School's out and lots of us are enjoying our summer holidays. If you're staying in Dorset and the New Forest or perhaps visiting the area, here's our guide to what's happening where and when by type of event.

If you have an event coming up between now and September you'd like us to include, please email all the details to

Open-air cinema and theatre

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Jaws @ Redoubt Fortress

Four summer nights of open air cinema will take place at Bournemouth Pier Approach. All showings set to the soundtrack of the waves just a few metres away. From Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 August, the films set to hit the big screen are Top Gun, Mamma Mia and Jaws. Doors open from 7pm and all shows start at 8:45pm. Tickets: £13.50 Adults, £9 Child, £26 VIP.

Luna Cinema, the UKs number one open air cinema, will be coming to Lulworth Cove. The worldwide phenomenon ‘Back to the Future’ will be shown on the 26 August and the popular musical Grease on 27 August that will certainly top off your ‘summer night’. Doors will open from 6:30pm with films starting from 8pm.

Wrap up warm and enjoy a film under the stars at Corfe Castle as part of the Purbeck Film Festival. On Friday, August 28, watch British comedy What We Did On Our Holiday starring David Tennant, Rosamund Pike and Billy Connolly which will be shown between 8.45pm and 10pm. On Saturday, August 29, get the family together for a screening of Paddington between 8.45pm and 10.45pm. Then on Sunday, August 30, see Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit starring Chris Pine at 8.45pm. Gates open at 7.30pm for picnics. Tickets for all events are £8 for adults, £4 for children and £20 for a family (two adults and two children). As these events are weather dependant, tickets will only be available from the gate on the night.

Watch Mermaids at Knoll Beach in Studland and tuck into some fish and chips on Saturday, August 15. Tickets are £15 and with 40 available in advance by calling 01929 450500. More tickets will be available in advance on the day if weather is good but there is also a plan b if it rains.


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Get your weekend off with a bang in Bournemouth on Friday nights throughout the summer until August 28. Fireworks take place over Bournemouth Pier at 10pm. 

There are fireworks, live music and entertainment at Summer Breeze on the Quay on Poole Quay. The event takes place every Thursday throughout the summer from 7pm with fireworks at 10pm. 

Outdoor events

Bournemouth’s award winning Lower Gardens will be beautifully transformed by thousands of tea lights on August 5, 12, 19 and 26. The candles will be lit at dusk and the enchanting displays will represent anything from animals to cartoons. Twinkling away in the summer night, the lights will provide a magic feel to the gardens. Bournemouth’s Candlelight Nights began in 1896 when Princess Eugenie of France visited the town.

Bournemouth’s open air art exhibition, displaying the best artwork of Bournemouth artists, is open up at Pine Walk in the Lower Gardens until Sunday September 6. The artwork is available to buy and open to other artists, painters, sculptors and photographers to enjoy. The 2015 exhibition will be taking place from 9.30am to 5pm daily, weather dependent.

Witness an ever-changing line up of classic cars on the promenade dating from 1915 to the early 1980s on West Overcliff Promenade behind the Bournemouth International Centre. The displays are taking place every Sunday throughout the summer excluding the 23 August.

Join in a free dance class on the terraces over the summer with Pavilion Dance. On selected dates until August 28, there will be a variety of classes on offer including street dance for children, Bollywood, salsa, funk, ceilidh and even a 1940s social dance. On Friday, August 7 learn African dance, then on Saturday, August 8 join in a Salsa class. Both take place between 7-9pm. Full list at

Enid Blyton's Absolutely Smashing Day of Adventures comes to Corfe Castle on Tuesday, August 11. The event at the castle that inspired Blyton's Kirrin Island adventure, takes place between 10.30am and 5pm. Normal castle entry fees apply. 


Fun, fireworks and floats are in store at Christchurch carnival weekend on Saturday August 15 and Sunday August 16. There will be activities and a firework display on Christchurch Quay on the Saturday, with a procession leaving from the car park behind the civic offices at 2pm on the Sunday and finishing on the Quay.

The Red Arrows will be flying in for Weymouth Carnival on Wednesday, August 19. The popular event is in its 19th year and will see a procession leave the Pavilion car park at 6.30pm and finish at Lodmoor County Park. The Battle of Britain Memorial Display team will be making an appearance, plus there will be a beach stage and a carnival draw.

Carnival season comes to a close in Ringwood on Saturday September 19. There are two processions; one at 2pm and another at 7.15pm. On the village green between 12pm and 5pm there will be kids’ entertainers, face painting, stalls and more. There will also be a fun fair open between 6pm and 10pm on September 17 and 18 and from 1pm until late on the Saturday with fireworks at 9.30pm.

Shows and festivals

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Check out all our pictures from day four of the Bournemouth Air Festival 2014 on Sunday, August 31. Picture by Richard Crease

The Bournemouth Air Festival returns for its  eighth year between Thursday 20th and Sunday 23rd August. The Red Arrows will be taking to the skies for all four days of the event, plus other highlights include the ear-splitting Typhoon, the Hawk T2 Role Demo – a first for the event – and an emotional final appearance for the Avro Vulcan. Also returning will be SallyB, Twister Duo, The Blades and Spitfire. Night Air returns with dusk displays from Red Devils, O’Briens Flying Circus with Fire Flies, and solo Spitfire, Royal Navy Beat Retreat sunset ceremony and unarmed combat displays by the Royal Marines.

The Kids Fun Festival in Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens is sure to keep the little ones busy with circus skills, magic, ventriloquism and other entertaining performances. There will also be sport and games equipment for children and parents and group activities including a parachute and disco games. Takes place between August 3 and 16. 

The Great Dorset Steam Fair will return to its traditional turf in Tarrant Hinton in Blandford from September 2-6. Expect to see steam demonstrations, car and truck stunts, a World War 1 commemorative display, stalls, a fairground, heavy horses, plus there’s even a music festival. Tickets are available to buy online until August 20 and are £16.50 per day for adults and £7 per day for children and £10 for the Sunday with free entry for children up to 15-years-old. A new internal road system is being built this year to avoid a repeat of last year’s weather and mud chaos. For more visit

Verwood Rustic Fayre takes place at Potterne Park on Monday, August 31. The event is hosted by the Verwood Rotary Club in support of a number of charities. There will be classic cars on display, a car boot sale and stalls.

Cars and bikes

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Dream Machines, or more commonly known as ‘bike night’, takes place on Tuesday evenings from 6pm up until the end of September. The event will see the Quay closed to all traffic and thousands of old and new motorbikes of various models are displayed, many of which have been fitted with interesting extras.

Poole Quay is hosting Quay For My Car every Friday from 6-9pm. The event offers free entry to the quayside for car owners who fit the theme of a particular evening and people can enjoy great displays of popular car marquees.

Food and drink festivals

The popular Poole Thai Festival returns on September 5-6, bringing two days of thai culture to the whole family. Challenge your taste buds and feast your eyes on world class food and performances, treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage and there are also fantastic boxing demonstrations plus coaching for children and an amazing Lady Boy show. The fun and games start from 10am until 7pm.

A Beer and Cider Festival is being held at The Greyhound Inn at Corfe Castle between August 28 and 31. There will be live Music all weekend, pizza, fish and chips take away plus they will be open for breakfast. 


Now in its fourth year, Dorset’s On the Bus Festival will take place near Corfe Castle from Friday, August 7, to Sunday 9. The emphasis of this small festival is fun and silliness – a games arena will feature Disco Dodgeball, Leapfrog, Draughts, and a site-wide game of Scrabble. The line-up will see the likes of The Mouse Outfit, Goldie Lookin Chain, Pronghorn, Ed Cox, and Bentley Rhythm Ace (DJ set). For tickets visit

Onstage at the Pier Approach returns for a third year with a host of acts set to perform for free until Monday, August 10 including concerts from the BSO. See the full line-up here

Summer Live sees free entertainment between 5pm and 9pm from Tuesday to Saturdays in Bournemouth Square. The event features live acoustic music and art demonstrations runs until August 16. The Garden Bar is a new feature and open every day 10am-11pm. Visitors can sit outdoors or explore the themed garden huts including The Potting Shed, The Beach Hut or The Birdcage.

Hot Rize, Justin Currie of Del Amitri and Stornoway are among the acts lined-up for the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival. The three-day event runs from Thursday, August 27, until Sunday, August 30, in the beautiful setting of Purbeck Valley Farm in Harman’s Cross. Weekend and day tickets still available at

Bournemouth Air Festival is more than just amazing aerial shows. When the sun goes down, Night Air will see live music, as well as dusk displays. There will be a Power from the Sea concert with HM RM Band Collingwood on Thursday, August 20; Pop Night with Alesha Dixon, Lawson and Scouting for Girls on Friday; and Take Off featuring DJ sets on the beach on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Red Devils, Spitfire, O’Briens Flying Circus, and Fire Flies will all be doing dusk air displays.

The two-day Party in the Park is kicking off on Saturday, August 29, and Sunday 30. Ashley Cross Park will be transformed with an outdoor open air stage and live acts, such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Fearne, Drew Allen, Bump and Hustle, Ekko Band, and more will be playing. There will also be a variety of bars, children’s entertainment, crafts, and artisan market stalls to accompany the partying.

It’s back to the Summer of Love at Bestival this year. The Isle of Wight music festival will see a varied line-up featuring Missy Elliot, Duran Duran, The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Skrillex, Annie Mac, and Mark Ronson. But it’s not all about the music according to the organisers. There will also be Films in the Forest, hot tubs, rave knitting, Astro Village, and 24 hour free haircuts. The festival runs from September 10-13.

There will be live music in Saxon Square's pop-up beach bar in Christchurch between Wednesday and Sundays throughout the summer. There will also be DJs on Friday and Saturday nights and BBQ events.