The best farmers markets in Dorset

Markets have played a huge part in any civilisation since civilisations began. But UK farmers markets in particular only kicked off in 1997 in Bath in a bid to boost sustainability. And the reasons it was successful then are the same reasons we love them today: farmers markets connect places, people and produce in fundamental, joyful and flavourful ways. In fact, at the George Albert we love them so much we’ve compiled a delicious list of best farmers markets in Dorset.

What produce should I look out for in Dorset farmers markets?

The best farmers markets in Dorset offer up an embarrassment of riches. You can buy and sample a veritable smorgasbord of prime ingredients and gourmet meals encompassing scones, breads, pastries, pies, fish, shellfish, prime meat cuts, sausages, preserves, chilies, cheese, liqueurs - and much, much more. 

Think sage and onion scones, and crab, bacon and blue cheese tarts. Cheddar truckle and cave aged goats’ cheese. Crisp Dorset apples and juicy local pears. Net-fresh fish and farm-fresh sausages. Coquilles St Jacques and hand-picked crab. Marmalade whisky and roast coffee flavoured rum. 

Our top shopping tips? Have a light breakfast and bring a big bag. 

 

What are the best farmers markets in Dorset?

Poundbury - 4th Saturday

9am-1pm; Queen Mother’s Square; DT1 3BL

It’s a close call but we think Poundbury just edges to the top of our list of best farmers markets in Dorset. And not just because - at a 15 minute drive - it’s the closest. It’s one of Dorset’s largest farmers markets, with around 40 producers attending regularly, their stalls filling Queen Mother’s Square. The setting is impressive - right in the heart of a model new town that’s the brainchild of King Charles III.  

What can I do after the market? 

Once you’ve finished shopping and grazing you can head one mile east to the bustling market town of Dorchester, perhaps to see the dinosaur exhibits of the Dorset Museum. Or explore one of the largest Iron Age hillforts in Europe - mighty, awe-inspiring Maiden Castle. 

 

Sherborne - 3rd Friday 

9am-1pm; Cheap Street; DT9 3BJ 

The gorgeous town of Sherborne is home to the next in our list of best farmers markets in Dorset. And again it’s really close to us at the George Albert - just a 13 mile drive. You’ll find some 30 stalls here most months, filling Cheap Street with a wealth of produce, right in the middle of this pretty, historic market town. 

What can I do after the market? 

You’re just a few metres away from the spectacular honey-coloured Sherborne Abbey, while two castle Sherborne Old Castle (medieval ruins) and Sherborne New Castle (a16th-century stately home) sit on the outskirts of town.

 

Shaftesbury - 1st Saturday 

9am-1pm; Town Hall, High Street; SP7 8JE

The next entry in our best farmers markets in Dorset list takes us to the delightful hill-top town of Shaftesbury, and the stately early-19th century Town Hall. Come farmers market day you’ll find around 15 stallholders showcasing prime produce here, with plenty of treats to enjoy.

What can I do after the market?

Take a few paces south to wander down and up impossibly pretty and very steep Gold Hill - the setting for a memorable Hovis advert. Then stroll along adjacent Park Walk to gaze down onto the beautiful Blackmore Vale and explore the ruins of Shaftesbury Abbey.

 

Wimborne - 3rd Saturday 

9am-1pm, The Square; BH21 1JF

Finally to Wimborne Minster and another gorgeous location and another strong entry in our list of best farmers markets in Dorset. Each month scores of producers set up stalls, many offering tastings and all more than happy to describe what they’ve made and how. Wimborne market is set in the heart of the bewitching town of Wimborne Minster, which is named after the magnificent Minster Church at its core. 

What can I do after the market?

Stroll 20 metres due south to take in Wimborne Minster itself. Dating from around 1120 it’s an architectural delight. Kingston Lacy, a sumptuous 17th century stately home, is just 3 miles away   

 

When’s the best time to visit Dorset’s farmers markets?

One of the fantastic things about the best farmers markets in Dorset is that the produce is superb year-round. You’ll find more of some types of foodstuffs depending on the seasons - from veg to Christmas treats - but the wealth of produce on offer remains impressive year-round. 

The way the best farmers markets in Dorset are scheduled works well too. The ones on our list operate year-round. And you can often work in at least one per visit - depending on the length of your stay you could easily take in two or three, and potentially even four. As you can see from the summary of dates here:

1st Saturday Shaftesbury - 9am-1pm

3rd Friday Sherborne - 9am-1pm

3rd Saturday Wimborne - 9am-1pm

4th Saturday Poundbury - 9am-1pm

Of course your choice of when to visit the best farmers markets in Dorset can depend on the activities you like to combine them with. Spring and Summer brings warmer weather, beach lazing, water sports and alfresco dining. Autumn and Winter usher in crisp days, gorgeous walks, stormy seas, and pubs with roaring fires. 

 

How can I make Dorset farmers markets part of my mini-break or holiday?

Two key things make for a memorable holiday. A great location and a gorgeous hotel. The George Albert is proud to offer both. Set just 10 miles north of Dorchester, everywhere on our list of best Dorset farmers markets is within a 50 minute drive, while Poundbury is a mere 10 miles away, and Sherborne is a 13-mile drive.

And with so many superb things to do in the towns hosting top Dorset farmers markets, each trip can open the door to fantastic days out: beaches, cliffs, castles, abbeys, pretty villages and historic market towns are all only minutes away.

The George Albert is also a delightful place to stay. The welcome is warm and our spacious rooms are the perfect blend of comfort and style. The fine Dorset produce you’ve sampled at our farmers markets acts a taster for a superb meal in our Kings Restaurant. And you can be assured of a good night’s sleep ahead of another exciting, rewarding day exploring the best Dorset farmers markets and discovering the rest of this fine county