The friendly town of Swanage nestles in a sheltered bay with spectacular views to the Isle of Wight. The award-winning sandy beaches at Swanage and Studland are the perfect base for a seaside holiday but there is much more to the Isle of Purbeck than just its beautiful coast.
The Isle of Purbeck offers unparalleled walking, both coastal and in the beautiful hinterland, and wherever you go you come across fragments of history. In ancient times, dinosaurs roamed the area and left many traces for us to discover today. Indeed, this whole coast from Studland to Exmouth in Devon, has been designated England’s first natural World Heritage Site, known as the Jurassic Coast.
More recently, Swanage developed as a quarrying town, an industry which continues today. Purbeck stone and marble was so highly valued in Victorian times that a local entrepreneur, George Burt, built a major business transporting stone which was used in the construction of many important London buildings. Rather than send his ships back empty, he used ‘left overs’ from construction projects as ballast. Thus Swanage abounds with curious architectural landmarks, causing it to be christened Little London.
Swanage is a proper old-fashioned seaside town. Stroll the restored pier, play in the amusement arcades, take a boat trip to see the coast from the best viewpoint, enjoy a ride on the steam railway – there is much to delight all the family. The Heritage Centre and Museum will help you make sense of what you see and a visit to Purbeck is not complete without a trip to the Civil War ruin of Corfe Castle and the beautiful Dorset village which surrounds it.
There is plenty to enthral the more energetic too – water sports, climbing, diving, cycling, horse riding and wonderful walking. Durlston Country Park, a large nature reserve only a mile from Swanage, offers the chance to see many diverse species of wildlife and runs activities for all ages. For the sports enthusiast, there are tennis courts, a bowls club and excellent golf courses.
The surrounding area is all designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty offering some of the finest scenery in England. Places of interest nearby include the natural features of Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Old Harry Rocks and, of course, Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island. Other attractions such Lulworth Castle, The Blue Pool, Tynham Village and the picturesque villages of Corfe Castle, Kingston and Worth Matravers are all within easy reach. Further afield, but still not far, are the attractions of Monkey World and the Tank Museum.
Music lovers will be spoiled for choice in Swanage with lots of the pubs offering live music all year round. The enormously popular Blues, Folk and Jazz weekends are firm features in many peoples’ diaries every year. The Mowlem Theatre on the seafront provides a mix of live theatre and feature films, and is popular with both visitors and locals alike.
All in all, the perfect holiday destination. But don’t take our word for it – come and see for yourself!