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May events in Dorset

What’s On In Dorset In May?

We can’t wait to share with you what’s on in Dorset in May. For us it means days on the beach with flip flops and sunglasses!

To kick off the warm season there are lots of festivals coming up and don’t forget special May bank holiday activities. Read on and mark off your favourites in your calendars. There’s a lot of places to visit whilst you stay in one of our cottages.

Greenhill Gardens in Weymouth

Baby Swans Hatching at Abbotsbury Swannery

Abbotsbury Swannery is a unique attraction where you can walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans. The cygnets start to hatch mid-May to late June, so it’s the perfect time to witness this miraculous spectacle. Children will love it!

Mass feeding sessions daily – 12.00 & 4.00pm, usual admission prices apply.

Lyme Regis Fossil Festival 

Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th May

Enjoy one of Dorset’s largest science festivals and learn about wonderful Jurassic Coast. Enjoy specialist talks, walks and incredible interactive activities and bring home a real fossil as a souvenir.

Spring Tide Food Festival

Burton Bradstock, Hive Beach

Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th 10.00am – 4.00pm

All food lovers will enjoy this wonderful outdoor food event. Browse through stalls, meet and buy from the hugely talented local producers who will be on hand to show off Dorset produce at its very best. There will be fresh fish and local meat, artisan bread, cheeses and a selection of locally made beer and cider.

Shaftesbury Food & Drink Festival

Sunday 12th May 10.00am – 4.00pm

Another fabulous festival for food lovers. Witness live cooking demonstrations or race up the iconic Gold Hill! It’s not for the faint hearted, but so entertaining!

There’ll be stalls, featuring anonymous travelling market on Park Walk, as well as producers from the Dorset farmers market and Dorset food and drink in the High Street. Swans Yard will be hosting Live Music as well as showcasing local art and crafts. Make sure to pop along to the Shaftesbury Abbey Gardens for a special dance.

Open For Art Festival

18th May – 2nd June

Follow the South West art trail, a celebration of local artists ranging from sculptors, potters and jewelry makers through to painters, fabric artists and illustrators.

Athelhampton Flower Festival

Sunday 12th May – Thursday 16th May  10.00am – 5.00pm

Plant Heritage Dorset is hosting the popular Spring Plant Fair with independent growers from South West. It’s gardener’s paradise! Choose from a wide range of plants, additional features such as garden ornaments and more. The best is that you can buy directly from growers and get advice and tips directly from them!

Sherborne Abbey Music Festival

Friday 3rd May – Tuesday 7th May

The annual celebration of liturgy and music will amaze you in Sherborne Abbey Music festival. Can you believe that it’s counting it’s 20th year?

Don’t miss the chance to participate in one of the most accessible award-winning music festivals in the UK. This year the festival is hosting Nicola Benedetti CBE, one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. See the full programme on the festival’s website.

Knob Fest

Sunday 5th May

Creators of the famous Dorset Knob and Kingston Maurward College are hosting a Knob Fest. Beside Knob Throwing there will be additional fun knob attractions including Knob Eating, Knob Painting, a Knob and Spoon Race, Guess the weight of the Big Knob, Knob Darts and a Knob Pyramid and other more traditional entertainment. The Frome Valley Food Fest will run along side the Knob Throwing. If you want something different and unusual, this festive day is a perfect choice!

what's on in dorset in May

What’s on in Dorset May Bank Holiday?

Jazz Jurassica Festival

Friday 24th – Monday 27th May

For dedicated jazzers and blues hounds alike, the Lyme Regis Jazz and Blues festival aims to bring the best of live music, both new and traditional, to the Marine Theatre.

PAW Patrol’s Chase & Rubble at Adventure Wonderland

Wednesday 29th May

May half term sees the return of PAW Patrol’s fearless police and traffic cop, Chase, to Adventure Wonderland. The German Shepherd pup will join forces with construction expert Rubble, who turns his paws to fixing almost everything. Don#t forget to bring your phone or camera to take some pictures!

Mudeford Seafood Festival

Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th and Monday 27th May

We welcome you to the first Mudeford Seafood Festival – a family friendly event showcasing the very best seafood of the South Coast. Try different seafood and not only, and why not to explore Christchurch Bay, Harbour and Quay.

Sherborne Castle Country Fair and Rare Breeds Show

Monday 27th May 10.00am – 6.00pm

The Country fair started in 1996 and was run by volunteers till now. The aim of the organisers has always been to offer good value for money to visitors and supporters alike. Visit stunning Sherborne Castle and have some fun in the Country Fair. This amazing lakeside event highlights traditional rural skills and it’s an amazing day out with all family.

Medieval Fool’s School in Corfe Castle

Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May 10.00am – 5.00pm

Learn new skills, play games and make mischief at the medieval Fool’s School in the Outer Bailey.

Corfe Castle Village May Fair

Monday 27th May 10.00am – 5.00pm

Visit the castle and enjoy a traditional May Fair celebration organised by Corfe Castle village, with a selection of stalls, food and drink, a dog agility show and more.

Go NUTS at Monkey World!

Saturday 25th – Monday 27th May

Monkey World is always popular attraction for children. Every child who brings an unopened bag of nuts for the primates receives a free Monkey World badge over the bank holiday weekend.


With all the events and activities available in May, can you resist booking a holiday in Dorset? Choose from over 300 amazing self-catering holiday cottages.