Not just for steam-train spotters and those with a soft spot for vintage motorcars, the Great Dorset Steam Fair promises a lively family weekend away. A scenic 45-minute drive from Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant and Spa and The Acorn Inn, the fair is pulling out all the stops for its 50th anniversary over the August bank holiday weekend. With promise of a music festival, fun fair and horse show alongside a staggering display of classic motors and 500 full-sized steam engines, here are five reasons why you should visit the Dorset Steam Fair this summer.
The old time steam funfair
The fairground is the Great Dorset Steam Fair’s star attraction. It has all the authentic ingredients of a Victorian funfair, complete with cheery carousels, merry-go-rounds and a helter skelter, alongside some contemporary pulse-raising rides and a 35 metre-high Ferris wheel offering breathtaking views across the fair. Powered by more than 60 huge original brass showman’s engines, and with 40 antique fairground organs providing the music, it’s as authentic as steam-powered fun gets.
The classic cars
Even those who don’t know a brass from a vintage Ford, or a 50’s Riley One Point Five from a 60’s Woleseley, will marvel at the well-polished collection of more than 100 classic cars on display in the grounds, driven in from across Britain and beyond. A slow parade encircles the main ring every day, although there’s plenty of opportunity to get up close to the motors between performances. Be sure to check out the collection of vintage caravans and antique bicycles, and a wander past the 100 or so military tanks is bound to impress.
Nature lovers won’t be disappointed by daily guest appearances of more than 100 beautifully stocky heavy horses, which will be ploughing the land to demonstrate agricultural equipment. The working horses go head to head in a playful ploughing match, and are then groomed and dressed in their shiniest harnesses to be judged in the show on Sunday. If you enjoyed the horses, you’ll love the sheep – Susie the Southdown and Nobby the Norfolk Horn are everyone’s favourites.
The stunt shows
Anything that’s known as the Wall of Death is bound to evoke a squeal or two from audience members. In this gutsy show, a daredevil motorcyclist speeds spirals around the interior walls of a vertical cylinder, riding vintage treasures like the 1920s Indian Scout and an old Honda. The Xtreme Stunt Team’s award-winning motorists take things up a notch with their adrenalin-spiking, wheel-spinning, white-knuckle stunts.
The music festival
The fun doesn’t stop after sunset. Choose from six stages of thumping live music and entertainment from a family-friendly range of artists. Folk, country, western and rock all make an appearance, and don’t miss the Traditional Freak Show demonstrating some intriguing party tricks on the nearby Old Time Stage.
Combine your visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, Thursday 23rd – Monday 27th August in the village of Tarrant Hinton, with a relaxing stay at the charming nearby The Acorn Inn or Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Spa.
Image Credits: Lead image © iStock/Dark_Eni. Steam trains at the fair © John Reeves. Funfair and Engine Area images both courtesy of Great Dorset Steam Fair.