concerts and events across the weekend. (


6-7 September - Beaulieu International Autojumble and Automart

The biggest outdoor sale of motoring items for European cars and motorcycles this side of the Atlantic!


6-7 September - Dorset County Show

One of the biggest and best agricultural shows in the region featuring plenty of family entertainment, livestock competitions, local food and drink and thrilling displays on the ground and in the air. (


September 6 - Bridport Hat Fair

Hat lovers fill the streets of Bridport for hat-inspired events, talks and competitions. (


10-18 September - Dorset Architectural Heritage Week

A week of events celebrating Dorset’s rich architectural heritage, with free access to many unusual and historic buildings. (


12-21 September - Southampton Boat Show

View the very best British and international brands of boats in one fantastic show. (



15-19 October - Bridport Open Books Festival

An exciting and eclectic week of events and activities for book lovers of all ages. (


23-26 October - Sherborne International Film Festival

Sherborne’s third annual film festival brings you exceptional films that you would not ordinarily be able to see in this part of the world. (


Food festivals

7-13 April - Milford on Sea Food Week

With over 100 activities including themed dining evenings, professional cookery theatre, celebrity shows, cooking demonstrations, educational talks, film shows, cookery competitions, dining offers, wine tastings, kid’s events and a Sunday food market, where better to celebrate Hampshire’s local produce.


10-11 May - Christchurch Food and Wine Festival

The town centre will be buzzing with over 120 traders selling an extensive range of regional and international food and drink produce while the Festival Demonstration Theatre will be located in Wick Lane car park, where celebrity chef Lesley Waters will be teaching you the tricks of the trade. Check out the Festival’s website: to find out more.


17-18 May - Spring Tide Food Festival

The National Trust will once again host the Jurassic Fantastic Spring Tide Food Festival at Hive Beach in Burton Bradstock. Expect an array of local food and drink producers, talented chefs and exciting exhibitors. Visit to find out more.


14 June - Bridport Food Festival

This funky town by the sea rolls out the bunting in celebration of its local food and drink. The main event is on the Saturday at Asker Meadows with a cookery theatre, food and drink stalls and lively beer tent. Find out more at


21-22 June - Christchurch Cheese and Chilli Festival

A fantastic day out for all the family with lots to see and do and the opportunity to sample and buy a fantastic array of foods plus cheese and chillies from all over the world. (


12-13 July - Dorset Seafood Festival

The area around Weymouth harbour is transformed in to a Seafood Village cooking fish and shellfish landed straight from the day boats. (


16-17 August - Isle of Wight Garlic Festival

Set against a beautiful backdrop of rolling green hills and farmland, the Garlic Festival is located just outside of Newchurch at the heart of the stunning Isle of Wight. Enjoy a vast array of eats, sights and sounds to suit all tastes and ages. (


13-14 September - Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival

Cheese Festival with traditional food stalls, real ale and real cider tents, and a raft of cheese-inspired events including cheese making, cheese tasting and cheese recipes. 10am-5pm. (


27-28 September - Isle of Wight Sweetcorn Faye

The annual Sweetcorn Fayre will be held again this year at Arreton Barns to raise money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. The traditional village fete includes an array of vintage craft stalls, fairground rides and plenty for the kids to get involved with.


18 October - Apple Day in Bridport

Take part in apple games and watch rural craft demonstrations at the Community Orchard behind St Mary’s Church. Open 11am-3pm.


After dark

13 April - SUGGS- My life story in words and music

The Madness frontman takes to the stage at The Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne in a hilarious, yet moving, one man tour de force playing to rave reviews with musical accompaniment and uncalled for interjection from Deano, his loyal manservant-cum-pianist. 7.30pm, tickets £26 from


1 May - King Lear

Watch Oscar winner Sam Mendes as he returns to the National Theatre to direct Simon Russell Beale in the title role of Shakespeare’s tragedy as it is screened live at The Electric Theatre in Bridport. 7pm start, tickets cost £11 on 01308 424901


18 July - Corfe Castle Open Air Theatre - Sherlock Holmes

Deep in the beautiful countryside a terrifying mystery and a legendary nemesis await the arrival of the world’s greatest detective. Booking is essential, call 0844 249 1895 or visit


10-13 September - Son et Lumiere - A Sound and Light Spectacular with Fireworks

Directed by Martine Burt this is a community play at Nothe Fort depicting the maritime history of Weymouth and Portland from the Armada to the Olympics. With actors, singers and dancers, cannons, bugles and drums, all enveloped in projected images, atmospheric music and fantastic special lighting effects, this is something not to be missed. (


3 October-2 November - Electric Woods “Festival of Light”

Enjoy the ambience of the Electric Woods like never before with an Indian-themed series of openings celebrating Diwali, the Hindu “Festival of Light”. The lush colours, flavours and magic of the Asian sub continent are set to enrich the golden autumnal woodlands in what will be one of the Island’s first illuminated celebrations of this hugely popular world festival. Robin Hill Country Park call 01983 527352.


15 October-2 November - Enchated Floodlit Gardens in Abbotsbury

Take a magical evening stroll along candle-lit pathways through enchanted glades...the Gardens stay open until 8.30pm for magical lighting. (


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