Guest blogger Produced by

Martina Gardeva (Bulgaria)

My name is Martina Gardeva and I am a Bulgarian postgraduate in MSc Tourism Management and Marketing. One of my favourite things to do when I explore a country is to go to different types of festivals. I enjoy the arts, culture, food and music. Here is my list of the best events around this area I have heard of or personally been to.

Experience the culture

Arguably, the biggest festival about arts in Bournemouth is Arts by the Sea. It is full of street-art performers, music artists, live shows and colourful installations. It’s usually in the middle of October and its magic lasts about a week.

During the whole year, there are plenty of vintage fairs and markets organised in town, where you can find some amazing bargains and stylish accessories. One of the most popular events is Lou Lou’s Vintage fair.


One of the best experiences during the cold winter season in Bournemouth is to go to the Christmas market, which offers plenty of sweets, street food with the popular mulled wine, decorations, handmade gifts and even a huge ice rink. We also have a giant glowing teddy bear!

Enjoy the amazing shows

Bournemouth’s biggest pride is the annual Air Festival which takes place every year at the end of August. It features all types of aircrafts from the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, as they perform stunning tricks in the sky over the beach. It is a truly an unforgettable experience!

In June there is an interesting annual Boat Show with some stunning yachts, which takes place in the nearby town called Poole. There are also vessels from the Navy on show and the event is completely free!

Dance all night at these music festivals

I had the chance to go to one of the most memorable experiences I have had since I came to Bournemouth – the Carnival of Light. It’s a clubbing experience held at the O2 arena in Boscombe. Aside from all the famous DJ sets, you can also dance all night long. You have the chance to see people with all kinds of light-inspired and neon painted costumes, which all glow in the dark. On top of all that, you have giant Chinese dragons, performers and special effects machines all around you.

One of the biggest and loudest music events throughout the whole country is undoubtedly  Bestival, which takes place near Lulworth Castle, Dorset. The event is held in August for 4 days with numerous stages and famous artists, like Rudimental and M.I.A., who are coming this year. You also have the chance to camp on site in order to make the whole experience more exciting and authentic.

Other honourable mentions are the Bournemouth’s Jazz by the Sea Festival, the Reggae festival, the Food and Drink Festival and so many more. Once you come here, one thing is sure – you will never be bored!

Martina Gardeva, Bulgaria, MSc Tourism Management, 2017/18