7 unusual Dorset festivals in early September

Wellbeing by the Lake, a five-day festival in the tranquil surroundings of Sculpture by the Lakes

Wellbeing by the Lake, a five-day festival in the tranquil surroundings of Sculpture by the Lakes - Credit: ZacharyCulpin/BNPS

Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival: Internationally acclaimed cellist Natalie Clein, curates this festival in her home county (September 2 – 5) performing with a stellar line-up including violinists Tamsin Waley-Cohen and Brett Dean, the Carducci Quartet, virtuoso percussionist Colin Currie, pianist Stephen Kovacevich and Natalie’s sister the actor Lousia Clein. Concerts at Durlston, Corfe Castle, Kingston and Dorset County Museum, include works by Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms, Debussy and Ravel. There’s also a free Children’s Concert (pre-book). picmf.org 

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Bournemouth Air Festival: This award-winning and internationally renowned event offers a thrilling four days (September 2 – 5) of entertainment in the air, on the land and at sea. It's a fantastic opportunity so see some of the world's most powerful and agile aircraft at the UK's largest air festival. During the festival, spectators can enjoy sea-based events, static displays as well as acrobatic, historical and military air displays. Setting Bournemouth apart from other air shows, it was the first in the UK to introduce dusk flying, lighting up the sky with LEDs and fireworks. It's a free to attend event and the best views are between Bournemouth and Boscombe piers, with 1.5 miles of beach between or East Cliff above the beach. bournemouthair.co.uk 

Red Arrows display in the skies over WestBeach restaurant in Bournemouth  

Red Arrows display in the skies over WestBeach restaurant in Bournemouth - Credit: west-beach.co.uk

The Festival of Scent: Join a weekend celebration of scent at Keyneston Mill near Blandford, the creative home of Parterre Fragrances. Set within a stunning botanical garden dedicated to aromatic and scented plants used in perfume, discover the fascinating world of fragrance from September 3 -  5 with a myriad of different experiences that bring scent alive including immersive rooms, interactive exhibition spaces, talks, scented garden tours, demonstrations and mini workshops such as blending your own scent for September or whipping up a botanical inspired cocktail. In addition, two evening events (£75 pp includes three course meal) offer live Parisian Jazz, with delicious French food and wine, and themed outdoor cinema (Midnight in Paris/Chocolat). Book your tickets at keynestonmill.com 

Explore Keyneston Mill's botanical gardens filled with aromatic plants at The Festival of Scent 

Explore Keyneston Mill's botanical gardens filled with aromatic plants at The Festival of Scent - Credit: keynestonmill.com

Wellbeing by the Lakes: From movement classes to sound baths, healing therapies to art workshops – discover all of this and more at Wellbeing by the Lake, a five-day festival in the tranquil surroundings of Sculpture by the Lakes near Dorchester. Festival-goers can create a bespoke experience from a packed programme of wellness activities and events, pre-bookable separately, as well as enjoy the expert talks and author sessions, guided meditations, curated marketplace, and access to the award-winning sculpture park, café and art gallery which are included in the daily ticket price of £12.50. The festival runs from September 8 to 12, 10am to 6pm each day. Book at wellbeingbythelakes.co.uk 

A group yoga session at Wellbeing by the Lakes in Dorset 

A group yoga session at Wellbeing by the Lakes in Dorset - Credit: Ellie Smeaton

Swanage Folk Festival: During the weekend of September 10 – 12, Swanage will fill up with hundreds of colourful dancers and the streets will resonate to the sound of bells jingling, sticks thwacking and excellent music. This friendly folk festival by the sea features dance and music workshops and displays as well as toe-tapping concerts from the likes of the Churchfitters, Harbottle & Jonas, Jon Boden and Ninebarrow. Swanagefolkfestival.com 

Dorset's Ninebarrow perform at the Swanage Folk Festival

Dorset's Ninebarrow perform at the Swanage Folk Festival - Credit: Greg Funnell 2020

Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival: This award-winning celebration of local seafood has a new date, September 11- 12, and a new location on the Weymouth Peninsula, at the very end of Weymouth’s beautiful sandy beach. Enjoy spanking fresh fish from streetfood stalls, watch local seafood heroes cooking up a storm of delicious fishy dishes and immerse yourself in a world of shellfish and seaweed nibbles. To ensure the safety of festival-goers entry is by ticket only. dorsetseafood.co.uk 

Foraging legend John Wright with some of his seashore nibbles

Foraging legend John Wright shares his seaweed knowledge at the Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival - Credit: Travel Trunk

Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival: This award-winning festival, held in the Blackmore Vale town that was one of the main hubs for Dorset’s cheese making industry, is a glorious cheese, beer and cider filled celebration packed with food stalls, craft stalls alongside cheese making, cheese tasting, cookery demos and cheese related events...in fact there's more cheesy stuff than you could shake a chutney spoon at. Runs September 11- 12.  A proper Dorset day out. cheesefestival.co.uk 

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