From birdwatching to five-star accommodation in a time warp, here are five of our favourite islands in England.Read more...
Dorset - Calendar
Fossil-hunting, Lyme Regis
Winter is a great time for fossil hunting, when storms and rough seas urge the cliffs to release their ancient, natural treasures onto the beaches below.
Spectacular winter wading birds, Brownsea Island
Poole Harbour is home to some 40,000 winter waders, including oyster catchers, great crested grebes, shelducks, and the UK’s largest avocet colony.
Walk the South West Coast Path
The Dorset section of the UK’s longest national trail offers some of the finest scenery and access to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Late March, April, May, October and November are the best months for seeing dolphins.
Walking to Golden Cap, the highest point on England's south coast © Alexandra Richards
Bluebells and wild garlic
Explore Dorset’s ancient woodlands when they are sporting their spring finery – swathes of bluebells and wild garlic. Duncliffe Hill in the Blackmore Vale is home to some of Dorset’s finest woodland, including lime trees thought to be between 600 and 1,000 years old.
Dorset Knob throwing and Frome Valley Food Fest
Indulge your competitive streak and your inner foodie at this food festival which includes a range of sporting events featuring the traditional Dorset Knob biscuit, such as Dorset Knob throwing, Knob darts, Knob-and-spoon races and pin the Knob on the Cerne Giant.
Filly Loo, Ashmore
Dorset’s highest village celebrates the summer solstice with a bizarre festival around the village pond. Expect a Green Man, folk music and an Abbots Bromley Horn Dance – a torchlit procession of six antlered deer men, a Maid Marion, a bowman, a hobby horse and a fool.
British Beach Polo Championships, Sandbanks
A glamorous affair. Sip champagne as you watch top international polo players and ponies battle for glory on the sand against the backdrop of the English Channel. Beach volleyball, a fashion show, celebrities and exclusive after-parties make this the place to be seen.
Buckham Down Fair
August is the month for agricultural shows and country fairs around Dorset. Buckham Down Fair is a small, traditional version, where dogs and horses are the focus. It is held near Beaminster on land owned by actor Martin Clunes, who can often be seen judging classes such as ‘dog with the waggiest tail’ and ‘dog who looks most like its owner’.
Martin Clunes showing off his skills at Buckham Down Fair © Alexandra Richards
Forage for wild food
Autumn is one of the most rewarding times of year for foraging, with sloes, blackberries and mushrooms at their best.
Ride a horse on Studland Beach
Enjoy the thrill of a canter along beautiful Studland Beach. Take your own horse or head out with the team from Studland Stables (www.studlandstables.com).
Screen Bites Film Festival
Enjoy superb Dorset produce and classic films in memorable surroundings at one of Dorset’s grand houses. Period costume optional!
Christmas shopping in Sherborne
Crammed with historic buildings, Sherborne is atmospheric at any time of year but it really comes into its own during the festive season with a Christmas market, street performers and carol services at Sherborne Abbey.