We showcase the key events taking place across Dorset to get you in the festive spirit.

Great British Life: The Ridgeway Singers and Band. Photo: Jane TearleThe Ridgeway Singers and Band. Photo: Jane Tearle

Christmas 2023 in Dorchester and Poundbury

Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair

Athelhampton House near Dorchester hosts this popular annual event (Nov 25-26, 10am -3pm) featuring a mouth-watering array of Dorset food, drink, and artisanal gifts. It’s a great way to support your local producers and find some fabulous made in Dorset gifts. Prebook advised, under 12s free. athelhampton.com/events

Skating in the Square

Get your skates on for the return of Skating in The Square (book now at skatinginthesquare.co.uk runs until Dec 31) which kicks-off on Saturday, November 25 in Dorchester’s Brewery Square with live music, entertainment and late-night shopping. brewerysquare.com

Shire Hall Christmas Market

Free to enter, this market features 30 local businesses, selling everything from food and drink to jewellery and photography. Market stalls spread across Shire Hall Museum, from the café and exhibition rooms to the historic courthouse and cells. November 25 – 26 (10am – 4pm). For an extra special treat, you can book Breakfast with Father Christmas here (Dec 20,21 & 22, slots between 10am and midday). shirehalldorset.org

Poundbury Christmas Market

Happening on Small Business Saturday, December 2, this fabulous market in Crown Square showcases food, drink, crafts and gifts from artisan businesses across the county. Browse over 100 stalls including Lizzie the Baking Bird, The Book & Bucket Cheese Company, From Dorset With Love, Ridgeway Potters Collective and The Seaweed People. poundburychristmasmarket.co.uk

Dorchester Christmas Cracker

December 10 is Dorchester’s all-day festive celebration (11am – 4pm) with Father Christmas, Santa Hat Parade, live music, festive food and drink. Browse 80 stalls along High West Street, pop into the Christmas Craft Fayre in the Corn Exchange with over 50 local artisans, then admire classic cars on High East Street. facebook.com/dorchesterchristmascracker

Festive Shows at the Corn Exchange

In Snow Angel (Dec 8) Charlie Bicknell and Louise Innes combine gloriously dark humour with festive mashups from Frozen to the John Lewis Christmas Ad. Snow Play (Dec 9,11am) is a smash-hit production aimed at younger theatre goers where Winter and Spring fight over who must go away. This Christmas (Dec 16 & 17) is a romantic comedy about love in later life. Noël! Noël! is Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir’s celebration of the Christmas season with uplifting music and readings (Dec 20). dorchesterarts.org.uk

Christmas in the Courtroom

Join the New Hardy Players for a feast of seasonal entertainment in the evocative surroundings of the Shire Hall Museum. Local and well-known Christmas carols, midwinter poetry from Thomas Hardy and William Barnes, dramatic scenes from The Mayor of Casterbridge and Under the Greenwood Tree, plus a Christmas Mummers play. December 14-15. Book at shirehalldorset.org

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To Keep Old Christmas Up!

One of the highlights of a Dorset Christmas is the Ridgeway Singers & Band’s December concert featuring Dorset carols, folksongs, dance tunes, local poems and stories to celebrate midwinter and the festive season. This group specialises in performing the old gallery carols made famous by Thomas Hardy in his novel Under the Greenwood Tree and is led by renowned serpent player and Mellstock Band member Phil Humphries, and actor/folk musician Tim Laycock, artistic director of the New Hardy Players. Concerts at St Nicholas’ Church, Abbotsbury (Dec 8), Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham (Dec 10) and Dorford Centre, Dorchester (Dec 20). Tickets ridgewaysingersandband.org/01305 262159

Great British Life: Courtney Jackson is the Fairy Godmother in the Tivoli's panto Cinderella. (Photo: Supplied by Made to Measure Productions)Courtney Jackson is the Fairy Godmother in the Tivoli's panto Cinderella. (Photo: Supplied by Made to Measure Productions)

Christmas 2023 in Wimborne Minster

Festive Shopping Evening

Enjoy a mulled wine in the Museum of East Dorset’s Kitchen before browsing the indoor makers market of hand-crafted wares and meet the local artisans who made them. Live music 6.30 – 7pm. Tickets limited, booking essential. Doors open 5pm. November 30. museumofeastdorset.co.uk/events/

Santa at the Museum

Follow the festive trail around the Museum of East Dorset, have a go at some Christmas crafts and write a letter to Santa before you meet the big guy himself who has taken up residence in the Garden Room where he tells a story and gives every child a gift. Booking essential. December 2 & 16 at 2pm, 2.45pm & 3.30pm. museumofeastdorset.co.uk/events/

A Country Christmas

Caroline Butler and Dave Townsend of The Mellstock Band invite you to join them for an evening of festive songs and music celebrating country customs and local traditions, linked by seasonal stories and extracts from the works of Thomas Hardy and others. December 14. museumofeastdorset.co.uk/events/

Christmas Fairs

@DorsetTeam is a community of over 1000 designers, makers, artists, artisans, vintage sellers and craft suppliers from across Dorset who sell on Etsy.com. Their Christmas Fair is on December 2-3, while Handmade Wimborne Fair is on December 9 (both at Allendale Centre). The Christmas Arts & Crafts Show at Pamphill Parish Hall (December 15-17) features paintings, cards and handmade crafts from Wimborne Art Club. wimborneartclub.org

Handmade Wimborne

This well-established craft fair takes over Walford Mill, off Stone Lane, from November 15 until December 17. During their residency this Grade II listed mill is transformed into a twinkling grotto where a selection of talented local makers will sell their work to the public. Closed Monday/Tuesday. walfordmillcrafts.co.uk

Christmas Shows

Twisted Christmas from ‘Owdyado Theatre features Inside No. 9 style micro-plays such as why you should never turn your back on a panto dame (Dec 1), in direct antithesis is the Best Ever Christmas Show (Dec 15 –24), both at The Minster Theatre, Allendale Centre. Cinderella is Made-To-Measures Production’s enchanting family panto, starring Courtney Jackson as the Fairy Godmother, at the Tivoli Theatre (Dec 15 – Jan 1). theallendale.org/tivoliwimborne.co.uk

Christmas Parade

The Save the Children Christmas Parade, on December 9, is famous for its fabulous floats, live bands and vintage tractors. The parade starts from Brook Road at 2pm, then over the next hour wends its way through town, with volunteers walking alongside with collection buckets for donations to this charity, finishing at the square. wmborne.info

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Christmas Choral Concert

Locally based choir Vivamente Voices serenade with a captivating selection of traditional and contemporary Christmas songs by candlelight at Canford School on December 20. They are joined by the multi-award-winning Dorset barbershop group Chromatix Quartet. Book at vivamentevoices.co.uk.

Great British Life: Enjoy festive tunes at the BSO Christmas Cracker at The Exchange. (Photo:BSO)Enjoy festive tunes at the BSO Christmas Cracker at The Exchange. (Photo:BSO)

Christmas 2023 in Sturminster Newton 

Make Stur Sparkle

Sturminster Newton’s Christmas countdown starts on November 24 with late night shopping. The following day activities include the Anonymous Travelling Market, a Christmas Market at The Exchange, Lantern Parade to St Mary’s Church and William Barnes School Choir. Father Christmas is in residence at 1855 (also on Dec 2, 9, 16 & 23) on Market Cross which has a dazzling array of over 60 traders. Christmas tree lights are switched on at 5pm. sturminster-newton.org.uk

The Christmas Tree Festival

St Mary’s Church in Church Street hosts this sparkling gathering of decorated Christmas trees from Friday November 24 (6 – 8pm, late night shopping), Saturday (10am–8pm) and then 10am – 4pm daily until December 1. All the trees are imaginatively decorated by local groups, charities and organisations.

Handmade for Christmas

The Workhouse Chapel on Bath Road hosts this annual selling event which runs until December 24. For two months each year this unassuming little Victorian Chapel, home to a gallery, artists’ studios and workshops, metamorphoses into a glowing beacon of hope for those who dread Christmas shopping. Featuring over 70 local makers from across Dorset and beyond browse jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glass, cards, artwork and decorations. Open every day 9.30am-4.30pm. workhousechapel.co.uk

A Christmas Carol

Living Spit brings their ‘alternative’ comic Christmas show to The Exchange on November 30. Hilarious, tender, idiotic and musically virtuosic by turns, Living Spit’s two-man adaptation of A Christmas Carol promises a feast of festive foolery that’ll have you crying with laughter. stur-exchange.co.uk

BSO Christmas Cracker

A special concert of festive favourites and magical winter music with ten musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO). Featuring classic carols, Christmas music, wintery tunes and seasonal songs to hum along to. A fun, festive concert for all ages to enjoy. December 15. stur-exchange.co.uk

Christmas Memories

Like a sparkly Christmas card that comes to life, Neil Sands and his wonderful cast bring a heart-warming afternoon of festive nostalgia to The Exchange on December 20. Step aboard a sleigh ride of yuletide memories, filled with over 60 Christmas songs and carols that will bring back happy recollections of Christmas past. stur-exchange.co.uk

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Slow and Dirty Festive Race

Looking for a festive fun run? Following the former Somerset and Dorset railway route, known as the Slow and Dirty, the North Dorset Trailway hosts this annual event on December 17, open to runners of all abilities. Starting at Sturminster Newton, the 11-mile route finishes in Spetisbury with medals and mince pies. Fancy dress encouraged. Enter at tctr.co.uk/event/

Great British Life: GreenMatthews perform their musical version of Dickens' Christmas Carol at Shaftesbury Arts Centre. (Photo: Lucas Pitcher Timelight Photographic)GreenMatthews perform their musical version of Dickens' Christmas Carol at Shaftesbury Arts Centre. (Photo: Lucas Pitcher Timelight Photographic)

Christmas 2023 in Shaftesbury and Gillingham

Shaftesbury Christmas Market

Taking place on Shaftesbury High Street on December 10 (9am-4pm), hunt down made in Dorset gifts from food and drink to handmade crafts and art, then browse some of the many fabulous independent shops this town is famous for such as Folde Dorset, Mine Boutique, Pamplemousse, Willow and The Botanical Candle Co. theatm.co.uk

Magic of Christmas Food and Craft Fair

Held at Riversmeet Leisure Centre, Hardings Lane in Gillingham, browse stalls selling handmade items, from bath products, candles and art to cheese, cakes, beer and gin. Choirs will be singing festive tunes as you shop to get you into the Christmas vibe. November 26, 10am to 3.30pm. Free entry.

Advent Cookery Demo

Laura Pope of The Dorset Kitchen at Longbray House, Motcombe near Shaftesbury shares Christmas recipes inspired by her time living in France and Spain, along with some German bakes discovered during Christmas visits to family including edible tree decorations, festive biscuits, and Christmas nibbles. November 24, 10am –1pm. Cost £59. Book at laurapope.co.uk

Gillingham Crafts Artisan Christmas

Held at Shaftesbury Town Hall, this is a one-stop shop for locally made Christmas gifts. The hall will be filled with handmade products from artisans, crafters and bakers from across the local area. Seek out unusual presents, stocking fillers, decorations for the tree or table, or even a little treat for yourself! December 17, 10am – 4.30pm. Free entry.

Christmas Willow Weaving Workshop

Yanina Stockings leads these two wreath workshop at Shaftesbury Arts Centre which starts with making a large round base from freshly harvested willow. Then build your wreath using a combination of greenery, dried oranges, lime, grapefruit, apple, star anise, cinnamon sticks, fir cones and juniper to create a Christmas wreath that smells and looks fabulous. Festive snacks and a glass of mulled wine included (age 16+). December 9 at 9.30am and 1.30pm. Cost £49. Book via shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk

A Christmas Carol in Concert

This retelling of Dickens’ festive tale by modern-day balladeers Green Matthews (Chris Green and Sophie Matthews), at Shaftesbury Arts Centre, takes it back to its Victorian fireside roots, painting a vivid and evocative picture of Dickens’ world. Its magical blend of new lyrics, traditional midwinter English folk tunes and carols brilliantly illustrates the transformation of flinty-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge into the epitome of the Christmas spirit. December 16 at 7.30pm. shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk

Christmas Wreath Workshop

Shaftesbury’s floral boutique Bright Blooms leads these three Christmas wreath workshops at The Grosvenor Arms where you will create a fabulous bespoke festive wreath to take home. All materials are supplied and there’s a glass of fizz on arrival at this event. Cost £60pp. Places limited, dates November 30 (6.30pm), December 2 & 3 (midday). Book at grosvenorarms.co.uk/events

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Santa’s Christmas Wish

This is the Christmas show where every child gets a present from Santa... but what would Santa like for Christmas? Help Dotty the Elf and her friends discover what’s on Santa’s Christmas wish list in this fun musical adventure, then meet Santa at his home in the North Pole which has been magically transported to Shaftesbury Arts Centre! December 20 at 2pm. shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk

Great British Life: Pull a Pine event at RSPB Arne Nature Reserve (Photo: Terry Bagley/rspb-images.com)Pull a Pine event at RSPB Arne Nature Reserve (Photo: Terry Bagley/rspb-images.com)

Christmas 2023 in Wareham and Lyme Regis

Christmas Markets

Christmas at the Yard at Purbeck Artisan Yard on Church Street (Nov 25-26) offers locally made gifts to go under the tree, or in a stocking. Christmas Street Market (Dec 9) on North Street features stalls selling everything from handmade soaps to dog treats. purbeckartisanyard.co.uk/wareham-tc.gov.uk

Wareham Christmas Parade

The Christmas Parade on December 10 (from 4.45pm) is when Santa arrives in his golden boots on the roof of the Red Lion Hotel. After disappearing down its chimney, he’s at his Town Hall grotto from 5.30pm. christmasinwareham.co.uk

Breakfast with Santa

The Walled Garden at Moreton invites you to join Santa and his Elf helper for breakfast (Dec 18, 21 & 22, book by Dec 1), Santa then reads a Christmas story and gives a gift to every child. Book at walledgardenmoreton.co.uk

Pull a Pine

Pick your own Christmas tree (pictured) at Pull a Pine at RSPB Arne on December 2 –3 (10am - 3pm), your pre-booked ticket (adults: £12.75 RSPB member, £15.75 non-member) allows you to pull trees for friends and family. Free festive crafting, live music, outdoor kitchen. Book at bit.ly/PullaPine23

Christmas Carnival

Christmas lights switch on is on November 25 with the Christmas Illuminated Carnival parade at 5pm, including the parade of lanterns, majorettes and Father Christmas, coming down Broad Street to the Christmas tree at Bell Cliff followed by the switch on of the lights. lymechristmaslights.co.uk

Festive Shows at Marine Theatre

Living Spit perform their hilarious spin on A Christmas Carol (pictured) with more Dickensian daftness than you can shake a selection box at (Nov 28). Perfect for families, Santa’s Christmas Wish which asks what would Santa love for Christmas? After the show meet Santa and receive a present (Dec 4. 4.30pm). marinetheatre.com

Christmas Tree Festival

Held in the Pine Hall at Lyme Regis Baptist Church on Sherborne Lane, meander through a mini forest of sparkling trees adorned with decorations to reflect the theme of the local groups and organisations who have decorated them (Dec 15-17). Santa will be here on December 16. Book your slot at santalymeregis.co.uk

The Lyme Lunge

Organised by Lyme Regis Rotary Club, this New Year’s Day fancy dress swim takes place on the sandy beach from 1pm and aims to raise money for charity. Thousands of spectators watch on the beach and in the gardens above. An exhilarating way to start the New Year. whatsoninlyme.co.uk

Great British Life: Step aboard The Polar Express at Swanage Railway. (Image: The Polar Express Train Ride/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc)Step aboard The Polar Express at Swanage Railway. (Image: The Polar Express Train Ride/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc)

Christmas 2023 in Swanage

Lights and Markets

The switch is flicked on Swanage’s festive lights on November 24 (3pm - 4.30pm) kick starting the town’s Christmas events. On December 3 there’s the Christmas Market at Swanage & Herston Football Club (10am-1pm) and the Swanage Christmas Street Market on Station Road (10am –4pm) where you can browse gifts, crafts, food and drink, and Santa Claus will be coming to town! swanagerotary.org

Artisans on the Beach

A fine Swanage tradition, around 30 beach-huts on Swanage Shore Road are taken over by local crafters and tradespeople over the Christmas season (Nov 25 –Dec 31). Selling everything from collages, photography and paintings, to vintage and retro, cushions, coasters and felt goods, there's no shortage of locally made gifts. Open Friday to Sunday weather permitting. Facebook.com/ArtisansOnTheBeach

Christmas Tree Festivals

Find inspiration for decorating your tree at St Aldhelm Benefice Christmas Tree Festival at St George’s Church, Langton Matravers (Dec 2-4) and the Purbeck Christmas Tree Festival at the Emmanuel Baptist Church on Victoria Avenue, Swanage (Dec 7-9).

Festive Shows

Karen G’s Christmas Show of festive songs (Dec 1), Snow Angel festive cabaret (Dec 9) and Santa’s Christmas Wish (Dec 19, 2pm) are all at The Mowlem Theatre. Carols and seasonal music can be heard at Swanage Bandstand on December 13 at 7.30pm. themowlem.com

Durlston Country Park’s Crazy Christmas

Get your kids to help Santa save Christmas and burn off some energy in the Crazy Christmas Children’s Activity Trail (Dec 14 – Jan 2). There’s also a Kids Christmas Drawing Workshop with Mark Page featuring robins and reindeer (Dec 19, ages 7+ book at durlston.co.uk). To join the Christmas Fancy Dress 5k Park Run (Dec 23, 9am) register at parkrun.org.uk.

Christmas on Swanage Pier

The Lighting up Lives Illuminations can be admired from December 8 on Swanage Pier which is hosting a wide variety of festive activities between December 9 – 23, including a visit from Father Christmas and his donkeys! swanagepiertrust.com

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All Aboard The Polar Express

The award-winning Swanage Railway has a brand-new festive experience The Polar Express Train Ride. Inspired by the blockbuster film The Polar Express, where a young boy boards a mysterious train to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus, step aboard The Polar Express at Swanage Railway and be transported into the enchanting world of this beloved Christmas movie with its decorated carriages, singing and dancing waiters and other characters from the film. The Polar Express runs from November 17 to December 30. Book at SeeTickets.com

Great British Life: Admire award-winning Christmas displays at Castle Gardens in Sherborne. (Photo: Lucy Saunders / The Gardens Group)Admire award-winning Christmas displays at Castle Gardens in Sherborne. (Photo: Lucy Saunders / The Gardens Group)

Christmas 2023 in Sherborne

Sherborne Festive Shopping Day

Run by Sherborne Chamber of Trade & Commerce this year’s event on Sunday, December 3 (10am–4pm) includes stalls along Cheap Street, Abbey Road, Half Moon Street and Digby Road. Browse Sherborne’s legendary range of independent shops and farmers’ market. Lights are switched on at 4pm. See Santa in his grotto, then swing by the award-winning Christmas display at Castle Gardens, a five-minute drive or easy stroll from the town centre. facebook.com/SherborneFestiveShopping/

Leweston Christmas Market

Leweston School hosts their Christmas market in the Manor House on December 1 (1-5.30pm) featuring a wide variety of local produce, suppliers and crafts people who will be selling art, clothing, homeware, jewellery, gifts, toys, sweets, Christmas trees and more. leweston.co.uk/events

Christmas at the Abbey

Sherborne Abbey is at the heart of town life, especially at Christmas. Sherborne Chamber Choir Advent Concert (Dec 2, 7.30pm), Festive Shoppers Carols (afternoons of Dec 3 & 17), the Christingle Service (Dec 10, 5pm), Christmas Concert (Dec 11, 7.30pm), the Abbey Festival of Lesson & Carols (Dec 17, 5pm), Crib Services and Lighting of the Tree (Dec 24, 3pm & 5pm). sherborneabbey.com

Sherborne Market

Proudly flying the flag for local since 2019, this monthly market features over 170 local artisans, crafters, and food producers. Stalls pop up around Cheap Street, Sherborne’s main street, which is lined with independent shops, Abbey Road (for fabulous suitcase stalls), Half Moon Street (art, food, crafts and vintage finds), Digby Road and Pageant Gardens (street food stalls). The Christmas one is on December 17. thesherbornemarket.com

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Castle Garden’s Christmas Displays

Sherborne’s Castle Gardens is famous for its multi-award-winning Christmas displays where Louise and her team from The Gardens Group wow visitors with a wonderland of themed rooms, filled with twinkly lights, sparkly baubles and shiny ornaments all carefully sourced and featuring natural, Fair Trade or recycled materials from UK suppliers, many local to Somerset and Dorset. thegardensgroup.co.uk

Great British Life: The Narthen Trio perform Icicles and Inglenooks at Blandford Parish Church. (Photo: narthen.info)The Narthen Trio perform Icicles and Inglenooks at Blandford Parish Church. (Photo: narthen.info)

Christmas 2023 in Blandford Forum

Blandford Yuletide Festival

Christmas festivities in Blandford Forum get underway on December 1 (5-9pm) with late-night shopping as well as food and craft stalls. A Lantern Parade led by Father Christmas is followed by the mayor turning on the town’s Christmas Tree lights, after which Father Christmas will be receiving visitors in his grotto at the Corn Exchange. There will also be a laser light show. blandford-yuletide-festival.org.uk

Christmas Tree Trail

Each Christmas tree has been decorated by a different school, community group or business, and visitors are invited to vote for their favourite. School decorated trees are on display in Blandford Parish Church (St Peter’s and St Paul’s on Church Lane), while local community groups’ trees are displayed in shop windows around town.

Handel’s Messiah

Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir is joined by an orchestra and a quartet of professional soloists for a performance of Handel's Messiah in Blandford's beautiful Georgian parish church which opened in 1739 just three years before the Messiah's first performance, which was in Dublin. November 25 at 7.30pm. bschoir.org.uk

Icicles and Inglenooks

The Narthen Trio bring their uplifting music of polyphonic, unaccompanied carols from Yorkshire and beyond, as well as tunes that will make you want to dance in the aisle of Blandford Forum Parish Church. Add a few irreverent songs about pheasants and other seasonal fair, and you've got a show that'll thaw your icicles and warm your inglenooks. Performing on fiddles, viola, hammer dulcimer, diatonic accordion, hurdy gurdy and more, enjoy songs of seasonal comfort and joy from Fi Fraser, Sarah Matthews and Doug Eunson. December 8. Book at artsreach.co.uk

Festive Fun @ The Brewery

The Brewery Tap, at the Hall & Woodhouse HQ at Blandford St Mary, hosts a Christmas Market on December 2 from 10am, Santa swings by on his sleigh and there’s plenty of entertainment for families to enjoy. Julie from The English Garden Florist leads three Christmas Wreath Workshops at 10am, noon or 2pm, cost £55 (book via theenglishgardenflorist22@gmail.com or call 07876 748073). Free entry. hall-woodhousebrewerytap.co.uk

Breakfast with Santa

The Brewery Tap at the Hall & Woodhouse HQ has several festive family events including the chance to join Santa for breakfast at 9.30am, where Santa or Mrs Claus read a Christmas story and then hands out gifts (weekends in December from 9 to 24) pre-booking essential. hall-woodhousebrewerytap.co.uk/festive-events/

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Boxing Day Walks

Want to walk off some of the excesses of the season far from the madding crowd? Louis’s Blandford Strolls & Walks offer dog-friendly routes ranging from 1 ¼ miles to 9 ½ miles. Themes include Historical Blandford, and Woods, Woofs & Whinnies. Download all eight for free. visitblandford.uk/attractions

Great British Life: Join the Elf Extravaganza in Weymouth. (Photo: Supplied by We Are Weymouth)Join the Elf Extravaganza in Weymouth. (Photo: Supplied by We Are Weymouth)

Christmas 2023 in Weymouth and Portland

Elf Extravaganza

Weymouth’s Christmas countdown starts on November 25 with their Elf Extravaganza weekend featuring elf-themed activities from hat-making to writing letters to Santa. Weymouth’s Elf Parade (starts 11.30am) in St Mary Street guides Father Christmas through the town centre to New Bond Street where there is live music, Christmas lights are switched on at 5pm. So, dig out your elf outfits and join the largest Elf Street Party Dorset has ever seen! facebook.com/WeAreWeymouthUK

Steampunk Weekend

A touch of fantasy is brought to Christmas celebrations over this weekend (Dec 1-3) with Steampunk events for all the family including Ghosts of Christmas Past tours on Friday night, a Steampunk Christmas Market on Saturday (10am –4pm, Nothe Fort), The Clan Dolmen's Yule Ball, and a Steampunk Promenade on Sunday morning starting at 11am from the Jubilee Clock. weareweymouth.co.uk

Theatre Treats in Portland

The Manor Theatre’s festive shows include A Christmas Carol (Dec 14-15), and Squeezy & The Wicked Queen (Dec 16) which picks ups where Snow White ends. The seven dwarves are working in Santa’s workshop, Snow White is on a reality TV series, and the Queen has plans to ruin Christmas by poisoning Santa's reindeer. royalmanortheatre.co.uk

It’s Panto Time!

Enchanted Entertainment, the talented team behind Weymouth shows such as Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz and Rapunzel, bring their magical pantomime Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs to Weymouth Pavilion (Dec 16 – 31). Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho... it's off to the panto we go! weymouthpavilion.com

A Santa Filled Weekend

December 16 - 17 is when the man in the red suit arrives in Weymouth to pick up all those letters the children have been writing to him, Santa will be in his grotto at Cineworld for the whole weekend (10am – 4pm). On Sunday December 17 the Chase the Pudding event on Weymouth Beach (Pavilion end) is a Weymouth tradition not to be missed. Santas of all shapes and sizes chase a giant Christmas Pudding along the beach for 5km, for under 16s there’s a Chase the Elf 2km option. Enter at willmackanesstrust.org.uk/chase-the-pudding

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The Nativity Trail

During Weymouth’s Traditional Christmas weekend (Dec 9 - 10), six of Weymouth’s churches as well as businesses throughout town, come together to host scenes from the nativity story concluding in Hope Square with carols, mulled wine and mince pies, accompanied by the Salvation Army Band. The following day carol services, including the Weldmar Light a Life service, take place and the Christmas Farmers and Makers Market is in New Bond Street.

Great British Life: Christmas shopping in Bridport by Vanessa Bowman, one of her range of Dorset Christmas cards. (Image:vanessabowman.co.uk)Christmas shopping in Bridport by Vanessa Bowman, one of her range of Dorset Christmas cards. (Image:vanessabowman.co.uk)

Christmas 2023 in Bridport and West Bay

Bridport Christmas Cheer

The Christmas countdown starts with Bridport Christmas Cheer on December 6 (from 4pm) with late-night shopping, carol singing and stalls in the Town Hall, Arts Centre, South Street, East Street, West Street and Downes Street. Live music at Millennium Green and Chapel in the Garden. facebook.com/bridportchristmascheer

Symondsbury Estate Christmas Market

Starting from Friday December 1 (midday- 6pm), and running until December 3 (10am-6pm), browse a wide range of local businesses selling handcrafted food, drink and gifts, together with Symondsbury’s independent shops, offering luxury giftware, festive decorations, homeware and artisan food and drink. Live music and performances. symondsburyestate.co.uk

Art for Christmas

Radiance is a selling exhibition at Sladers Yard, West Bay with paintings by Alex Lowery, Louise Balaam, Martyn Brewster, Vanessa Gardiner, Frances Hatch, and Petter Southall’s furniture (until Jan 20/sladersyard.wordpress.com). Unwrapped: Festive Exhibition at the Sou’ Sou’ West Gallery, Symondsbury features handmade decorations, tableware, greetings cards and gift inspiration from local artists (until Jan 2/sousouwest.co.uk).

Wreath Making Workshop

Emma Dixon, the resident River Cottage Florist, leads this workshop at the Tithe Barn at Symondsbury Estate. Create your own signature yuletide wreath using holly berries, eucalyptus, spruce and rosemary. No experience necessary. Mulled wine and mince pies provided. Sessions 2- 4.30pm/6-8.30pm December 5 & 6, cost £50. Book at symondsburyestateshop.co.uk

Shows at Bridport Arts Centre

Christmas in Mellstock features festive songs from deepest Wessex, curious musical instruments and the wonderful words of Thomas Hardy and William Barnes (Nov 24). Snow Angel (Dec 2) is a shamelessly festive show with a wicked twist. A Winter’s Tail (Dec 17,11am/2pm) is a relaxed play-along theatre adventure for ages 2+ and The Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmasness (Dec 19/11.30am) is packed with crackers, carols, presents and puddings! bridport-arts.com

Shows at The Electric Palace

Join the Kings of Scrumpy ‘n’ Western in The Wurzels + Corky at Christmas (Dec 1). Wessex Military Band Winter Concert play their festive concert (Dec 3), there’s a screening of Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Dec 16). For a spooky treat try The Addams Family musical, from Bridport Young Performers (Dec 18-21). electricpalace.org.uk

Future Presents

This selling exhibition at Bridport Arts Centre in South Street brings together local and regional makers in a display of contemporary craft and design, including wood, paper, textiles, prints, photography, ceramics and jewellery plus Christmas gifts, decorations and cards. Find the perfect Dorset Christmas present whilst supporting small, local and creative businesses and craftspeople. November 25 – December 21. bridport-arts.com

Don’t Miss....

The West Bay Wallow

This popular Boxing Day fancy dress swim for charity, held within the safety of the marina (outer harbour) at West Bay, is run by Bridport Round Table, and participants can support their own individual charity. Sign in one hour prior to the midday plunge at the main slipway. westbay.co.uk/events