Food festivals in Dorset 2023

Things to do

Food festivals in Dorset 2023

It might not be the biggest county, but boy does Dorset pack a punch when it comes to food festivals. Known for its pretty coastline and sweeping countryside made for walking, it’s easy to see why this peaceful county produces such good food and drink - many of its restaurants are Michelin recommended!

With enough food festivals to feed, well, a bunch of people who love food festivals, and some of the best music events in the country, Dorset has something for everyone in its jam-packed social calendar – there’s even something for dinosaur lovers! Here are just some of the best food festivals in Dorset in 2023…


Shaftesbury Food & Drink Festival

People running up the hill in the cheese race at Shaftesbury Food and Drink Festival

When: 7th May

Where: Shaftesbury

Access: There are several car parks around the town

Let’s be honest, what would a Dorset event round-up be without some food festivals where you can eat till the cows come home… and then eat some more! Head over to Shaftesbury on the 7th of May to experience the very best that local producers have to offer while listening to some superb live music. Live cookery demonstrations will give you the skills to make some of these jaw-droppingly good meals at home while a host of vendors mean you don’t have to! And to top it all off, you can sit back and relax with your tasty treats in hand as you watch a group of wonderfully bonkers people chase cheese up a hill. What more do you need out of a food festival?

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Christchurch Cheese & Chilli Festival

The demo tent at the Christchurch Cheese and Chilli Festival

When: 20th – 21st May

Where: Christchurch

Access: Free parking on site

Whether you love chillies or cheese or a mix of the two (and who doesn’t love a combination of dairy and daring), the Christchurch Cheese & Chilli Festival is the only place to find both in a dog-friendly, festival setting. What does this mean? You can spend two glorious days chowing down on cheese and chillies from around the world while enjoying fantastical merriment in the form of circus performers, live music and everyone’s favourite past-time of watching a group of teary people consume increasingly hot chillies. Now that’s entertainment!

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Christchurch Food Festival

People bustling around the stalls at Christchurch Food Festival

When: 27th – 29th May

Where: Christchurch

Access: Plenty of car parks around the town

Another food festival, we must have been good this year! In 2023, the Christchurch Food Festival is back and bigger than ever, which means three days of fabulous food and entertainment. Over the weekend you’ll get to follow your nose as you sniff out your next culinary adventure with lots of great food from all over the south and south west. Watch how the professionals get it just right in a slew of cookery demos and enjoy a gargantuan array of activities that are sure to entertain everyone, whether you’re fifty or five!

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Poole Seafood Festival

People walking along the harbour by all of the stalls at Poole Seafood Festival

When: 2nd – 4th June

Where: Poole

Access: Parking in the area is limited but can be found at either of the Harbourside car parks

Whether you fancy unwinding at the Champagne and oyster bar or letting the beat take you at the live music stage, the Poole Seafood Festival is back for another year of oceanic levels of fun and food. Known for its seafood far and wide, Poole is the perfect coastal location for a celebration of all things marine and marinated. Don’t worry if seafood isn’t to your taste as the countless stalls and food vendors will be cooking up a variety of cuisines and dishes to ensure everyone finds their favourite food. As you let your stomach breath in between courses, you can take a gentle stroll through the other stalls and areas, which feature unique local art and crafts, perfect for a little memento of your foodie holiday.

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Bridport Food Festival

People sat on the grass in front of the tents at Bridport Food Festival

When: June (TBC)

Where: Bridport

Access: Parking will be available at the Bridport Leisure Centre Rugby Pitch

Showcasing all of the fantastic local growers, producers and makers, the Bridport Food Festival is one of the best places to go to get a true taste of the south west. Fill your bags (and belly) with copious amounts of artisan cheese, bread and cakes throughout the week while checking out the area’s best tipples – we mean, who doesn’t love the taste of locally made gin! Local musicians will lend their melodious talents to the festival, providing a glorious background sound to the day’s foodie delights. Lots of fabulous fingerlickin’ fun can be had throughout the week but the showcase event will be held on Saturday 18th of June, where raffles, beer round tables and music can be enjoyed.

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Weymouth Food & Family Festival

People walking along the stalls and harbour at Weymouth Food Festival

When: 29th – 30th July

Where: Weymouth

Access: Parking at Lodmoor Country Park and Beach road car parks, both just five minutes’ walk away

Whether you love eating food, watching food be professionally prepared, or eating food (wait, did we say that twice?), Weymouth Food & Family Festival has something to suit your discerning taste buds. Food might be what brings you, but you’ll stay for the fantastic live music and chilli eating competition (yes, you read that right). Are dogs allowed you might ask? Well, we’ll answer that with the other draw to this family-friendly festival: the Dog Companion Show, where everyone can enter their beloved pooch in a variety of categories including waggiest tail.

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Great Dorset Chilli Festival

A mariachi band performing at the Great Dorset Chilli Festival

When: 5th – 6th August

Where: Sturminster Newton

Access: Parking on-site

Whether your chilli interests lie in condiments, plants or ceramics, it’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone at this taste explosion of a festival – even some much-needed ice cream for when things really heat up. See how high you can go on the Scoville scale – are you more bell pepper or ghost chilli – while sampling your way through the countless stalls. There’s lots of entertainment on offer too, so you can slip into your dancing shoes for some musical interludes in between each chilli tasting.

Explore cottages in Sturminster Newton.



People walking along the seafront at Seafest in Dorset

When: September (TBC)

Where: Weymouth

Access: Town centre car parks fill up quickly, so we recommend using the Weymouth park and rid

This award-winning Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth is all about celebrating and understanding the incredible seafood that’s available to us all around our beautiful coastline, from cockles to cod. Pair your seafood explorations with some delicious local wines and ales while making the most of the terrific entertainment, which includes countless demonstrations and some fab live music. There’s a great focus on sustainability and responsible sourcing, which means visitors can learn all about ocean health and underutilised alternatives. And of course, the entire event takes place next to one of the stunning Dorset beaches.

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Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival

A band performing at the Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival

When: 9th – 10th September

Where: Sturminster Newton

Access: Car park at Durrant Field, opposite the venue

Now what kind of cheese festival would this be without all the Babybels and whistles! You’ll find plenty of chilli jams, ciders and maybe even a cracker or two to compliment your favourite and newly discovered cheeses. Alongside cheeses you can take home, you’ll also find a mouth-watering array of food vendors from pancakes to gelato! Throw in some cracking food demos and you’ve got a weekend that Wallace and Gromit would be proud of.

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The Gin to my Tonic Festival

Three gin and tonics at The Gin to my Tonic Festival in Bournemouth

When: 13th – 14th October

Where: Bournemouth

Access: Car parking on-site

Now, this is our kind of festival! Over 120 gins await at this gin-spired festival with a difference. As you enter, you’ll be handed your very own gin Copa glass and gin guide, giving you everything you need to make the most of this botanically-infused experience. Live music makes up the soundtrack to the event as a host of artisan distillers join to celebrate all things gin…. as well as a few other craft spirits for good measure!

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Book your stay in one of our welcoming cottages in Dorset and make the most of this action-packed calendar.

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