Sunshine, stunning seafood and Champagne - it can only be the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival.

Now in its 11th year, the hugely popular, award-winning event is returning to Weymouth's picturesque harbour on July 14 and 15, promising a great day out for all the family.

The free to attend festival attracts more than 50,000 people from across the country and raises funds for the Fishermen's Mission - the vital port of call for fishermen and their families.

The event offers so much more than food and drink, with organisers working hard to enrich the visitor experience exploring the seafood journey. Sustainability has never been more in the public eye and the festival are amping up their sustainability message and expectations from stall holders.

“The festival is drawing ever closer and we have all been working hard to bring the programme together," says festival director Paul Mills.

"We are more aware than ever of the impact we are having on the environment and as such we are implementing much stricter rules on our stall holders – insisting on recyclable utensils and packaging.”

Chef and author Sophie Michell is returning to this year's festival, as Pommery Champagne’s chef ambassador, and will be on stage and cooking some incredible seafood.

“I am so excited to be returning to the Pommery Dorset Seafood Festival for the third year, my first time as an ambassador for Champagne Pommery though," she says.

"The festival has such an incredible atmosphere and buzz and the chef demos are so exciting and informative.”

Key highlights include: Louise and Lobster: sit beside the harbour and enjoy a glass of Cuvée Louise Champagne served with a locally-sourced BBQ lobster half.

Navy Vessel: With five new Offshore Patrol Vessels being built to replace the current River Class ships, Weymouth harbour is looking forward to welcoming the captain and crew of one of the new vessels, all in support of the Fishermen’s Mission. Last year HMS Severn docked in Weymouth Harbour and thousands of guests boarded her for a tour. Join the Fishermen’s Mission for a blessing on Sunday morning.

Badger Sett: This year, you can learn more about Dorset’s favourite beers in these delicious tasting sessions. Expert tutorials, tastings and food pairing with Hall & Woodhouse experts Mark Woodhouse, chairman and Toby Heasman, head brewer. Taking place at the Ship inn, Custom House Quay, £5 per person.

Saturday July 14 11.30am, Toby Heasman - head brewer 2.30pm, Toby Heasman - head brewer Sunday, July 15 11.30am, Mark Woodhouse - chairman 2.30pm, Mark Woodhouse - chairman PLUS Fishy Magic with the Great Baldini, 3.30pm daily in The Ship pub garden Seafood Trail Put your thinking caps on and your best foot forward to explore this free family friendly trail. Search for clues high and low along old harbour, and up and around the beautiful Nothe Gardens. Meet the Nothe mice, play traditional games at the stone pier and keep an eye out for questions to complete your trail. With an incredible family holiday to be won at one of Dream Cottages 5* Weymouth properties and fun activities to see and do along the way, the Dream Dorset Trail is the perfect family addition to the Seafood Festival. • The trail will run from 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday • Maps will be provided by Dream Cottages for free • The first 500 children per day will win an artisan edible medal • You must complete the trail questions to be in with a chance of winning "How To" Zone Returning to the festival for another year the Broil King "How To" sessions using responsibly sourced seafood. Sessions are free but are on a first come, first served basis.

The Kids' Zone The Fishermen’s Mission will be curating a family workshop – free for all the family! With pottery making and basket weaving for all the family to get stuck in with. Materials are provided, and helpers are on hand to aid with the creative flow.

A family favourite returning in 2018 is the Crabbing Competition with Weymouth Angling. Last year, prizes were awarded for the most crabs caught, the biggest crabs, the smallest and crabs with the most barnacles!

Demo Stage Confirmed chefs so far include; Saturday: Sophie Michell, Neil Rankin & Ed Baines and the Sunday chefs include much loved Duncan Lucas, CJ Jackson from Billingsgate and Pete Murt from Rick Steins.

The Seafish Marquee Seafish’s mission is to support a profitable, sustainable and socially responsible future for the seafood industry. Seafish is also running a campaign, ‘Fish 2 a week’, focusing on the health benefits of eating two portions of seafood a week. Watch the Seafish cookery demos to see how. Alex Aitken, Matt Budden and Nigel Bloxham shall all be showcasing their skills in the kitchen.

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