Sensational Swanage

This south coast town is an ideal weekend destination.

THIS DORSET town made a name for itself, first as a port to ship quarried marble and limestone out of Dorset, and then as a retreat for the wealthy in the early 1900s.

Swanage has a famous, traditional pier, which dates back to 1895. The pier is the base for lots of adventures: from diving and fishing to watersports and cruises.

There’s a full programme of summer passenger trips to and from Swanage Pier, operated by City Cruises Ltd. These range from full-day cruises along the Jurassic Coast, to shorter trips to see spectacular Old Harry Rocks. The boats have wide-open decks, comfortable lounges, washrooms and a fully-licensed bar aboard.

Swanage’s beach is Blue Flag certified and has RNLI Lifeguards patrolling bathing areas in high season, so it’s ideal for families. Close by is Swanage Beach Gardens Sports Park, which has tennis, bowling greens, a putting green and outdoor bowls.

The very best views of the town are from Peveril Point, a park on the headland to the south of the town. Within the vicinity there are lots of unique attractions, too. Old Harry Rocks are incredible chalk sea stacks and stumps (absolutely nothing to do with Redknapp senior!). They’re a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very photogenic. Kimmeridge Bay is within a marine Special Area of Conservation. It has the best rock-pooling and safest snorkelling in Dorset!

It is located on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and makes up part of the South West Coast Path national walking trail. Fancy a break from the sea? Head inland to Corfe Castle. This 1,000-year-old castle ruin is steeped in history and offers great vistas of the surrounding area.

Make your stay better

Throughout the summer

Pier fishing lessons at Swanage Pier

Pier Approach, Swanage BH19 2AW

W: swanagepiertrust.com

Price: £25 per person (max six)

The lessons are provided by Neil Macey from High Tides Sea Fishing Tuition, who is a level two sea angling coach. The lessons are the perfect introduction to sea fishing, and they’re safe and informative. All kit provided.


Late July to early August

Swanage Regatta and Carnival Week

Numerous venues around the town

T: 01934 742810

W: swanagecarnival.com

Price: Various, depending on events

A whole week jam-packed full of celebrations! A two-mile parade, fireworks, air display, fun sports, live music, dance and colour... lots of colour! Venues include the pier, Dorset Adventure Park and Corfe Castle.

Places of Interest

  • Corfe Castle

    The Square, Wareham BH20 5EZ
    W nationaltrust.org.uk
    T 01929 481294
    Price Adult £10, Child £5

  • Kimmeridge Bay

    Kimmeridge, Wareham BH20 5PF
    W jurassiccoast.org
    Price Free

  • Durlston Country Park

    Lighthouse Rd, Swanage BH19 2JL
    W durlston.co.uk
    T 01929 424443
    Price Free (parking costs £5 all day, 1 April to 31 October)

  • Old Harry Rocks

    Handfast Point, Studland BH19 3AX
    W visit-dorset.com
    T 01929 450002
    Price Free

  • Swanage Beach Gardens Sports Park

    De Moulham Road, Swanage BH19 1PQ
    W swanage.gov.uk
    T 01929 766018
    Price Adult Bowling £4, Putting £3.50, Tennis £9

  • Swanage Pier

    Pier Approach, Swanage BH19 2AW
    W swanagepiertrust.com
    T 01929 425806
    Price Free