Area Guide - Swanage

Area Guide - Swanage

Swanage is situated at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, approximately 10 km south of Poole and 40 km east of Dorchester. It offers great views from Durlston Head south of the town, and to the North is an attractive beach at Studland Bay.

Swanage is the perfect choice for a traditional seaside holiday and an ideal base for exploring the eastern side of Dorset’s World Heritage coastline.

Swanage has an award winning beach, safe bathing and lots of leisure activities suitable for all members of the family.

Things to do / Local Attractions

Swanage Railway

The Swanage Railway is a restored standard gauge steam railway that runs along six miles from Swanage on the coast through the Purbeck countryside to Corfe Castle. The railway provides a useful link through Purbeck taking you through some of Dorset's most beautiful scenery and to tourist attractions like Corfe Castle, helping you avoid the summer traffic. You can park your car at the large car park next to the Railway Station in Swanage then take the trip through to Corfe Castle for a good day out.

For timetable information visit:

Swanage Town Trails

A good way to see the town is to go on one of three town trails. There's the Stone Trail which takes in the Bankers where the quarried stone was once stacked for shipping to London, the Victorian Trail which takes you up the coast path to Durlston Country Park and the Town Trail that takes you past the town's sights, many of which seem to have pilfered from places in London!

The Town Trail leaflets are available from Swanage's Tourist Information Office for a small fee.

Swanage Pier

Area Guide Swanage - Swanage PierSwanage Pier was built in 1896, partly to assist with exporting locally quarried Purbeck stone by sea to Poole and London but also to support the thriving paddle steamer industry.

The entire pier has recently been refurbished after receiving a lottery grant. The pier and surrounding area is said to be some of the best diving areas in the south of England.

You can find everything from free exhibitions to scuba diving, along with an assortment of gift and refreshment shops.

Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve

Durlston Country Park and National Nature Reserve is situated 1 mile from Swanage. It is a stunning 280 acre countryside paradise consisting of sea-cliffs, coastal limestone downland, haymeadows, hedgerows and woodland. With stunning views, walking trails, the historic Great Globe, superb geology and fascinating wildlife there is always something different to see.