Dorset is set to officially welcome the festive season.

Towns and villages across the county are preparing for Christmas by holding Christmas markets and switching on the festive lights.

We have compiled a list of the Christmassy events to help you fill your stockings.

Dorchester Christmas Cracker:

The cracker will be held on Sunday, December 10, from 11am to 4pm.

There will be Christmas entertainment, Santa in a camper, the Santa Hat Parade, classic cars and loads of festive spirit.

The streets will be full of stalls and entertainment on High West and East Street which will be closed to traffic.

Stalls have been fully booked, and there will be more than 120 festive traders.

Brewery Square light switch on and Christmas market:

The team at the Dorchester venue is inviting guests to head down and watch the annual light-up on Saturday, November 25, from 5pm to 6.30pm.

A sleigh-load of activities will be taking place to coincide with the big event including the return of the ice-skating rink, live music, some fantastic performances and even surprise visits.

There will also be a festive Christmas market to get visitors in the Christmas spirit which will fill the square on Saturday, December 16 from 12pm to 7pm complete with live music from a Whitney Houston tribute act.

Shire Hall Christmas Market in Dorchester: 

This free-to-enter market will host over 30 businesses, selling everything from food and drink to jewellery and photography.

Market stalls will be spread across Shire Hall, from the café and exhibition rooms to the historic courthouse and cells.

It will be held on Saturday and Sunday, November 25 and 26 from 10am to 4pm.

Poundbury Christmas Market: 

The Poundbury Christmas market returns this year to Crown Square on Saturday, December 2 between 10am and 4pm.

Last year’s market welcomed 85 independent traders to the square, and this year the number is set to reach 100.

Dorset Echo: The Christmas market hosted 85 stalls last year

Road closures will be put in place for the safety of visitors, residents and traders and will come into effect from Friday, December 1 at 5.30pm to Saturday, December 2 at 6pm.

Dorset Food & Drink Christmas Fair at Athelhampton House & Gardens:

Held on Saturday, November  25 and Sunday, November 26 from 10am to 3pm at Athelhampton House & Gardens this Christmas event is for the foodies.

Presented by Dorset Food & Drink it features a curated line-up of its members and guest stallholders, selling locally made food, drink, and artisanal gifts.

Tickets are booked via the Athelhampton website.

Weymouth Christmas light turn on and Elf Street Party:

The big switch-on will take place on Saturday, November 25 - and will see the introduction of festive lighting installed on the seafront near Greenhill Gardens as well as in the town centre.

There will be street entertainers in the town centre between 10am and 4pm and stage entertainment in New Bond Street from 12pm to 6pm.

This includes an elf street party and parade at 11.30am where people are encouraged to dress up as an elf, along with a host of elf-related workshops and a Father Christmas grotto.

At 5pm the town’s Christmas lights will officially be switched on from the main stage in New Bond Street.

Christmas Market at Abbey Farm:

A Christmas market will be held at Abbey Farm in Abbotsbury on November 25 and 26.

Entry is free and the market will be open from 11am to 4pm on both days. 

The weekend will showcase the talents of local makers, crafters, bakers and musicians.

Wyke Christmas Fayre:

The Wyke Christmas Fayre is back for 2023 on Sunday, December 3.

Old Wyke Square and surrounding roads will be closed. Church bells will open the fayre at 11am which continues through the day finishing at 4.30pm. 

Lots of crafts and food stalls, and local charities benefit from the proceeds.

Broadmayne Village Hall Christmas Market:

This market will be held on Saturday, November 25 from noon to 3pm at  Broadmayne Village Hall.

It is free to enter and will feature local crafts, games for kids and more.

Christmas Fayre at St Nicholas' Church:

St. Nicholas Church and St. Laurence Church are holding their combined Christmas Fayre at St. Nicholas Church, Dorchester Road.

It will be held on Saturday, November 25 from 10am to 3pm with a wide range of stalls, raffle, hot and cold refreshments.

Crossways Youth Centre Christmas Fayre:

Stalls, crafts a raffle and cakes will be on sale at this fayre at the Crossways Youth Centre.

It will be held on Sunday, November 26 from 10am to 3pm.