Swanage is the perfect choice for a traditional seaside holiday and the perfect base from which to explore the eastern half of Dorset's newly designated World Heritage Coastline. Swanage boasts a fine selection of Hotels, Guest Houses, B & B's and self catering holiday cottages and apartments. Around the town you'll also find plenty of quality caravan and camping parks.
This compact, friendly resort, picturesquely set in a broad, gently curving bay, is the gem of the Purbeck coast. With its award-winning beach, safe bathing, lots of leisure activities , fascinating all-weather attractions and good all-round family entertainment Swanage offers a warm welcome for everyone! Swanage beach with its gently shelving, golden, sandy shore and clear, unpolluted water has won the prestigious European 'Blue Flag' award on many occasions as well as the Tidy Britain Group's 'Seaside Award'.
Here you can hire canoes and pedaloes, enjoy the timeless antics of Punch and Judy, or simply laze away sunny days. And when the sandcastles have been built and ice creams eaten, children will find lots more to do in the beachside Recreation Ground where, on Sunday afternoons in summer, open-air band concerts also take place. Should lazing on the warm sandy beach prove just too tiring, within minutes' walk you will find a refreshing change of scene in the lively attractive town centre with its many interesting shops, boutiques and restaurants. Or maybe you could while away some time in the nearby parks and gardens. Spectacular floral displays adorn the gardens during spring and summer and the town is truly deserving of its 'Southern England in Bloom' award.
Travelling just a short distance along the coast from Swanage you find very different contrasts in the coastline depending on whether you head east or west. Three miles or so east of Swanage you'll find Studland beach one of the most beautiful long sandy beaches in the area back with sand dunes and heathland. The whole area is managed by the National Trust and is a joy to visit. From Studland a car ferry takes you some 200 metres across the mouth of Poole Harbour to Sandbanks from where you can travel on to Poole and Bournemouth. You'll find a totally different coastline though when you travel west for now you are traveling along the Jurassic Coast with it's beautiful craggy cliffs and small bays and inlets. Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Kimmeridge are some of the easiest visited beaches in this area and should not be missed. Travel inland a short way and you'll reach Corfe Castle and Wareham.
With so many places to eat and drink, you certainly won't go hungry! Choose from seafood specialities and traditional fish and chips to cosy tearooms serving Dorset cream teas. Traditional local pubs beckon with hearty pub-grub; stylish bistros offer continental cuisine and take-away restaurants cater for all tastes. You can be sure of a comfortable and relaxing stay too, with such a wide variety of quality accommodation available, ranging from small, family-run guest houses to luxury hotels providing every amenity. Many are conveniently located within a short walk of both the town and beach. There is also ample choice of self-catering properties and well specified camping and caravan sites.
A varied events programme keeps the town alive throughout the summer months. The renowned Jazz Weekend in July is followed by the colourful, fun-filled Regatta and Carnival Week. In September the town comes alive to the sights and sounds of the annual Folk Festival. Swanage's many attractions ensure that, no matter what the length of your stay, there will always be plenty to see and do. Swanage makes an excellent base for exploring the surrounding, unspoilt Purbeck countryside with its enchanting villages and many visitor attractions.
The Mowlem Theatre presents a varied programme of films, shows and plays throughout the year, while the Vista complex at Swanage Caravan Park is a family entertainment centre boasting a heated indoor pool, skittle alley, indoor bowls complex and 'trimnasium'. There are all-weather tennis courts at the Beach Gardens Sports Park, outdoor bowls rinks and an 18-hole putting course. From Swanage Railway station, at the very heart of the town, steam trains travel through magnificent scenery on a restored, standard gauge line to charming Corfe Castle. Pleasure cruises, sometimes aboard veteran motor vessels, and, occasionally, the historic paddle steamer Waverley, depart from the newly restored pier daily throughout the season, sailing to Brownsea Island, Poole, Bournemouth and the Isle of Wight. Regular cruises also operate from the Quay where sea angling trips can be booked and motor boats hired. Non-landing, scenic cruises provide excellent views of Purbeck's outstanding coastline, a glimpse of Swanage's stone quarrying history at Durlston Head and, if you're lucky, Bottle-nosed Dolphins and Puffins.
On the clifftop lies Durlston Country Park, 263 acres of delightful countryside overlooking Purbeck's Marine Research Area. The Park is perfect for walking, picnics or just relaxing. At the Park Centre visitors of all ages can learn about the fascinating local ecology and wildlife; watch Durlston's nationally important Guillemot colony live on TV and listen to sounds from the seabed picked up by an underwater microphone. There truly is so much to discover in and around Swanage that after just one visit you're sure to want to return again.
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