Dorset winters are clear and crisp, the perfect time to wrap up warm and explore the county’s spectacular countryside and quaint towns as they get ready for Christmas. Summer Lodge Country House Hotel and Restaurant and The Acorn Inn are the perfect bases for sampling the assortment of craft fairs, concerts and North Pole grottos. Here’s our round up of Dorset’s best offerings this Christmas.
The Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir at Dorset County Museum
Get into the festive spirit with an evening of Christmas music from the county’s best-loved chamber choir. Their annual Noël! Noël! concert will take place in the museum’s Victorian Hall, a grand room with a vaulted ceiling and elegant galleries. Treat yourself to complimentary mince pies and mulled wine and sit back for a programme of seasonal music and readings. The museum’s Christmas shop will be open for any last-minute gift shopping.
20th December 2017, Dorchester
Christmas at The Town Mill
Christmas is coming early to the historic Lyme Regis Town Mill. Visit the Winter Art Fair at the Malthouse Gallery to pick up beautiful paintings, textiles, jewellery and pottery. The Unwrapped Show will take its place from the 16th December, stocking an array of lovely hand-crafted gifts, and in the week leading up to Christmas, kids will be able to meet Father Christmas at the attic of the old mill. The onsite café, deli and brewery will be open throughout the season for post-shopping festive food and drinks.
Winter Art Fair: 24th November – 13th December 2017, Lyme Regis
Unwrapped Show: 16th December 2017 – 2nd January 2018, Lyme Regis
Father Christmas’s Grotto: 16th December – 22nd December 2017, Lyme Regis
Great Reindeer Hunt at the Teddy Bear Museum
Dorchester’s Teddy Bear Museum will be hosting a special festive treasure hunt this Christmas. Decorated like an old-fashioned home, and inhabited by a family of giant teddies, the museum is a magical place to spend a couple of hours. Little detectives can search through the “house” to find Santa’s missing troop of reindeer, and each will win a teddy to take home. Pop into the lovely teddy bear shop to for vintage collectables and lovely stocking fillers.
18th November 2017 – 4th January 2018, Dorchester
Shaftesbury Christmas Street Fair
A Christmas Fair will transform the charming hilltop market town of Shaftesbury on Sunday 17th December. The bustling high street will be packed from one end of town to the other with stalls, twinkling Christmas trees, strings of fairy-lights and live music. Festive treats will include roasted chestnuts, pies and artisan cheeses, and a variety of Christmas gifts and decorations.
17th December 2017, Shaftesbury
Weymouth’s Big Christmas
This year the whole family can don their skates and take to Weymouth’s real ice rink every day of December. The vibrant town is also Lighting Up on the 1st of the month with a host of festivities beginning at 2pm. Catch Santa’s Parade, meet real reindeer, listen to carols and join the crowds in the countdown to the Christmas lights switch-on. There will be plenty of mulled wine and delicious snacks on offer too.
Ice Rink: 1st December 2017 – 1st January 2018, Weymouth
Lighting Up Celebration: 1st December, Weymouth
Bath Christmas Market
This one isn’t technically in Dorset but, just an hour’s drive away and a truly magical offering, it’s too special to leave off the list. The market lines the beautiful Georgian streets surrounding Bath Abbey Churchyard, with live music and more than 200 stalls. You’ll find the glowing chalets stocked with all manner of artisan goodies – from jewellery, clothes and homeware to festive food and drink.
23rd November – 10th December 2017, Bath
After exploring Dorset’s most Christmassy events, return to Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa or The Acorn Inn for a traditional Dorset cream tea in front of the fire.
Image Credits: Lead image © Red Carnation Hotels. Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir © Ash Mills. Great Reindeer Hunt © Teddy Bear Museum. Band at Shaftesbury Christmas Street Fair © Shaftesbury Christmas Street Fair.Bath Christmas Market © Bath Tourism.