Shaftesbury and North Dorset

Festivals and events

There is a huge calendar of events all year round in North Dorset, from traditional fetes to major festivals.  These celebrate everything from music, the arts, food, the countryside, rural life and much more.  Which one is nearest to you?  Could you give a visitor a description?

Great Dorset Steam Fair  The Great Dorset Steam Fair is held annually at Tarrant Hinton near Blandford in September.  Attracting more than 200,000 visitors every year it features a collection of 200 working steam engines and around 2000 other vintage exhibits.  There is also a steam driven fun fair, vintage cars and traditional country crafts.

The Gold Hill Fair takes place in Shaftesbury each year in July, offering stalls, music and dancing throughout the town.

The Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show is North Dorset’s foremost agricultural show. It takes place in August at the Motcombe Turnpike Showground and is a traditional one-day agricultural show that looks to provide something for everyone.

Gillingham Walking Festival – Every September this festival offers some twenty guided walks of all lengths and suitabilities.  The walks include short town walks, Nordic Walking demonstrations, treasure hunts for children (and others!), a Constable Trail (remember John Constable painted many pictures of the surrounding countryside) and much more.  Most walks are free.

Larmer Tree Festival – This is a well-known five-day music and arts festival , held annually at the Larmer Tree Gardens near Tollard Royal on the Wiltshire-Dorset border.

Sturminster  Newton Cheese Festival held in September features local cheeses along with other food and drink products .  Visitors can buy many varieties of cheese including Blue Vinney (remember this is a special cheese only made in Dorset). The Festival also showcases bread, biscuits & beef, coffee, chocolate and olives. It is also a showcase for drinks created in Dorset – for example Black Cow Vodka and Conker Spirit Gin.  Entry is £5, with children 14 and under free.