Swanage is a small seaside town located on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, England. It is situated on the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site known for its unique geology and stunning coastal landscapes. With its beautiful beaches, charming old town, and scenic walks, Swanage is a popular destination for visitors who come to explore the Jurassic Coast and enjoy the beauty of the English countryside.
Getting to Swanage
Swanage is located about 2.5 hours by car from London, and can also be reached by train from London Waterloo station to Wareham, followed by a short bus or taxi ride to Swanage. The nearest airports are Bournemouth and Southampton, both of which are about an hour’s drive away.
Things to do in Swanage
- Visit Swanage Bay
Swanage Bay is a long, sweeping stretch of golden sand and clear blue water, surrounded by cliffs and dotted with colorful beach huts. It is a great place to relax, sunbathe, swim, and enjoy water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing.
- Walk the South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path runs through Swanage, offering stunning views of the coast and the countryside. There are several walks of varying lengths and difficulty levels, including the short walk to Durlston Head and the longer walk to Old Harry Rocks.
- Visit Durlston Country Park
Durlston Country Park is a 280-acre nature reserve located on the cliffs above Swanage Bay. It offers a range of walking trails through woodlands, meadows, and clifftops, as well as stunning views of the coast and wildlife such as dolphins, seals, and birds.
- Explore the Old Town
Swanage’s Old Town is a charming, traditional English village with narrow streets, historic buildings, and independent shops and cafes. It is a great place to wander and explore, and to get a sense of the town’s history and character.
- Take a Steam Train to Corfe Castle
The Swanage Railway is a heritage steam railway that runs from Swanage to the historic village of Corfe Castle. The journey takes you through beautiful countryside and past iconic landmarks like the ruins of Corfe Castle.
- Visit the Jurassic Coast Visitors Centre
The Jurassic Coast Visitors Centre is located in the heart of Swanage, and offers a range of exhibits and displays that showcase the geology and natural history of the Jurassic Coast. It is a great place to learn about the area’s unique landscape and wildlife.
Where to Eat in Swanage
Swanage has a range of restaurants, cafes, and pubs that offer a variety of cuisine and dining experiences. Some popular options include:
- The Salt Pig Too – a rustic deli and cafe that serves delicious sandwiches, salads, and pastries, as well as local cheeses and cured meats.
- The Black Swan – a traditional English pub that serves classic pub grub and local beers and ciders.
- The Pig on the Beach – a stylish and upscale restaurant that offers seasonal, locally sourced cuisine and stunning sea views.
- Gee Whites – a seafood restaurant and fishmonger that serves fresh, locally caught fish and chips and other seafood dishes.
Where to Stay in Swanage
Swanage has a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and taste, including hotels, bed and breakfasts, self-catering cottages, and campsites. Some popular options include:
- The Grand Hotel – a historic hotel located on the seafront, with stunning views of Swanage Bay.
- Purbeck House Hotel – a family-run hotel located in a Victorian country house, with elegant rooms and beautiful gardens.
- Swanage Bay View Holiday Park – a caravan and camping site locate on a hill above Swanage, with stunning views of the bay and the surrounding countryside.
- The Pines Hotel – a charming, family-run hotel located in a quiet residential area, with comfortable rooms and a lovely garden.
- Swanage Hostel – a budget-friendly hostel located in the heart of town, with dormitory and private rooms and a shared kitchen and lounge.
When to Visit Swanage
Swanage can be visited year-round, although the best time to visit is during the summer months (June-August) when the weather is warm and sunny and the town is bustling with visitors. Spring (March-May) and autumn (September-November) are also good times to visit, with fewer crowds and milder temperatures. Winter (December-February) can be cold and rainy, but the town is still charming and cozy, and there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy.
Swanage is a beautiful and charming seaside town that offers visitors a range of activities and experiences, from stunning beaches and scenic walks to historic landmarks and local cuisine. Whether you are looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled holiday, Swanage and the Jurassic Coast have something to offer everyone.