Friends peruse the sweet treats on a Christmas market stall.

Best Christmas markets and attractions near Dorset

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Traditional Christmas markets are a great way to celebrate the festive season. Source tree decorations, shop for unique gifts, or sip mulled wine and nibble a mince pie as you explore.

Dorset provides several seasonal markets, many within a short drive of our Rockley Park spot. Our park is open over Christmas from 13 December, so you can come and join us for a slice of festive fun. We’ve found six fun and festive Christmas Fairs and Christmas Markets in Dorset to stoke up the Yuletide cheer!

Grab your hat, scarf and gloves and join us.

1. Hennings Christmas Market, Poole

3 miles from Rockley Park

Where: Hennings Wharf, The Quay, Poole BH15 1GZ

When: weekends, late November to Christmas Eve

Scenic Poole lies right on your doorstop when you stay at Rockley Park, and there are two events here worth a visit over the festive season.

The first is the annual Christmas Market taking place at Hennings Wharf, Poole Quay. Its scenic location showcases a wide range of stalls from local produce to jewellery, fresh fish and warming seasonal soup.

2. Poole Christmas Maritime Light Festival

3 miles from Rockley Park

Where: Ball Lane, Poole BH15 1EJ

When: late November until New Year

2024 will see the third year of the Christmas Maritime Light Festival, in which the city centre is transformed with an array of twinkling lights. There are also rides, food trucks, and entertainment.

Start at the “gateways to Poole” and take in the Twin Sails Bridge, Hunger Hill, and the Lighthouse. All will be brightly illuminated and reflected in the water as you stroll the Quays.

3. Bournemouth Christmas Market

3. Bournemouth Christmas Market

9 miles from Rockley Park

Where: Lower Gardens, Bournemouth BH2 5AY

When: mid-November until New Year

Probably the best-known of the Dorset Christmas markets, neighbouring Bournemouth always puts on a show during the festive season. Head for the city centre and expect a 60ft walk-through Winter Wonderland tree in the Lower Gardens. This is just the beginning, however, as the gardens are illuminated throughout with sparkling lights.

With its pop-up Alpine Bar, market stalls and outdoor ice rinks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this bustling event. From gifts to mulled wine – it’s all here.

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4. Weymouth's Big Christmas

30 miles from Rockley Park

Where: various venues across Weymouth Town Centre

When: mid to late-December

Although it begins in November, this coastal town’s festive season peaks mid-December with a weekend of kids’ events including a carols concert, face-painting, street entertainment and a chance to meet Santa Claus. It’s one of Dorset’s best Christmas Market destinations.

The Weymouth Pavilion is showing Peter Pan from 20 December until 5 January, and New Year’s Eve is famous for its city-wide revels, so don your finery and step out in style!

5. Salisbury Christmas Market, Wiltshire

5. Salisbury Christmas Market, Wiltshire

36 miles from Rockley Park

Where: Guildhall Square, Salisbury SP1 1JH

When: 17 November - 31 December

Although technically in Wiltshire, the cathedral town of Salisbury is a highlight of any trip south, and its annual Christmas Market is must-see. Situated in Guildhall Square, the market boasts dozens of decorated stalls offering a mix of the traditional (roast chestnuts) and the modern (hand-crafted jewellery).

There’s a host of international food and drink stalls, with bars open until late at the weekend. Santa’s grotto can be found in the corner – he’s waiting to take your requests!

6. Southampton Christmas Market

6. Southampton Christmas Market

40 miles from Rockley Park

Where: Above Bar Street, Southampton, Hampshire SO14 7SJ

When: 16 November - 2 January

Not to be outdone by its coastal rivals, Southampton celebrates Christmas in style. Part fairground, part traditional market, there’s plenty to see and do. Shop for handcrafted gifts or tasty treats or visit Santa each Sunday lunchtime.

For the little ones, there’s a Christmas Fun House with toddler-friendly rides. For a more traditional experience, try the Victorian Christmas carousel or the Ferris wheel. You won’t go hungry either, as this German-styled market has plenty of bratwurst and schnitzel on offer, plus crepes, mulled wine and more.

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