Dorset is a farming County, its landscape has hardly changed in 100 years. Country Fairs here in Dorset, are a fabulous day out for the whole family and offer experiences of days gone by. With a long list of rural events large and small to choose from, we recommend the best family fairs.
Perhaps the largest and most well known Fair is The Great Dorset Steam Fair (GDSF), which takes place between Thursday 25th August- Monday 29th August. If you are looking for a fun-packed weekend or even just a day out for the whole family, Great Dorset Steam Fair is the place to be. The Great Dorset Steam Fair is one of the most popular events in Dorset with people visiting from all over country. There is definitely something for everyone, whether you are a collector, a music fan, a food lover, a camper or just simply on holiday in Dorset. One of the country’s largest travelling modern funfairs will also be on site, making GDSF a great place to be… especially for teenagers and children. Tickets are more expensive than other but it is the largest, 2015 prices started from £17pppd, however look online as there are offers for two for one tickets. Arrive early as queues can be lengthy. If the weather is poor, the Steam Fair can get muddy and would then not be recommended for wheelchairs or buggies.
Melplash Agricultural Show is another country fair not to be missed. Taking place on Thursday 25th August (towards the end of the school summer holidays) it is a great day out for both children and adults. Children can wander around the grounds (accompanied by an adult of course) and enjoy looking at the variety of animals on display. Whilst stood near to the ‘Spectators Ring’, you will be able to watch the gun dogs perform as well as placing bets during the ferret racing.. I am sure children as well as adults will like to take part in this! In the ‘Main Ring’ there will be entertainment throughout the day. This year there will even be a motorcycle stunt show! Certainly a show that will wow the crowd. Banking is available on site and for those of you wanting to buy tickets at reduced prices, buying them online will be the best option. For example; The Melplash Agricultural Show- if you buy them online, you will only pay £14 but, if you buy them on the day you will pay £16. That will save you an extra £2 that you can then spend on ice cream!
Dorchester County Show (weekend 3rd Sept) is ideal for animal lovers with showjumping, horse shows, livestock shows, working dog displays and small animal classes. This traditional country show has grown into a weekend spectacular. You can enjoy a variety of displays, local music, local fayre, craft displays, tractor displays, fair for the children and lots of shopping. Tickets are around £16pp but kids go free. Again arrive early to avoid the queues and enjoy the whole day.
Not wanting to leave your four-legged friend at home? Not to worry, we have a wide variety of cottages that accept pets. Even better knowing that dogs are allowed on site at many of the country fairs. Be warned, country fairs can get very busy and smaller dogs may not enjoy the crowd.
Which Dorset show would we recommend for families?
We love the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show – a huge event with a family vibe. I loved the baby feeding/change facilities – which other shows have now adopted. There are private tents to breastfeed and nappy change.
Should you take a picnic?
There are many different types of food/drink for sale at these shows, obviously the prices will be a little higher than if you were to buy it from your local chip shop or supermarket but, enjoying the food with the fantastic atmosphere that the shows provide, simply couldn’t be beaten. If you would rather not pay those prices or wait in the queues, bringing your own picnic is an option as there are plenty of places to sit down to enjoy your food/drink.