Christmas in Dorset is simply magical. There's so much on offer this winter, so get ready for a packed out festive calendar during your stay. We explore the best of Dorset's Christmas dining and drinks, wrap up the spots for late night shopping, and give you the lowdown on pantomimes, carol performances and even reindeer hunts. What better way to spend the festive season?
Dorsets Festive Food and Drink
Christmas in Dorset is a time for feasting and merriment, and there's no better place for it than at one of the areas gorgeous traditional country pubs. Tucked away under the ruins of Corfe Castle, the Greyhound Inn offers new creations daily, specialising in fresh and seasonal dishes using local ingredients. Locally caught lobster and pheasant both feature on the menu.
If curling up beside a roaring fire takes your fancy, the charming Thimble Inn is hidden away in Piddlehinton, Dorchester. Their delicious menu includes homemade gourmet burgers, slow cooked local pork belly with apple sauce, and cod fillet with new potatoes and Sauce Vierge. A delicious start to your Christmas feasting!
If you're after a truly special evening, look no further than the Coast Restaurant at the Grand Hotel. If you book a table at 7pm, you'll receive a free glass of bubbly on arrival, before enjoying a three course Christmas meal finishing up with coffee and mini mince pies. This offer is available on Friday and Saturday nights throughout December 2019 for £24.95 per person.
Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair (Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th November 2019) Set in the lovely Athelhampton House and Gardens, the annual Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair will host over 50 stalls over the weekend featuring everything from vegan delights to classic homemade baked goods. You can also explore the gorgeous Tudor mansion and topiary gardens in between courses. Admission to the fair is £3.50 and includes house and garden entry as well.
Dorsets Christmas Shopping
Late Night Shopping in Bournemouth - Bournemouth town centre, a bustling shopping area offering both chain shops and unique boutique stores, is offering several days of extended opening hours in the run-up Christmas to help you find all your gifts and decorations.
Bournemouth will be transforming into a winter wonderland this year with the addition of an alpine-themed market and Christmas Tree Wonderland. Handmade gifts and local food will be available in abundance from the many stalls, giving you a chance to fill your belly and your stockings at the same time! Don't miss the cosy Alpine Lodge that will spring up in the town centre to give you a chance to enjoy a range of Christmas themed drinks to ring in the evening. While in Bournemouth, don't miss the Christmas celebrations, starting on the 15th November until 2nd January 2019.
Artisans on the Beach, Swanage (30th November 2019 - 2nd January 2020) - The beach huts on the Swanage waterfront will be taken over by local artisans and crafters of all creeds this winter. It's a great opportunity to pick up a gift for that unique and creative person in your life, offering everything from photography and paintings to cushions and hand sewn felt goods.
Dorset Arts and Crafts Christmas Craft Fair, Allendale House, Wimbourne (23rd November 2019) - Sort your Christmas presents early at this fair showcasing contemporary crafts alongside heirloom techniques - all handmade in Dorset so you're supporting local artists! All profits will go to aid the Dorset Arts and Crafts Association Bursary Fund, which gives out grants to fund local art projects in Dorset.
More Events and Activities this Christmas in Dorset
Forde Abbeys Christmas Illuminated Trail (15th December - 22nd December 2019) - Forde Abbey will be creating a magical trail around their beautiful gardens, lighting the towering champion trees and illuminating the house. The whole abbey will be decorated for the occasion and Santa will come by to say hello on December 18th and 22nd. The tearooms will be well stocked with mulled wine and mince pies. Tickets to explore the house and garden trail are £10 each for adults and £5 for children.
Skate Bournemouth Outdoor Ice Rink (14th November 2019 - 5th January 2020) - Bournemouths Christmas ice skating rink is a hugely popular attraction and should be even better this year with the addition of a separate Rinky Dinks rink for the little skaters and their parents. After your glide on the ice you can indulge in some treats at the rinkside including luxury hot chocolate, mulled wine and pizza.
Dorset Family-Friendly Christmas Festivities
Great Reindeer Hunt, Teddy Bear Museum, Dorchester (18th November 2019 - 4th January 2020) - Santas reindeer have been naughty this year! They've run off and are in hiding at the Teddy Bear Museum! Kids can have fun helping Santa find his reindeer, and win a teddy.
Santas Christmas Grotto and Light Garden, Upton Country Park (Opens weekends and school holidays in December) - Take the kids to meet Santa and get a special gift from Father Christmas, and a photo to keep your festive Dorset memories fresh for years to come. Don't forget - if the kids want to post a letter to Santa, they can drop it off at Santas famous Post Box in Southbourne! (The box will be open between 30th October and 6th December 2019)
Christmas at Adventure Wonderland (various dates in December) - Dorsets most popular theme park will be hosting Santa, Rudolph and Santas elves for a few days before Christmas this year. Santa will set up house in his log cabin and be available to visit. Make sure to get a ticket beforehand as Santa is very popular! The Christmas cheer is in full force with Adventure Wonderlands other attractions, including a seasonal pantomime and a Nativity Cuddle Corner.
Dorset Christmas Pantomimes
'Tis the season for uproarious laughter and family-friendly entertainment! Christmas in Dorset wouldn't be complete without a variety of Christmas pantomimes. Maybe its time to start a new family tradition?
- Aladdin, Bournemouth Pavilion (7th December 2019 - 5th January 2020)
- Jack & the Beanstalk,Poole Lighthouse (12th December 2019 - 5th January 2019)
- Cinderella, Weymouth Pavilion Theatre (14th December 2019 - 4th January 2020)
- Jack & the Beanstalk,The Regent Centre, Christchurch (18th January - 25th January 2020)
Christmas in Dorset - Carols for Everyone!
It just isn't Christmas without the sweet refrain of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer ringing out from every street corner. Get into the festive spirit with some of Dorset's glorious carol performances.
- Christmas in Southbourne - Lights Switch On and Carols (23rd November 2019, 5.30pm)
- Christmas Carols at The Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts (23rd December 2019, 19.30pm)
- Carols in the Castle, Corfe Castle (9th December 2019)
- Candlelit Christmas Celebration, St Ambrose Church (15th December 2019)
Dorset is packed with amazing Christmas events this festive season and there's no better way to experience the delights of this corner of the country than from the luxurious cosiness of your own private traditional cottage. Dorset Hideaways provides the best in self-catering, cosy rental cottages in Dorset, perfect for a quiet family getaway to reconnect over the holidays.
You can browse our complete collection and check availability on our website. Book today and start looking forward to an amazing stay in Dorset's winter wonderland!