30 things to see and do in Dorset this August

BSO Proms in the Park at Meyrick Park in Bournemouth in Dorset

BSO Proms in the Park, an evening of music and firework in Meyrick Park - Credit: Richard Crease Photography

From Shakespeare on an island to Proms in the Park, here's our pick of open air theatre, outdoor events, fetes, fairs, shows, carnivals and exhibitions happening across Dorset

Twelfth Night on Brownsea: A pair of lost twins bring new life to the mysterious land of Illyria. Cold hearts thaw, inhibitions are abandoned and love blooms in the most unlikely places. Take a picnic and enjoy this romantic Shakespearean comedy on a magical island in Poole Harbour at this Brownsea Open Air Theatre Production. July 27 – August 12 brownsea-theatre.co.uk/tickets 

Shows, Fetes & Festivals: Swanage Carnival & Regatta (July 30 – August 6), Church Knowle Fete (August 6), Chetnole Flower Show & Fete (August 6), Stompin on The Quomps, Christchurch (August 6), Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival (August 6-13), Bridport Carnival (August 15 – 21), Burton Bradstock Festival of Music & Art (August 16-21), Gillingham & Shaftesbury Show (August 17) Purbeck Valley Folk Festival (August 18-22), Dorset Indian Mela at Poole Park (August 20), Melplash Agricultural Show (August 25), The Oak Fair at Stock Gaylard (August 27 –28). 

Colourful steam engines lined up at The Great Dorset Steam Fair after dark

The Great Dorset Steam Fair - a dazzling sight - Credit: gdsf.co.uk

The Great Dorset Steam Fair: Held at Tarrant Hinton (August 25-29), The Great Dorset Steam Fair is the world’s largest heritage festival. Watch steaming giants of the past being put through their paces, as well as showmen’s engines powering colourful carousels and swing-boats. It’s a truly dazzling spectacle. This year’s event includes Modern Classic Motorcycle section for the first time. gdsf.co.uk 

Dorset Arts & Crafts Showcase: Purbeck School, Wareham hosts this pop-up selling event with over 20 different craft sections including - beadwork, jewellery, lace, patchwork and quilting, spinning and weaving, pottery and woodwork. Guest exhibitions ‘From Fleece to Felt’, the Dorset Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, and photography from Wareham Camera Club. 'Have-a-go' Children's Workshops include making beaded geckos and Dorset buttons. August 5- 9 dorsetartsandcrafts.org 

Outdoor Theatre: Much Ado About Nothing (August 4) and Alice in Wonderland (August 12) come to Lyme Regis (marinetheatre.com). Highcliffe Castle hosts David Walliam’s Awful Auntie (August 14) and The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny (August 28/highcliffecastle.co.uk). Romeo and Juliet meet at Athelhampton House (August 13, athelhampton.com). Three Inch Fools perform Twelfth Night in Sandford Orcas (August 21/artsreach.co.uk), and The Wind in the Willows is at Maumbury Rings in Dorchester (August 26/dorchesterarts.org.uk).  

Proms in the Park: Meyrick Park host two spectacular evening concerts from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) with fireworks. The Classical Extravaganza (August 5) features works by Borodin, Rossini as well as film music from Hans Zimmer and John Williams, ending in an explosive finale with Ravel's Bolero. The Queen Symphonic Spectacular (August 6) features full rock band and singers from the West End smash hit musical We Will Rock You. Both start at 8pm. bsolive.com

Group of circus skill artists on stage at Brianfools production Lucky Pigeon

A scene from circus performers Brainfools' production of Lucky Pigeon - Credit: brainfools.com

Open-air Circus: Combining stunning circus skills with slick choreography, Brainfools bring their wonderfully wacky new show Lucky Pigeons to Dorset this month. In a karmic twist of fate, a city business man who persecutes the local pigeon population becomes one and joins their flock. August 13: Litton Cheney Hall Field at 6pm; August 14: Stalbridge Village Hall Grounds at 2pm artsreach.co.uk 

Young man pole dancing in Brainfools latest production Lucky Pigeon

Brainfools bring their aerial circus skills to Dorset this summer in Lucky Pigeon - Credit: brainfools.com

Exhibitions: In Portland artist Leon Dore explores the rocky coastline of this tied-island at Lyme Regis Museum (until September 4). In Colmers and Beyond, at Sou'-Sou'-West Arts Gallery in Symondsbury, Marion Taylor incorporates this iconic landmark into paintings and collages (August 1-14). The South West Sculptors Show, at the same gallery, features a variety of media from stone, bronze and ceramic to driftwood, mosaic, metal and glass (August 6-21). 

Colourful ceramics by Jan Dagley at an exhibition in Dorset

Jan Dagley's colourful ceramics in Art, Scent and Synaesthesia - Credit: jandagley.co.uk

Art, Scent and Synaesthesia: Keyneston Mill, at Tarrant Keyneston, is the creative home of Parterre Fragrances. Explore their Scented Botanic Gardens and estate, where they grow harvest and distil unusual plants and ingredients for their luxury perfumes. Art, Scent and Synaesthesia is an onsite exhibition featuring ceramics by Jan Dagley (until August 31). The link between perfume and synaesthesia informs the multisensory work in this colourful and vibrant exhibition. keynestonmill.com 

Click here to enter a competition to win a place at Mark Hix's dining table at his home in Charmouth in Dorset