For those of you who want to explore the Jurassic Coast and spend some time in a coastal town with a good dose of country side, then Swanage is a great choice.
Situated on the Isle of Purbeck, Swanage is a good place to base yourself for exploring the wider area as places like Studland and Corfe Castle are right on the doorstep, here are a few suggestions of things you can do while in Swanage.
Much of Swanage’s town centre dates back to the Victorian era and the retains many of the original features, the town hall dates back to 1872 and the original façade travelled all the way from Cheapside in London to be fitted.
While people might favour visiting the larger areas of Bournemouth or Weymouth, Swanage has a number of great heritage attractions to keep you entertained during your stay. For train fans, a must visit is the steam railway, train rides not only give you a giant hit of nostalgia, but you get to see unrivalled views of the countryside and pass Corfe Castle before ending up at the beach in Swanage. Even if you aren’t that much of a fan of trains, it is a great opportunity to see views you wouldn’t normally.
History lovers will want to spend a bit of time at Swanage Museum which features exhibitions about the dinosaurs as well as displays all about life in the town throughout history. Swanage is known as being the gateway to the Jurassic Coast, so spending some time learning about the dinosaurs will put you in good stead for then exploring the wider coastline and doing a spot of fossil hunting.
You can’t go to the seaside without taking a stroll along the pier really can you? Swanage Pier is a beautiful Victorian structure that gives you lovely views across the bay and really lets you immerse yourself in this lovely seaside town.
Just a short trip from Swanage town centre is Durlston Castle and Country Park, the castle has events and exhibitions on throughout the year which is perfect for families. The surrounding nature reserve is great for coastal walks and for looking out for the region’s wildlife. It’s also an excellent place to experience the seasons changing with the many walking trails that can be found there.
The Seventhwave Restaurant is based in the Durlston National Nature Reserve and gives you the chance to enjoy the stunning views while sampling some of the locally made food from their extensive menus. The nature reserve is ranked as being one of the nation’s favourites and has plenty to look at including wild flowers, migrating birds and stunning views.
And speaking of food….
Let’s face it, this is why you’re really here. Luckily for you, Swanage has a whole host of locally sourced produce on offer in the restaurants, cafes, bistros and market stalls. The town is home to some of the best fish and chips in Dorset as well as hand-made chocolate and of course, delicious locally made ice cream!
There are a number of caterers based in the town including Crab Apple Catering and Jurassic Cottage Foods who use the very best from ingredients sourced locally.
If you’re a fan of seafood, make sure to be in town in June when the annual Fish Festival takes places, make sure to keep an eye on our events page to see when the next foodie event is taking place in the area.
If you want a family friendly beach holiday, you can’t go far wrong with Swanage. The beach is a blue flag award winning beach and has a gentle slope down to the water covered in golden sand. During the summer you’ll find it a pleasant place to go for a swim and with the RNLI Lifeguards stationed there, it’s somewhere safe for your children to play. The beach is lined with colourful beach huts and with the traditional looking promenade, will evoke memories of fantastic beach holidays of yesteryear. Dorset’s warm weather means that visiting the beach doesn’t have to be an exclusively summer activity, but if the weather is starting to feel a bit cold, there are plenty of other options for you.
There are daily cruises departing from Swanage Pier that will take you around to Poole Quay – a great way to experience the Jurassic Coast, plus the warm weather makes the beach area a perfect place for taking part in various watersports. From paddle boarding to kayaking, there are plenty of activity centres running sessions in the area so you can have a go yourself.
Why not stay over?
Swanage has lots of great places to stay all year around and there is something to suit every taste and budget. Whether you are looking for a luxury hotel with incredible sea views, your own home from home in the form of a self-catering cottage or holiday park or a cute, friendly B&B, there is plenty to choose from. Are you planning a trip to Swanage? You can share your photos and experiences with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram .