Swanage is a small coastal town in South East Dorset, located in the Isle of Purbeck area, which is close to the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. Swanage’s position along the coast means it’s a sheltered town, and it’s this, along with the protection offered by many key natural attractions in the area, which makes it very popular with visitors.
Swanage used to be a quarrying port, and came to prominence in Victorian times, when it was also a holiday destination for the rich. Now it is a tourist trap for all, and becomes very busy in the summer months. The sheltered beaches and coves make it an ideal place for diving, and it was here in Swanage that the first Dive School in the UK opened in the 1950’s.
One of the key spots for Diving is off Swanage Pier, which also offers walkers and fishermen the chance to enjoy and use the Victorian Structure. In season, the pier also has a shop and small museum exhibition open, and visitors can take paddle steamer or passenger boat trips along the coast from Swanage Pier.
Away from the pier, the South West Coast Path runs through the town, with one stretch called the Purbeck Way taking in Swanage, Corfe Castle and Wareham. There are walks in all directions around this area though, so you could also take in notable rock formations such as Old Harry’s Rocks and Durdle Door, and the peaceful Lulworth Cove.
Studland Beach and Nature Reserve also offer plenty for the explorer, with the sand dunes, and heath and woodland, a great place to see the local wildlife, including deer, reptiles, and birds. The 4 mile sandy beach and water sports on offer are also a lot of fun for all the family.
All these outdoor attractions mixed with a variety of shops, cafes, restaurants, amusement arcades, the Mowlem Theatre, and the Swanage Steam Railway, means there is plenty to enjoy beside the seaside here.
For those who want to use Swanage as a base for exploring Dorset, then there are a variety of hotels and guesthouses in the town, which is also easily accessible for holidaymakers. You can take the M3 then M27 motorways, which connect to the local road network, take a train to Bournemouth and Wareham train stations, and a bus onto Swanage, or travel by ferry from Bournemouth to Studland and drive onto Swanage. The choices are there, along with all the ingredients for a traditional British Seaside Holiday, so why not give Swanage a go?