28th and 29th July 2018, St Giles House, Wimborne St Giles, Dorset, BH21 5ND

The Festival

It's going to be a scorcher - the 8th Great Dorset Chilli Festival

We’re delighted to be back at St Giles Park for another scorcher of a weekend in 2018. We'll be holding the festival on the last weekend in July. We'll have the chilli-con-carne cook-off, run by the UK Chilli Cook-off Association, open to pre-registered teams to battle it out for the Dorset title and a place at the national finals. We've got chilli plant growing competitions, chilli pepper growing competitions, and chilli sauce competitions too! This is sure to be a great day out for chilli enthusiasts, food lovers and families. So if you enjoy the sensation of steam coming out of your ears then this is the Chilli Festival for you! We have some of the country’s most respected chilli companies showcasing their plants, seeds and condiments; chutneys, hot sauces, chilli chocolate, relishes, pickles and oils.

Speak to the experts and discover how to cook with chillies and which chillies to use that won’t blow your head off. The stallholders all love chillies and will be only too pleased to talk to you.

BUT if you don’t like it hot there’s plenty of choice from the stallholders for the less robust palette. Artisan bakers, cheeses, chocolates, jams, garlic, Spanish charcuterie, chilli ginger beer, Dorset ice cream, wooden boards and smart kitchen knives for chilli-chopping, ironwork, ethnic clothes and bags, ceramics, artwork..............

UK chilli cook-off

Chilli Cook-Off

Run by the UK Chilli Cook-off Association, in aid of the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent. This is your chance to compete against other teams to make the best gallon of chilli-con-carne. All preparation and cooking to be done onsite: you have 4 hrs to achieve perfection before judging where a trip to Alabama is up for grabs! Takes place on Sunday only. To register your team visit www.ukchillicookoff.co.uk. Festival visitors can buy a spoon for charity to sample all the entries! Limited number of spoons available! Did you know, 4 out of the last 5 national winners qualified via the Dorset heats?

Delicious things to eat and drink

Delicious things to eat and drink

We're planning Mexican street food, enchiladas, wraps, Thai curries, Caribbean curries, Indian curry, Moroccan tagines, falafels, low 'n' slow pulled pork, lamb burgers, chilli burgers, battered jalapenos, crêpes, bratwurst, wood oven pizza, lots of food with chilli and giant paellas will all be on offer but if it’s simply a delicious burger that you crave then you’ll be well-catered for. There will selection of award-winning local beers, ales and cider to calm the tingling tongue. We’ll even have chilli cider, but if all you need is ice cold lager, we’ve got that too.

Best Sauce Competition

Best Sauce Competition

Make your vote count! A chance to taste artisan chilli sauces, chutneys and jams made by the stall holders themselves. Vote for your favourite.

Chilli Plant Competition

Chilli Plant Competition

Open to anyone who grows their own chillies for pleasure, a chance to show off your best plants to a panel of expert judges. Saturday only. There are usally 2 classes: Class 1 will be open to plants of one variety only (to be announced) so everyone starts with an even playing field.  Class 2 is an open class, for any variety, pot grown in the 2018 growing season. To enter bring your plant along on Saturday before 2pm.  Judging will start at 3.30pm. 

Chilli Pepper Competition

Open to everyone, whether you grow chillies at home or commercially, we've got a category to suit most chillies!

Class 1: Purple Haze chilli plant
Class 2: any variety chilli plant
Class 3: heaviest yielding chilli plant grown in an 8cm pot

Class 4: Heaviest pepper (including sweet peppers)
Class 5: Longest cayenne
Class 6: Best superhot chilli
Class 7: Most interesting oddity/malformation

Chilli Plant & Pepper Competition Rules


Chilli Eating Competition

Not for the fainthearted but too much fun to miss out on!  The competition is on both Saturday and Sunday at 4.00pm on the music stage. To enter the ballot: download the application form, complete and sign, and email back to Madeleine here at GDCF HQ. Applicants will be chosen at random and will be informed by email if successful. Good luck!



Not all the food and samples at the Festival will be chillified, so there will be plenty of choice when it comes to lunch. There will also be bouncy castles, Head Turners Face Painters, Mere Down Falconry, and Alfredo the Magician. There is also a family shelter tent where you can find some shelter to have lunch or create a base for your family to meet up.

Plant / Shopping Creche

Plant / Shopping Crèche

If you’ve bought a chilli plant or two, or restocked your supply of great chilli sauces, why not take advantage of our Shopping Crèche? Look out for the crèche gazebo where you can leave your purchases safely in exchange for a small charitable donation. This year the stall will be run by Diverse Abilities who have been supporting local people with profound physical and learning disabilities for over 50 years.

Talks and Cooking Demonstration

Talks and Cooking Demonstrations

Expert chilli growers and sauce makers will be sharing their knowledge with you, as well as a variety of ‘cooking with chilli demonstrations’ from some of our local leading chefs. If chilli-growing is your thing, then don't miss the talks by our chilli experts

Cooking demonstrations are brought to us by top local chefs.


quinns quinney photo web


This is a specialist food festival, not a music festival! But if you like a bit of music in the background we have some great acts. In 2017 we had local heroes Quinns Quinney, Dorset's favorite skiffle band playing on both Saturday and Sunday. Also there both days were the famous Mexican Mariachi trio, guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and Big Joe Bone playing his blues/roots/bluegrass beside the cider tent. Then on Saturday we had the Mother Ukers, playing their ukuleles and on Sunday saw Remedysounds take the stage with just his acoustic guitar and loop pedal. 


Frequently asked questions:

When does the festival open and close?

Gates open at 10am on both days with last entry at 4.30pm. The postcode for St Giles Park, Wimborne St Giles is BH21 5ND.  Please follow festival road signs that will direct you to the festival car parks.  

Is there any public transport?

Unfortunately not. This is a rural location with a small population and it is not served by bus routes.

Can I bring my dog to the festival?

Friendly dogs are welcome at the festival providing they are kept on a lead and are well behaved. Please do not leave your dog in your car for any reason. Should your dog constantly bark or anyone any other festival goers you will be asked to leave. 

Can I pay by credit or debit card at the festival?

No, credit card or cash machine facilities are not available at the site. Please bring cash with you as there are no cash points in the near vicinity.

Is camping available?

There is no public camping on site. Please see the below links for some local accommodation sites you could try for availability, as well as some local taxi companies.

Great Dorset Chilli Festival - Accommodation Options

Great Dorset Chilli Festival - Local Taxi Companies   

Is there disabled parking?

Yes disabled parking is available. Please note that there is a walk from the car park to the admissions tent and then a further walk to the festival showground over level ground, but it is a field so might be a little bumpy. The whole festival site is on uneven grass parkland.

Are there disabled facilities?

Yes we provide disabled toilet facilities.

Is there a reduced rate for disabled people?

The Great Dorset Chilli Festival does not wish to discriminate against visitors with disabilities therefore the full admission rate will be charged.

Can tickets be bought in advance?

Yes, advance tickets can be bought with a credit or debit card by clicking on the link on this page, but we don't start selling tickets until May 2018. We cannot take payment for tickets over the phone. Tickets are valid for one day only, either Saturday 28th or Sunday 29th July 2018. You do not have to specify which day you are attending.

Advance tickets are non refundable.

My tickets haven’t arrived by email

Please check your junk folder to see if the email has been sent there. If not, please email tickets@greatdorsetchillifestival.co.uk with your details

Programme Of Events



10:00 Gates Open
Voting for the chilli sauce competition commences
10:00 Entries taken for chilli plant & pepper competition
11:15 Talk on chillies:
11:15 Music tent:
12:00 Talk Tent:
12:30 Music:
13:15 Cooking Demonstration:
13:45 Music tent: 
14:15 Talk Tent:
14:30 Falconry Flying Display 
15:00 Talk:
15:00 Music: 
15:30 Chilli Plant & Pepper competition judging
16:00 Chilli Eating competition
16:00 Chilli Plant and chilli sauce winners announced


10:00 Gates Open
Voting for the Chilli condiment competition commences
11:15 Talk on chillies:
11:15 Music:
11:30 Chilli cook-off competition begins
12:10 Cooking demo:
12:30 Music:
13:15 Cooking demo:
13:45 Music: 
14:15 Cooking demo:
14:30 Falconry Flying Display on the lawn
15:00 Music:
15:00 Chilli Talk:
15:30 Chilli cook-off competition judging
16:00 Winners of cook-off and chilli condiment competition announced
16:00 Chilli Eating competition. 

Please note that final programme is subject to change.

Contact Details

SureFire Event Management
Blandford Forum

T: 01258 447 040
E: info@greatdorsetchillifestival.co.uk

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