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Great Dorset Steam Fair

Great Dorset Steam Fair

Tarrant Hinton, UK
Agriculture, Horticulture, Gardening
Great Dorset Steam Fair
Event website
Event website:
Great Dorset Steam Fair
1 year

Update for the Event

The Great Dorset Steam Fair’s 2023 edition has been cancelled. A face-to-face event will take place at the Tarrant Hinton in the year 2024. The Fair's dates are set for the period between August 22nd, 2024 and August 26th, 2024. Because of the removal of the UK’s domestic coronavirus policies, the venue will not have Covid-19 safety precautions. The United Kingdom presently has no travel restrictions in effect.


The Great Dorset Steam Fair has all you need to know about it in its name – it’s one of the biggest trade shows of its kind and a major event for the Dorset county. The event was held for the first time back in 1969, when it was first called the Great Working of Steam Engines. Since 2010, the trade show has also referred to as the National Heritage Show. If we’re to define the Great Dorset Steam Fair, we have to say it’s a bit of everything. It’s a community-oriented event with live entertainment, attractions, and camping grounds for the entire duration. It also targets exhibitors in a lot of areas. The product portfolio includes traction engines, tractors, farm machinery, working shire horses, classic cars and commercial vehicles, rustic crafts and 'bygones' displays. One of the enduring traditions is the charity trailer rides, which raise money for local charities.


The Great Dorset Steam Fair is an annual occurrence in Dorset, England, which is usually held in late August. Editions are based at the spacious show grounds in Tarrant Hinton and run for a total of five days in total. The grounds are 600 acres and open to the public and trade visitors as well. The founder of the event is Michael Oliver and now the event is organised by his son via the Great Dorset Steam Fair Ltd. Visitors should check the programming of the day for working hours, as the grounds are always open. The village of Tarrant Hinton lies between Blandford and Salisbury and can be easily accessed by the A354 road. You can peruse the Damory Coach Company to reach the fair site from the nearest train station in Salisbury.

What Are People Saying?

  • “Thank you once again for having us to exhibit at the 50th Anniversary, we had a marvelous time. The collection of engines was outstanding and a lot of hard work had gone into getting them all there, I particularly liked the scrapyard. Who would have thought in 1968 when it all started that you would have over 500 engines from all over the world at an event in Dorset,” – B. Newton, Hungerford;
  • “I thought I would drop you a few lines to congratulate you all on what was a magnificent steam fair. I have never seen so many steam engines in one location, it was hard to believe and a spectacle to behold that I will never forget,” – Tim Dalton, Weston-Super-Mare;
  • “The organisation, the varied displays, the entertainment, the food and the sheer dedication of all the enthusiasts who so lovingly care for their machines was just outstanding and I cannot thank you enough – we just didn’t want it to end and are already looking forward the next year,” – Roger Graves. 

Audience & Statistics

Northover Fuels, Old Rosie – the Original Cloudy Cider, Oxford Diecast and Old Glory Magazine are some official sponsors of the Great Dorset Steam Fair. The trade show is one of the most visited in the country and the stats support this claim. There have been 1000 trade stands registered, which in terms accounted for 2000 exhibitors and their families. The audience turnout is massive every year – consistently pulling over 200,000 visitors from the UK and even the rest of Europe. The show grounds make sure they target long-term out-of-towners and has prepared a capacity for 5,000 caravans and tents meant for a total of 25,000 people. As to who attends – there’s no easy answer given the eclectic nature of the Great Dorset Steam Fair. There are collectors, farmers, steam enthusiasts, manufacturers, equestrian fans, campers, tourists, local communities and even music fans. 


As an exhibitor, you should be thinking about accommodation. The Great Dorset Steam Fair pulls in big numbers – hotels and guesthouses tend to get booked to full capacity quickly. You want to secure your online hotel booking for the Great Dorset Steam Fair early on to benefit from lower rates and a better location closer to the exhibition grounds. Trade Fair Trips ltd takes charge of your stay and delivers results within a day. We know where to look in Tarrant Hinton, Blandford, and Salisbury for good prices. Aside from hotel accommodation for trade fairs, Trade Fair Trips ltd also assists with your preparations. You can delegate the building of your exhibition stand to us for a great fee. 

Previous Editions


The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2022 occurred as a live edition between August 25th and August 29th, 2022. Due to the lifting of the pandemic-related restrictions, it was hosted at the Tarrant Hinton without implementing Covid-19 safety precautions. On 600 acres of area, there were around 2,000 displays.

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How to get to Great Dorset Steam Fair
On foot
On foot:

Not advisable when travelling from Bournemouth Airport

5 minutes when travelling from Tarrant Hinton Layby Station

By car
By car:

35 minutes when travelling from Bournemouth Airport

1 minute when travelling from Tarrant Hinton Layby Station

By public transport
By public transport:

Not advisable when travelling from Bournemouth Airport

Unnecessary when travelling from Tarrant Hinton Layby Station because of proximity

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