THE Dorset Seafood Festival returns today for the first time since 2019 and there are several new features on the line-up.

The popular festival, which was cancelled last year due to coronavirus restrictions, is back this weekend and will be held on the Weymouth Peninsular for the first time, having taken place on the harbourside in the past.

Visitors, who for the first time need to have tickets, can expect two days of delicious food, great entertainment and educational talks as organisers introduce new features on the line-up.

The weather forecast is dry, with some sunshine and cloud, and temperatures are expected to be in the high teens at 19 degrees celcius today and 18 degrees celcius tomorrow.

Dorset Echo: Caroline Drever from Dorset Shellfish Picture: In The Bag PRCaroline Drever from Dorset Shellfish Picture: In The Bag PR

The key highlights of this year's festival include:

The BLUE Seas marquee, a brand new feature for 2021. With the spotlight often on our beautiful coast, it is hard to always understand how we can eat seafood sustainably. Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) is a global marine conservation charity working to promote marine protected areas and sustainable fisheries.

BLUE will be hosting a series of speakers, videos and question and answer sessions throughout the weekend in the BLUE Seas marquee.

School of Fish, a free kids cookery workshop. The activity is available to pre-book for children attending the festival with their parents.

Depending on age, participants will learn how to prepare anything from mackerel pate to fish curry with flatbread.

The Fish Mish Zone. Meet some officers from charity the Fishermen's Mission and try your hand at net making.

The Harbour Stage is being hosted by curing and smoking expert, author and presenter Steven Lamb. Joining Steven on stage is Nigel Bloxham chef proprietor of the award-winning Crab House Cafe and Billy Winters, Mike Naidoo of Weymouth’s brand new Catch at the old Fishmarket, John Wright, naturalist and author of all things foraged, Ian Salmon head chef of Rick Stein in Sandbanks, and we have a double act from Rockfish, Kirk Gosden, group chef director, and Weymouth head chef Marcin.

Dorset Echo: Dorset Seafood Festival returns on September 11 and 12 Picture: In The Bag PRDorset Seafood Festival returns on September 11 and 12 Picture: In The Bag PR

The Bay Stage will feature beer and cheese tasting sessions with Mark Woodhouse from brewery Hall & Woodhouse.

Live music. Finnian, a Dorset singer, will entertain audiences with a mix of sea shanty and folk music. Dorset Wrecks, a vocal group, will be singing sea shanties to entertain and Carley Varley will be singing cover songs.

For 2021, festival organisers are highlighting lobster. To celebrate National Lobster Day, which takes place on September 25, organisers at the Dorset Seafood Festival are making the sea creature the centre of attention at this weekend's extravaganza.

The Fish Auction. Towards the end of both days will be the fish auction. All the money raised from the auctions will be donated to the Fishermen’s Mission.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.dorsetseafood.co.uk