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Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire & Wiltshire

DORSET, SOMERSET, HAMPSHIRE & WILTSHIRE

From the fizzing beach and resort bustle of Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth to the historic inland subtleties of ancient Wimborne, Dorchester and nearby Higher Bockhampton, where author Thomas Hardy was born and set many of his novels, DORSET’s appeal is contrastingly intense, peaceful, active, rural and vividly historic. 

The Jurassic Coast, a 95-mile World Heritage Site stretching west from vibrant Swanage, is a World Heritage Site rich in dinosaur fossils, while gentle river-side communities such as Sturminster Newton offer a chance to walk quiet lanes in rolling countryside famous for cheese. The 1,000 year old ruins of Corfe Castle near Wareham are among the most beautiful in the country, while rural communities such as Blandford Forum offer small-scale market-town charm with stunning Georgian architecture and a feel for quiet locality.

Somerset’s coastal resorts include the gentility of Weston super Mare, and more southerly Burnham-on-Sea, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, a vast, lush plain increasingly popular for cycling and bird-watching.

The county is famous for orchards and cider which can be tasted on drives through sweet villages such as Muchelney, Dowlish Wake and Mudgley. Fine walking areas include the high ground of Exmoor, and the high rolling hills of the Quantocks, and the Mendips. Here, the limestone crags of the Cheddar Gorge and its nearby village offer stunning scenery, mysterious caves, and a chance to watch Cheddar cheese made. Ancient Glastonbury and England’s smallest city, Wells, are hugely popular centres with considerable historic, architectural and atmospheric interest.
 

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June

Beaminster Festival of Music & The Arts
Beaminster Festival of Music & The Arts

Includes a brilliant programme of music, both classical and jazz, literature and an art exhibition of the work of local artists, potters, sculptors and furniture makers. (photo- VisitEngland/VisitDerby/Matthew Jones Photography)

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Bridport Food Festival
Bridport Food Festival

The BRIDPORT FOOD FESTIVAL will be celebrating its 11th anniversary with exciting foodie events for all ages to enjoy. (photo - VisitEngland/VisitPortsmouth)

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Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival

The finest live acts and biggest names attend this huge festival.

(photo - VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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July

Camp Bestival
Camp Bestival

Taking place at the majestic Lulworth Castle, set against the backdrop of England’s dramatic Jurassic coastline in Dorset. (photo - VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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Yeovilton Air Day
Yeovilton Air Day

The Royal Navy’s premier airshow

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August

Bournemouth Air Festival
Bournemouth Air Festival

See the red arrows in full display

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Bristol Balloon Festival
Bristol Balloon Festival

Europe's largest annual hot air balloon festival. (photo - VisitEngland/Destination Bristol /
Destination Bristol)

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Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival Week
Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival Week

Nine days of action packed activities for the whole family.
Carnival programmes are available from the Carnival Kiosk on the Marine Parade, the T.I.C on Church Street and in various shops around the town.

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September

International Autojumble at National Motor Museum
International Autojumble at National Motor Museum

Beaulieu’s most famous motoring event, the International Autojumble is the biggest outdoor sale of motoring items this side of the Atlantic (photo - VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival).

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Lyme Regis ArtsFest
Lyme Regis ArtsFest

Meet artists in their studios and find out about them and their work.
Follow the art trail through the town, enjoying a great variety of work displayed in over 100 shops and businesses.(photo - VisitEngland/NewcastleGateshead Initiative)

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Swanage & Purbeck Walking Festival
Swanage & Purbeck Walking Festival

There are new and exciting range of walks for all ages and abilities. The beautiful Isle of Purbeck is a walker's paradise. (photo - VisitEngland Visit Hull and East Yorkshire)

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October

Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Grand Firework Display
Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Grand Firework Display

Bridgwater Guy Fawkes Carnival Grand Firework Display, this firework display is the Curtain Raiser to Bridgwater's biggest night of the year. (photo - VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester/Tony Hickey)

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Fireworks Spectacular at National Motor Museum
Fireworks Spectacular at National Motor Museum

Be wowed by the explosive and dynamic fireworks display. (photo - VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester/Tony Hickey)

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Halloween at Corfe Castle
Halloween at Corfe Castle

Explore their spooktacular castle this Halloween, if you dare! Find the ghosts and pumpkins on our family trail and enjoy the other hair-raising activities on offer.

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Sherborne International Film Festival
Sherborne International Film Festival

Sherborne's third annual film festival which brings you exceptional films that you would not ordinarily be able to see in this part of the world so hopefully they will stretch your senses, tantalise your imagination and keep you thoroughly entertained. (photo - VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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Sherborne Literary Festival
Sherborne Literary Festival

For lovers of good books and creative expression.
An annual festival in the town of Sherborne including a variety of author talks, writing workshops, and children’s events. (photo ©VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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November

Bridport Literary Festival
Bridport Literary Festival

Writers of fiction and non fiction will intrigue, enlighten and entertain audiences who are encouraged to engage in discussion on subjects of all kinds in venues all around the town. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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December

Christmas Celebrations at National Motor Museum
Christmas Celebrations at National Motor Museum

Christmas at Beaulieu is a time of magic with fun, activities and entertainment for all the family

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Save The Children Festival of Christmas
Save The Children Festival of Christmas

Save the Children Christmas Appeal Day, includes musical and dance entertainment in the morning and the Grand Parade with Santa in the afternoon and a carnival parade of floats. This is followed by street entertainment and Santa's Grotto in the Square.

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Wartime Christmas Festival - The Tank Museum
Wartime Christmas Festival - The Tank Museum

Take a step back in time and discover how Christmas was celebrated during the two world wars and beyond!

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February

Bath Literature Festival
Bath Literature Festival

The Independent Bath Literature Festival is at the centre of local, national and international debate featuring some of the most intelligent, creative, and cutting edge thinkers alive today. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Bristol Classic Bike Show
Bristol Classic Bike Show

A huge selection of bikes old and new. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Purbeck Literary Festival
Purbeck Literary Festival

Exploring the landscape through literature. Creative, comedy and blog writing workshops, poetry, performances and events featuring the works of Enid Blyton, T.E. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy and contemporary authors many of whom lived in or were inspired by Purbeck. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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March

Lyme Regis Beer Festival
Lyme Regis Beer Festival

2 unplugged stages, a greater selection of beers, extra ciders, kids’ circus skills workshops and even a fire-eater, the Lyme Regis Easter Season definitely starts here. Everything involved in this show is locally sourced. (photo ©VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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April

Beerex Beer Festival Wareham
Beerex Beer Festival Wareham

An exhibition of fine real ales from across the country on your doorstep. (photo - VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)
 

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Boat Jumble at National Motor Museum
Boat Jumble at National Motor Museum

Beaulieu Boatjumble has over 1000 stands of boating bits, new trailerable boats, dinghies, equipment and craft from classics to nearly new. With thousands of new and used boating bargains, it makes for an unmissable event for all sailors. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Dorset Wedding Fair
Dorset Wedding Fair

Dorset's very own wedding festival. It's like a wedding fair only way bigger!
Featuring live music, entertainment, exhibitors, vintage wedding fair, food, wedding bazaar, makeovers, groom's tent. (photo - VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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Exmoor Walking Festival
Exmoor Walking Festival

This festival has numerous guided walks to choose from. We are starting each area with a 'Welcome Evening' which is a simple get-together in a local pub to meet the guides.

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From Page To Screen Festival
From Page To Screen Festival

The UK’s only film festival dedicated to the adaptation of books into films. (photo - VisitEngland/NewcastleGateshead Initiative)

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Lyme Regis Fossil Festival
Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

All the best local finds from collectors and local traders. Talks about the fossils found on the Jurassic coast. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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May

Bournemouth 7s Festival
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 more

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Bournemouth Wheels
Bournemouth Wheels

Celebrating all types of vehicle with wheels. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Dorset Knob Throwing & Frome Valley Food Festival
Dorset Knob Throwing & Frome Valley Food Festival

The world-famous Dorset Knob Throwing competition returns as part of the Frome Valley Food Festival. (photo - VisitEngland)
 

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Lyme Regis Jazz, Blues and Real Ale Festival
Lyme Regis Jazz, Blues and Real Ale Festival

Lyme Regis Jazz and blues Festival featuring live music at various venues around the town. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Purbeck Art Weeks Festival
Purbeck Art Weeks Festival

An impressive cultural programme, encompassing visual art, music, dance, film and story-telling. (photo ©VisitEngland/Isle of Wight Festival Isle of Wight Festival)

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Sherborne Abbey Music Festival
Sherborne Abbey Music Festival

Music and arts events, a celebration of life in Sherbourne. (photo ©VisitEngland/Marketing Gloucester)

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Weymouth International Beach Kite Festival
Weymouth International Beach Kite Festival

The biggest, best and newest kites on the beach. (photo - VisitEngland/NewcastleGateshead Initiative)

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