Swanage is a small town located in the South West of England. This is a coastal town situated in the county of Dorset. The town is at the eastern end of an area known as the Isle of Purbeck. The town has a population of just over ten thousand people, however this is a very popular area for tourism so this means that the town can get a great deal busier in the summer months. The little town started out as a fishing village and really grew from here, in more modern times the main industry has been tourism. There is some stunning scenery in this part of Dorset and many people come to visit the beautiful beaches and spectacular coastline.
If you are thinking about visiting the area and are looking for accommodation then there are a few different choices available to you. If you want a hotel the either the Purbeck House Hotel or the Grand Hotel both have very good reputations for a high standard of service, nice rooms and excellent facilities. There are also a few small bed and breakfasts in the town which all offer a very warm welcome. Another possibility is making use of one of the local holiday homes. There are plenty of these in the area around Swanage and most of them are set in some lovely scenery. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative then there are quite a few nice little camp sites in the area, these have good basic facilities and most are set in stunning surroundings.
Swanage is a great little place to have a browse round the shops. There are plenty of more practical shops but there are also ones aimed at tourists. The Mulberry Tree Gallery and the Alpha Gallery are just two examples of the many art galleries in the town, these are great places to see some of the local artwork showcased. There are also a few good little antique shops in the town, these are interesting to browse around. The town also has plenty of nice pubs and café which serve excellent food and the vast majority of them have will give you a very friendly welcome.
The town has a few little attractions which are well worth a look. The Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre is a good place to go to learn about the history of the area. Another good place to visit is Corfe Castle, this is just a few miles away and there are some interesting ruins to look round and some great views of the surrounding area. Putlake Adventure Farm is a great place to go with the family, this is a working farm where you can get involved with feeding the animals and seeing how the farm runs. There is also a really nice sandy beach at Swanage that attracts many visitors each year.
Swanage really is a great place to visit. This is a nice town with lots of things to see and do and the surrounding area has so much wonderful scenery to enjoy. If you have never been here then you really are missing out, next time you are planning a trip to Dorset make sure that you pay this town a visit.
Me and my husband have just visited Swanage from the Midlands. It was recommended to us by a friend so we took a gamble, not knowing much about the area and bowled off down there for a 5 day camping break.
To get there from the midlands was fairly straight forward with iphones and a road map in tow. The only sticky part of the journey was through Bath, I'm not sure if you can avoid this but there seemed to be a heavy flo of traffic as soon as we hit Bath but luckily once you are out of Bath the traffic seemed to disperse quickly. It took us about 4 hours to get there in total, which I didn't think was too awful.
We stopped on a camp site owned by a group called Shorefield and the camp site itself was called Swanage coastal park. The pitches were great (ground was hard but that can't be helped really) and the facilities like the shower block, toilets etc were extremely clean and well kept. They also offer static caravans to rent out. The camping was a great price it cost us £47.50 for 5 nights. The camp site was at the top of a hill so it might be a bit difficult for anyone who has problems walking but for us it was perfect.
Swanage is quite a small town, but is one of the better coastal towns I have visited in the UK. It has a beach front to walk along with the usual attractions such as an arcade, fish and chip shops etc. It has a lot of quirky small shops that I have never seen in other town centres and they were great for having a mooch around. There are also a few surf shops which sell clothes and sports equipment.
There is no shortage of pubs and restaurants in the town itself. As we were camping though we didn't really visit them as we were making our own food. We did visit a pub called the Globe which is just on the outskirts of the town and that was a lovely pub, with an attractive beer garden and friendly staff.
The coastline of Swanage and the surrounding areas is extremely beautiful, and there are loads of nearby towns and attractions to visit.
Some of places we went to were:
Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door - beautiful coastline and stunning views, a tremendous walk from one to the other which you definitely need walking boots for but truly worth the effort).
Corfe & Corfe Castle - Stunning castle which you can see from the road but great for a walk around.
Weymouth Sea Life Centre - Expensive for 2 adults but a lot better than I expected with a lot of outdoor activities for children like a splash pool and panning for gold. Some really rare creatures such as Leafy Sea Dragons, and brilliant displays and enclosures.
Bournemouth - Good for a bit of shopping and walking along the beach, a bit more of a touristy coastal town.
There are also a lot more places to visit but we didn't have the time.
You can download or order a free brochure about swanage from
You can also find out more about the town and it's srrounding areas by visiting
I would definitely recommend Swanage for couples or families. It's a beautiful little town with loads of nearby attractions.
Swanage is a small town in Dorset and is ideal for an afternoon stroll if you live within a short driving distance.
It is a seaside town with, not so much a beautiful beach, but an attractive beach, nonetheless with great scenery along the coastline.
Getting to Swanage by car involves three main routes -
From the east
you can either drive the long way round or queue up at Sandbanks to get on the ferry - this is NOT recommended in the summer, as you WILL sit in long queues for long times - it is often quicker to drive the long route towards Wareham. In the winter the ferry is the quicker option, and Swanage is a great place for a walk in the winter.
From the West you can come in via Dorchester and Wool.
Parking away from town is a short enjoyable walk.
There are bus services, though I am not familiar with them.
If you can put up with narrow roads (i.e. cars getting too close for comfort) cycling to Swanage is another option
There is no rail service, yet. The local Railway heritage group are in the process of changing that.
I find Swanage small and doesn't have too much too offer the tourist who plans on staying for any length of time more than a weekend.
If you like trinket and gift shopping, there is plenty here. There is also a nice selection of places to eat, in fact I would say the diversity here is good for a small town. I rarely spend an afternoon in the pub these days, so can't comment on what the pubs are like, but there are a fair few to try.
The jewel in Swanage's crown has to be the Swanage Railway, which is a preserved railway. Although the attractions for rail enthusiasts are obvious, this offers very scenic rail trips on heritage trains, mainly steam, through the beautiful local countryside, so the attraction is for all really. The steam railway also has static buffet carriages which serve a range of enjoyable food at not too bad prices.
If you like a 'nice' walk, Swanage is a great place to go. There is the beach itself, or you can move towards the cliff tops. For a shorter more bracing (and often windy) walk there is a private pier, which you pay a small fee to enter.
If you fancy a trip out to sea there are companies offering trips around the bay, with an interesting commentary on the history of the area.
If you are ever in Dorset, go out of your way to spend some time here.
Swanage is a small Dorset seaside town with a big heart. It's sandwiched between the mightier Bournemouth/Poole (15 miles by road to the East) and Weymouth (15 miles to the West). It's out on a bit of a limb, near the foot of the Purbeck peninsular, but well worth a special effort to get there. By car, you're restricted to the A351 via (or around) the town of Wareham and onwards through the village of Corfe Castle (amongst others). Other options include the car ferry from Sandbanks to Studland and then driving a few miles into Swanage or picking up a Swanage Railway train from Norden (a private railway with a regular diesel, sometimes steam, train service running the 6 miles to Swanage (check the railway's internet site for timetables, special theme days and fares).
Swanage lies in a lovely little corner of our Isles. It faces out over the English Channel and the Isle of Wight's cliffs are easily visible on a clear day. The sandy beach is narrow and stretches out for about 3/4 of a mile. It isn't as glorious as its nearby cousins in Bournemouth and Weymouth and sometimes is heavily matted with seaweed but, that aside, it is popular with families and has all that you'd expect on an English beach (ice cream kiosks, Punch and Judy, deck chair and pedalo hire, beach huts, shops selling buckets, spades and the like etc, etc.
There is so much more to Swanage than its beach. The sea is popular with divers, sailors, rowers, water-skiers, jet skiers and anglers. There is excellent walking to be had from Swanage - to the north east there's a magnificent coastal walk to the NT's Studland beaches (about 3 miles) and west from Swanage you soon meet up with the delights of the Durlston Country Park (complete with activity centre, cafe, lighthouse, massive rock globe and bird watching and dolphin viewing points). Keep walking and in a couple of miles you can enjoy the delights of the Stone and Compasses pub in Worth Matravers (highly recommended - look it up on squareandcompasspub.co.uk/).
Back to Swanage itself. It does have 2 amusement arcades - modern, well-run affairs owned by the Kays chain - and some shops where sticks of rock and similar can be purchased, but this is not, in any way, an overly commercialised resort. It is generally clean, in good order and prosperous. There are many interesting shops, loads of decent eating (and drinking) establishments - my personal favourites being Beavers restauarant in Institute Road (they do a smashing all day breakfast) and Earthlights in the High Street (wonderful light meals, cream teas and drinks and very reasonably priced).
In the summer months there's a vibrancy around Swanage. It hosts many special events throughout these busy months ( a festival, firework displays, air displays, fetes). A recent visit coincided with a gathering of classic motorbike enthusiasts - over 200 bikes were proudly displayed along the main seafront - a spectacular sight and just the sort of thing you can unexpectedly stumble across on a visit to this town. There's a lot of well kept green space within a short stroll of the seafront (including a good childrens' play area).
As you've probably gathered, I'm a big Swanage fan. I've loved visiting this gem (which is 45 miles from my hometown) since the age of 6 (40 years ago) and my young kids love it themselves. It is a special, friendly sort of place that can get crowded but never feels oppressive. Those looking entertainment of the nighclub, late-night bar variety would be disappointed - Swanage isn't that sort of place, most others will surely find something to put a smile on their face.
The town of Swanage is a small seaside resort in Dorset (population 11,000). Swanage sits at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, about 10km south of Poole. It used to be a small port and fishing village until the Victorian era when it became the tourist seeking seaside town it is today. It's a lovely place and still very natural - on a clear day you can see for miles from the clifftops and even sea dolphins swimming offshore.
The real attraction to Swanage for holidaymakers is the mile long golden sandy beach, which the children will love. It has the European blue flag standard and won the Tidy Britain Group seaside award in 2003. Swanage is considered to be the British home of scuba diving because of its many offshore wrecks and crystal clear waters. The sheltered conditions of Swanage Bay caused by the Purbeck Ridge are taken advantage of by many diving schools and the dive shop in the town centre was the first to open in the UK. In addition to diving there are many other watersports available to people on the beach, water skiing, wind surfing, sailing, jet skiing, pedal boats and fishing, so there is plenty to do.
Moving around from the beach to the other side of Swanage Bay (stone quay) there are two piers. There is the 'old pier' which was built in the 19th century and is made from wood, but is in quite bad condition today and the 'new pier.' Coastal pleasure cruises and leisure fishing boats operate daily in season from the new pier and are reasonably priced. I can remember taking a pleasure boat out to old harrys rock as a boy ad thoroughly enjoyed it so I definitely recommend these trips, from what I have heard the fishing trips are great fun too, although this would be much better on a sunny day.
The town centre has many different types of shops, but in particular the pubs and restaurants are great. Fish and chips is served as the local speciality and can be eaten as you walk along the promenade which is nice. If you are a sporty person then nearby is the beach gardens sports centre which has all-weather tennis courts, outdoor bowls and an 18 hole putting golf course. You can even hire a mountain bike and enjoy the Purbeck cycleway which shows you great views over Swanage Bay.
* Ballard Down - part of the southern England chalk formation
* Old Harry Rocks - chalk stacks, visited by tourist boat from stone quay
* Studland Bay - lovely beaches, but part is naturist so be prepared
* Durlston Country Park - 280 acre nature reserve
* Corfe Castle - old castle, great place to visit
* Swanage Town and Herston Football Club
I think Swanage is a great British seaside town because there is loads to do and see. If you are thinking about going to a British resort this summer for a holiday or even a weekend I would well recommend Swanage.
Tourest Information Centre
The White House
Tel: +44(0) 1929 422885
Thanks for reading.
(This review is also posted on Ciao under the same name)
Swanage is a holiday town with views over Swanage Bay, great scenery from Durlston Head south of the town, & a good beach at Studland to the north, though you have to pay money to get on it in the summer as its the National Trust land. The town is on the Isle Of Purbeck, isnt an island just where the land juts out into the English Channel, with Corfe Castle close by. Swanage often called Gem of the Dorset coast, is a popular seaside resort with many things to do. Every year they have a fireworks show off the pier which is really good, there are also lots of bands playing, & The new Forest Harley Davison Motor Group always arrive to park along the seafront. There are two arcades along the seafront & a restaurant with in & outdoor seating, up the road is the shopping areas.
Corfe Castle & the railway
Owned by the National trust, I think it was destroyed by Cromwell in 1646. Set upon a hill its a very imposing sight; it also has a lady ghost. The village of Corfe is very interesting with plenty of shops, theres also a tea shop at the bottom of the castle which is very nice in the summer; cows roam on the other side of a fence in herds & they have a cat (the café staff, not the cows). Here you can catch a steam train at the station which takes you between Swanage & the castle, which is very pleasant.
Check out http://www.swanagerailway.co.uk/ the railway homepage
Dorset BH19 1HB
Tel: 01929 425800
Fax: 01929 426680
Click down to see this review as intended. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a .a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a.a. I was fortunate enough to return to Swanage last year having not seen the place since teenage holidays. My memory was, I thought, probably muddied by the freedoms and pleasures of holidays away from home and parents and
maybe Swanage just wasn't as magical as my memory would have me believe. I first went to Swanage aged fourteen. I enjoyed the place so much I returned for, I think, five years in a row. It makes a great base for an action packed holiday in some of the most magical countryside in the country. This review is about my return to Swanage and how it lived up successfully to the memories of my youth. For those who don't know, Swanage is located west of Poole on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. Now we can argue about whether or not the Isle of Purbeck is an Isle or not but it doesn't matter, this part of Dorset does feel slightly cut off from the rest of the county and this works for a holiday location. There are two main routes in to Swanage. Firstly you can head towards Wareham and then pick up the road to Corfe, home of the magnificent castle ruins. This leads you in to the Isle of Purbeck and the road to Swanage. The other way is slightly more magical. Come through Poole and follow the road all the way round to the mouth of the harbour. Here, a little chain ferry will chug your car from Poole to the Isle of Purbeck, landing you at the delightfully named Shell Bay. Now, you can drive up through Studland village, a delightful place to stop, and then take the well signposted left turn to Swanage. However, nothing beats the view you get if you take the lesser route over the headland footpath. As part of the South West Coastal footpath, parking in Studland and walking over to Swanage really does give you the grand vista of the town. So, why do I have fond memories? Well, firstly, Swanage has a great beach for lazing around and doing nothing all day. This works well here because the headland shelters you from the currents and even the tide movement is minimal. If you like using the water for fun - Swanage is also a great base for water sports. All sorts of fun can be had. On the beach, pedallos and banana rides are ava
ilable. (Banana rides for those not in the know involves sitting on a large inflatable banana with a group of other fools and being towed around the harbour at huge speed by a powerful speedboat.) I also learnt to windsurf here, obtaining my RYA level one for successfully sailing a triangular course. The sailing and windsurfing here is great. Kayaks are also available to hire for those with the strength to move them through the gentle swell of the ocean. Swanage has entertainment too in the form of a seafront theatre. Whilst not hosting the biggest of the big, it does attract summer variety shows with a reasonable cast of entertainers that may be worth a look if this is your thing. Moving inland slightly, Swanage has a steam railway that isn't just for enthusiasts. Running through stunning countryside it makes a pleasant day out even if the whole nostalgia thing isn't quite what floats your boat. You see, the magic remained for me for one signficant reason - although yes, I was enthusiastic, the children loved Swanage too. I had never taken them there and raved about the great holidays I had there as a boy but they really enjoyed the place. They spent far too much int he seafront arcades and got a sugar high from ice cream and candy floss but overall they had a truly superb day and I think if you want holiday fun for all the family or just a good day out, Swanage could well be worth putting near the top of the list.