There’s a wide selection of Christmas events taking place across Dorset this December, with something to keep the whole family entertained. Just a short drive from our camping and caravan site in Swanage, guests can enjoy a host of traditional activities, including craft markets, ice skating rinks and festive lighting displays.
Here we list our top pick of Christmas events to attend during your winter break in Swanage. Experience some of the best attractions across Dorset as you get in the festive this year.
Christmas After Dark at Kingston Lacy
3-5th December & 8 December – 2nd January
Follow the illuminated trail around Kingston Lacy gardens this festive season and discover the beauty of this historic Venetian Manor after dark. The event has been organised in partnership with Sony music and promises a treat for the senses with colourful light installations matched with seasonal sounds.
The grounds are adorned with twinkling lights, giant baubles, light tunnels and impressive fire gardens, which make the perfect backdrops for family photographs. The magical experience is perfect for young children or, couples looking for something a bit different, during a romantic evening out.
At the end of the evening, you can treat yourself to a Christmas tipple or a warming hot chocolate with marshmallows before heading home.
Farmer Christmas at Farmer Palmers
11th – 23rd December
There’s lots of fun to be had at Farmer Palmers this Christmas – with a variety of activities to suit children up to the age of 8. Spend a couple of hours wandering around the grounds meeting the different animals, before heading into the enchanted barn to meet ‘Farmer Christmas’ himself.
Throughout the month of December, the farm will be hosting a number of twilight sessions, allowing you to visit the farm out of hours. Children will have the opportunity to meet a panto dame and cheeky elves, as well as being able to try on a range of fancy dress.
Artisans on the Beach
27th November – 2nd January (Fridays – Sundays)
Every weekend throughout December there will be an exciting maker’s market taking place in the colourful beach huts along Swanage seafront. Enjoy a gentle stroll along the prom taking in views over the beach, before checking out the fine selection of handmade crafts and Christmas gifts. You’re bound to find some special guests to treat your loved ones at home and remind you of your holiday in Swanage!
Weymouth Steampunk Christmas
3rd – 5th December
A brand-new Christmas event is coming to Weymouth this year and it promises to be quite the festive spectacular. Over the course of the weekend, Steampunks will be taking over the historic Nothe Fort and hosting a variety of events, including a treasure hunt, rum tasting session, ball, curated market and procession.
Steampunk is an iconic movement, that combines 19th century science fiction, literature and fiction. Tickets are available to purchase online, or you can enjoy the festivities from afar as you walk around Weymouth Harbour and seafront.
18th November – 3rd January
Get your skates on this winter and head to Skate Bournemouth’s real ice-skating rink for a fun-filled family day out. First time skaters can build confidence on the ice, or you spend some time honing your skills and perfecting your technique. Sled style skating aids are available for anyone looking for a bit more support and there are special toddler sessions throughout the week. Sessions last 1 hour and pre-booking essential.
Christmas at Corfe Castle
4-5th December, 11-12th December, 18th – 23rd December and 27th – 31st December.
December is the perfect time of year to enjoy a trip to Corfe Castle. Explore the historic ruins, set in the picture-perfect village, while learning about yuletide traditions from times gone by.
The Lord of Misrule will be returning this year to provide fun-filled tours around the castle grounds. Throughout the day, he’ll encourage lots of fun and frivolity, while teaching visitors a host of traditional dances and festive games.
Christmas in Bournemouth
19th November – 2nd January
Visitors staying at Ulwell Holiday Park should take a trip to Bournemouth this festive season. Throughout December the vibrant city plays hosts to a number of Christmas attractions, including a traditional market, two story Alpine Bar and festive light display.
The streets are lined with timber clad lodges selling a range of gifts and tasty European foods. There’s a fantastic atmosphere in the air and you’ll leave feeling well and truly in the Christmas spirit. We recommend making the walk from the seafront through the square to Lansdowne roundabout. Here you’ll see a range of festive themed illuminations, including a 60ft walk through Christmas tree!
A Dorset Christmas at the Tank Museum
27th & 28th November
Head to the Tank Museum this November for a day of Christmas themed fun. There will be selection of craft stalls dotted around the venue as well as live music performances. Santa will be arriving in tank and walking throughout the museum during the day. Christmas lunch with all the trimmings will be available in the on-site café.
The event is being hosted in Partnership with Dorset Food & Drink and the Dorset Team – a network of local Etsy sellers.
Swanage Railway Steam & Lights
Select dates from 27th November – 31st December
If you’re looking for something a bit different during your festive break at our Dorset holiday park this year, then we highly recommend an evening trip on one of Swanage Railway’s steam trains. Throughout December they will be running a special night time service, boasting carriages adorned with brightly coloured Christmas lights.
The hour-long round trip will pass the historic ruins of Corfe Castle and key points along the journey will be illuminated. The carriage interiors will be decorated and on-board music and an informative commentary will be played throughout.
This is an incredibly popular event and pre-booking is essential to secure your spot.
Christmas Drive in Movies
17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st December
Enjoy a festive film this Christmas at the Drive in Movie theatre in Christchurch. Over the course of December, a range of family favourites are being shown, including Elf, Home Alone, The Holiday, Love Actually and The Polar Express. This unique activity is great fun and is bound to be a hit with the children. There are toilet facilities on site and you can even get milkshakes, pizzas, burgers and crepes delivered straight to your car!
RSPB Arne Christmas Market
RSPB Arne will be hosting their annual Christmas market on 4th December this year. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon browsing the stalls while sampling a glass of mulled cider in the picturesque woodland setting.
After you’ve stocked up gifts you can tackle one of the footpaths that meanders around the nature reserve. Depending on which route you take, you can enjoy views over Brownsea Island and catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.
Rudolph’s Reindeer Roundup at Durlston Country Park
18th December – 3rd January
Durlston Country Park is one of our favourite attractions in Swanage and a must visit if you’re staying in our self-catering accommodation. Every year they host a wide range of Christmas activities and events, which take place in scenic grounds overlooking the Jurassic Coast.
Rudolph’s Reindeer Dash is a great fun for families with young children. Younger members of the family can spend time searching for Santa’s reindeer hiding around the park. Little ones that find them all will win a prize.
Swanage Christmas Market
Swanage’s Christmas market is back for 2021 and we couldn’t be more excited to see it return. This annual event is always great fun, with plenty of stalls selling gifts, crafts food and drink.
Father Christ will also be in attendance!
Ulwell Holiday Park is an idyllic base for a winter getaway this festive season. Enjoy a cosy break in one of our luxury caravan holiday homes or spacious touring pitches and make happy family memories to cherish for years to come.