Events – May-June 2017

Our fun packed programme of events highlight and celebrate what is so special about our town, its history and heritage.

• Take a tour inside our local net factories – they are global world leaders!
• Explore hidden places and learn more about the history of the town and its surrounding area
• Get creative and join our amazing Spirit of Bridport walking parade
• Enjoy an exhibition or a talk inspired by our heritage
• Come along to the Ropewalk Fair, find out more about one of the oldest recorded industries in England, test your strength in the ever-popular tug of war or simply enjoy the local music, food and drink on offer.

We have it all so join us and help to celebrate everything that makes Bridport such a special place!

Cape Farewell farm project
Cape Farewell Exhibition
22 April – 3 June 10am – 4pm (Tuesday-Saturday)

Bridport Arts Centre

For the last three years The Arts Development Company and Cape Farewell have been running residencies for artists to work with farmers to examine our relationship with food, farming and the wider environment. This exhibition will feature three projects that have had a significant impact for the collaborators involved and audience members.
Free entry
More information:

Shop window decoration competition
Decorated shop windows
1 -14 May

Bridport Museum

Wander the town centre and see the creative, and sometimes crazy, ways that our local shops have used Bridport net to decorate their windows.

RSPCA shop window decoration
Bridport Trades Project window displays
1-31 May

Shop windows around the town

Find out more about the history of some of our oldest shops – information displayed in selected shop windows throughout the town.

Bridport Hat Festival
Hat World Heritage Exhibition
2-16 May

Snooks Hat Shop, 32 West Street Bridport DT6 3QN

Enter a different world. Hats from around the world, including Bridport, will be on display in the window at T Snooks – Hatters since 1896. Some for sale. A bewildering collection of Hatology by the owner of the largest little hat shop in the world and the founder of the Bridport Hat Festival!

Market Stall Mania
Market Stall Mania
6 May 10am – 12.30pm

The Lyric Theatre

Create and paint produce for the Spirit of Bridport Parade that will take place on Saturday 13 May. For all ages 10 to 110 years.
Free but booking essential • Contact Holly:

Bridport Community Orchard
Community Orchard Open Afternoon
6 May 2-4pm

Community Orchard Group

Open afternoon in the Community Orchard & Allotment. Various activities including Discover Farming presentation by George Streatfeild, display of farm implements, sheep, flax bed, refreshment stall and tours of the orchard and allotment.

No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish by Gazebo Theatre
‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’
6 May 7.30pm

Bridport Arts Centre

Gazebo Theatre revisit one of its most powerful plays – an exploration of racism and migration, in response to events taking place across the UK and internationally. Two strangers find themselves in a room of suitcases, books and stories which take them on a journey of discovery, reflection and tragedy and bring the events of hundreds of years gone before bang up to date.
Tickets: £12/£10/£5/£3
To book contact Bridport Arts Centre on 01308 424204 or

Bridport Rope and Net Exhibition
Bridport Heritage Forum Exhibition
The Bridport Story: Hemp and Flax, Rope and Net
6-20 May (not including Sundays) 10am – 4pm

Bridport Town Hall

This new exhibition explores aspects of the history of the industry in and around Bridport. Discover more about The Court Works, North Mills, Pymore and Burton Bradstock. Explore the transition from cottage industry to factory and the rise of the Gundry, Edwards and Hounsell families.
Travel outside the town to Symondsbury, Bradpole, Chideock, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Walditch, Bothenhampton and Stoke Abbott to see how the villages contributed to the industry, from the growing of the hemp and flax, to the processing and working as ‘outworkers’ for the factories.
Free entry whenever the Town Hall is open • Donations welcome

Guided tours of Huck Nets and Amsafe
Guided Tours of Huck Nets and Amsafe
Huck Nets Tours: 9 May 11am & 3pm • 10 May 11am & 3pm
Amsafe Tours: 8 May 11am & 2pm • 10 May 11am & 2pm

Huck Nets, Gore Cross
Amsafe, The Court, West Street

A rare chance to see inside our globally important local net factories. Discover how Bridport companies supply aviation, military, sport, fishing, agriculture and leisure sectors.
Book online through Bridport Museum from 24th April:
Huck Nets:
Suggested £3 donation per person on the door

Bridport street scene
Bridport History Society Talk
Bridport 1760 – 1930 by Jane Ferentzi-Sheppard
9 May 2.30pm

United Church Hall, East Street

Members £1.00, visitors £2.50. All welcomeFor more information contact Jane on 01308 425710 or jferentzi@

The Ropemakers
Ropemakers Quiz
9 May 7.30pm

The Ropemakers, 36 West Street, Bridport DT6 3QP

Join John and Geraldine to exercise those little grey cells at one of their popular weekly quizzes. This one might have a special heritage theme!

Old net factory, Bridport
Roped In – Yarns from Bridport Past
10 May 7.30pm

The Stable, 34 East Street, Bridport DT6 3LF

Local creative writing group Story Traders has been inspired by Bridport Museum’s archived photographs to write and perform tales based on the town’s rope industry.
Images from the 1850s to the 1950s set the scene for the story telling.

Historic rope and net making area of Bridport
Historic Rope and Net Industry Guided Walks
11 May 2pm • 12 May 11am • 14 May 11am & 2pm

Around Bridport

Join local historian, Richard Sims, on a guided walk around the historic rope and net making areas of the town.
£2.50 per person on the day
Meet at the Tourist Information Centre

Old photograph, Shipton Gorge
Shipton Gorge History Exhibition
12 & 13 May 10am – 3pm

Shipton Gorge Village Hall

Historical exhibition about the history of Shipton Gorge village. Tea and biscuits available.
Free entry

Big band in Bucky Doo Square
Charter Fair
13 May

Bridport Town Centre

The Bridport Charter Fair is a celebration of Bridport’s Borough status being granted in 1253, during the reign of King Henry III. A fun day of charity stalls throughout the market, big band music and other entertainment in Bucky Doo Square.

The Spirit of Bridport
Spirit of Bridport Parade
13 May 2.30pm

Procession through Bridport from Gundry Lane to Millennium Green

Not to be Missed! Come and see the amazing walking parade celebrating all aspects of Bridport. Large scale puppets and models made by local schools and community groups, led by an incredible 12 foot high Spirit of Bridport. Parade accompanied by Samba Panache.
Sponsored by St Michael’s Estate – ‘Bridport’s Best Kept Secret’

A Living Tree Art Exhibition
Celebrating our Heritage: A Living Tree Art Exhibition
13 & 14 May 10am – 5pm

The Salt House, West Bay

An exhibition of art and craft created by members and friends of the Living Tree group. Based in the historic Salt House, once used for storing salt for the local and Newfoundland fishing trade, the work will reflect its surroundings as well as the heritage of the artists. Items for sale. Refreshments available.
More information:

Ropewalk Fair
14 May 11am – 4pm

Millennium Green

The green will be packed full of fun net-themed games and activities: try and beat the Bridport Youth Football team’s goalies; get creative with arts and crafts; enjoy local bands and local food. The event is supported by local firm Huck Nets, who will be showing how rope is made on their ropewalk. The day will be rounded off with the popular and competitive tug-of-war: who will be the strongest team in Bridport?
Tickets £1 from the Tourist Iinformation Centre in advance or on the gate – includes entry into the raffle!
Win a free-standing hammock (donated by Huck Nets). Other prizes include 2 family entry tickets for Melplash Show (24 August), 2 family tickets for Forde Abbey Charity Summer Fair (27 July), and 2 adult tickets (children go free) for Bridport Food Festival (17 June).

Comrades film
14 May 3pm

Bridport Arts Centre

Bill Douglas film about the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
In 1834, in the farming town of Tolpuddle, heartless landowner James Frampton (Robert Stevens) forces his impoverished labourers to work under harsh conditions and for long hours.
Book through Bridport Arts Centre
More information:

Millennium wood walk
Millennium Wood Walk
14 May 2.30pm

Meet at Mountfield Council Offices

A gentle walk around the Millennium Green and wood with talks at specific points on the history and features as well as the plans for the future.
Free but donations invited
Book at Bridport Tourist Information Centre

More information:

RJ Balson & Son - England's oldest butcher
Talk: R J Balson & Son
England’s oldest butcher - Established in 1515
16 May 2pm

Meet outside R J Balson & Son, 9 West Allington, Bridport DT6 5BJ

Richard Balson will give a heritage talk on his business. He will take you on a journey from 1515 to the present day. 502 years of history, from the market stall in Bridport’s shambles (shambles being an ancient name for a shelf on which meat was slaughtered and then sold), which was more or less where today stands the Bridport Town Hall, to their current shop. Purchased for £215 in 1892!
You will also be able to try and purchase the Tudor Rose sausage, an old English Pork sausage recipe to tantalize the taste bud, reinvented for the Season of Heritage!
Free, but donations welcome

Love your local market
Love your local market fortnight
17-31 May

Bridport Town Council

Bridport is famous for its historic market which takes place in the town centre every Wednesday & Saturday. We are again taking part in the Love Your Local Market Campaign with all the traders involved. Promotional days are planned on Bucky Doo Square, involvement from the local Youth Centre and activities within the Town’s Tourist Information Centre, plus much more.
Bridport also has the pleasure of hosting one of NABMA’s regional events on 24 May – further enhancing Bridport’s reputation as a fantastic market town.
More information:

The Spirit of Bridport
Pop-up Museum
20 May 10am – 4pm

Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock

Bridport Museum will be ‘popping up’ as part of the National Trust’s popular Spring Tide Festival. Meet lots of historical characters: Dr. Roberts and his cures; hold a Saxon sword and see flax being prepared.
Entrance charge
More information:

Ukuleles in Bucky Doo Square
Ukulele Opera presents ‘FLEA!’
23-27 May

The Electric Palace, Bridport

FLEA!’ is a spectacular community theatre production, with six performances at Bridport Electric Palace. The one you’ve been itching to see!
‘FLEA!’ tells the story of Madame Celine, the devious and exotic ringmistress of an extraordinary flea circus. In the tradition of community plays, around 170 local people, of all ages, are involved in this thrilling spectacle that contains something for everybody!
Tickets are available from the Electric Palace (01308 428354) and Bridport Tourist Information Centre (01308 424901)
For full details see:

Palmers Brewery
Palmers Brewery Tours
50% discount throughout May

Palmers Brewery

Special Season of Heritage Offer – 50% off all Brewery Tours booked in May 2017
Go behind the scenes in the historic brewery buildings, to watch every stage of the centuries-old brewing process. The tour ends with a beer tasting (or a soft drink) in Palmers Wine Store.
Book online at:
Enter discount code SOH50 at checkout

South Street, Bridport
Wandering Apothecary – The Talking Cure Goes Walkabout
18 & 25 May 7-8pm

Meet at Bucky Doo Square

Walk with the Wandering Apothecary to discover the secret stories of Bridport. Some are indeed so secretive that they may have hitherto existed only in the minds of local storytellers from the town’s own spoken word collective, ‘Apothecary’.
Join them for a taste of the talking cure, which this time goes walkabout…
A guided tour around Bridport, incorporating a series of performances from local writers, telling their own stories about places of interest in the town.
More information:

Church of Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs & St. Ignatius, Chideock
Church of Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs & St. Ignatius, Chideock
The Church and Museum are open every day 10am – 4pm
The Sacristy will be specially open on 24, 25 & 31 May, 1, 7 & 8 June 2-4pm

The Church is one of the gems of English Catholicism and was built in 1872.
The Chideock Museum, in a side room, houses a fascinating collection of local history and artefacts. The original barn chapel, with its beautiful frescoes, can be seen in the sacristy, along with the 1931 painting by Fra Newbery of the Chideock Martyrs.
This painting is particularly interesting with the depiction of Chideock Castle in the background and the great cliff of Golden Cap and the sea beyond.
Free entry
More information:

West Bay
West Bay Guided Walk
25 May 10am

Meet at the Haddon House Hotel

Join local historian Elizabeth Gale, as she takes you on a fascinating walk back through West Bay’s past.
£4 per person, pay on the day

Bridport Museum
Grand opening of Bridport Museum
27 May 10am

Bridport Museum

Be one of the first people through the door of the ‘new’ Museum based in one of Bridport’s oldest buildings! We will be celebrating all day, with the ribbon being cut at 10am by Dr. Roberts!
• 180 million years of rocks and fossils
• 2,000 years of people
• 800 years of rope-making
• and a tiger!
Free entry

West Bay Pirates Day
West Bay Pirates’ Day
28 May 12-5pm

Fisherman and Harbour Greens, West Bay

Ahoy me hearties! A fun afternoon of popular children’s pirate games, a raffle, stalls, and the famous West Bay Days Café in the Salt House for delicious tea & cakes!
This is the first of four annual community events in West Bay which are organised by West Bay Days. This is a small not-for-profit voluntary organisation which seeks to promote and celebrate the wonderful location and help the local community, whilst at the same time supporting local charities and groups through its Annual Awards and Small Grants Funds.
To find out more about the current programme of events, become a sponsor or volunteer, or to find out how West Bay Days can help potential beneficiaries please email

West Bay Pirates Day
Bradpole Village Fete
3 June 2-5pm

Bradpole Village Society

Enjoy a traditional village fete. Explore the village’s rope and netting industry and fascinating local history.
Norman’s Field, Middle Street, Bradpole
Free entry

Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute
Behind the Scenes Tours LSI
10 June from 9.15am

Bridport Literary and Scientific Institute

See what’s been happening at the LSI in advance of its reopening later this year.
Guided tours every 45 minutes – booking essential. Please wear sturdy closed in shoes, hard hats will be supplied.
Free: Pre-booking essential • Book at Bridport Tourist Information Centre

Bridport Food Festival
Bridport Food Festival
11-17 June

Bridport Local Food Group

A week long celebration of local food and drink culminating with the main event on Saturday 17 June at Asker Meadows, along with the Bridport Round Table Beer Festival.
More information:

Allington Hillbillies - Woodland Crafts
Allington Hillbillies: Woodland Crafts
16 & 17 June 10am – 4pm

Coppers Wood and Field and Allington Hill

Woodland crafts and traditional ways of working the land. Come and watch traditional craftsmen at work and working horses on the hill and logging demonstrations.

All event information correct at time of going to press. Bridport Season of Heritage cannot be held responsible if times or events have changed.