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Swanage is a coastal town of 9,600 people (2011) in Dorset. It is at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck and one of its two towns. Town is a popular tourist resort, with many thousands of visitors coming to the town during the peak summer season, drawn by the bay's sandy beaches and other attractions.


The town was a small port and fishing village that flourished in the Victorian era, when it first became a significant quarrying port and later a seaside resort for the rich of the day.

Swanage has a gently sloping white sand beach which is sheltered and generally calm.

Besides the beach, there are other local attractions including the restored Swanage steam railway and the Victorian pier. The town may also be used a base from which to visit other nearby areas of interest, such as Corfe Castle.

During its history the bay was listed variously as Swanawic, Swanwich and Sandwich, and only in more recent history as Swanage.

The town is at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. The town contains many listed buildings and two conservation areas: Swanage Conservation Area and Herston Conservation Area.


Swanage experiences a maritime climate with warm (but not hot) summers and cool winters. Within this climate zone, Swanage's coastal location ensures a smaller range in annual temperature than in places further inland. Rainfall typically peaks in winter, and is at its lowest during summer. The town's position on an east-facing bay provides it some protection from the prevailing southwesterly winds.

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The beach is well served by local businesses providing refreshments and services. For hire are deck chairs, boats, pedalos and general watersports equipment. The seafront has two amusement arcades, several ice cream outlets, fish restaurants and cafes.

  • 1 Swanage Steam Railway, Swanage (Park at Norden Park and Ride station), +44 1929 425800. daily April to October. Ride in authentic heritage carriages for 6 miles from Corfe Castle to the seaside resort of Swanage behind an original steam locomotive. £9. Swanage Railway (Q7653559) on Wikidata Swanage Railway on Wikipedia
  • 2 Studland Beach, Studland, near Swanage (B3351 from Corfe Castle and Swanage or via chain ferry from Sandbanks, Poole), + 44 1929 450500, . A popular beach and beauty spot.
  • 3 Old Harry Rocks, Isle of Purbeck. Chalk stack formations are just off the coast. Old Harry Rocks (Q571659) on Wikidata Old Harry Rocks on Wikipedia



The town centre has a few medium-sized outlets for major retailers, a collection of local retailers, a number of cafes, bars, restaurants and pubs. The town also has a number of successful small-scale cottage industries.

  • 1 Chococo, 21C-23A Commercial Rd, +44 01929 422748. Chocolate and Purbeck Ice Cream.
  • 2 Quarr Gallery, 17 High Street, BH19 2LP, +44 1929 475719, . Daily 11:30AM-5PM. Showcasing art by Dorset-based painters, photographers and makers. Original paintings and reproductions, photographs and pottery. from £3.50 to £5000.
  • Amber Bay Jewellers, 23 Institute Road, BH19 1BT, +44 1929 426893, . M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Small jewellery store, with several well-known brands and a large selection of amber jewellery set in sterling silver and 9ct gold. There's a show cabinet with several pieces of amber, which have been carved into animals and other objects, including unique pieces which encase an insect or two.
  • Pursenalities, 9 Institute Road, BH19 1BT, +44 1929 427199, . M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Pursenalities specialise in handbags and purses in all different styles and fabrics from leather to canvas. There is also a range of scarves and hats available alongside cushions.
  • Rainbow's End, 9/10 The Square, BH19 2LJ, +44 1929 425565. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Established in Swanage for over 25 years, and one of the South Coast's leading purveyors of fair trade and ethnic clothing, gifts, and accessories.




  • 1 YHA, Cluny Crescent, BH19 2BS, +44 845 371 9346. 101-bed hostel. beds from £13.
  • 2 The Pig on the Beach, Manor Rd, Studland BH19 3AU, +44 1929 450288. Small upscale hotel, remarkably quirky considering it's part of a chain. No dogs or pigs allowed. The original Pig Hotel is in the New Forest and there are six others in the chain. B&B double £190.
  • 3 Grand Hotel, Burlington Road, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1LU, +44 1929 423353, . Always open. The Grand Hotel, Swanage is a classic Victorian seaside hotel that nestles in the heart of the beautiful Isle of Purbeck and dates back to 1898. It commands spectacular views across Swanage Bay and Peveril Point. £.
  • Little Gem Guest House, 4, Cecil Road (off Swanage High Street), +44 1929427904, . Edwardian house with modern comforts. Varied English breakfast menu. All rooms are double glazed and include freeview TV, clock radio, free WiFi, hairdryer, and complimentary toiletries. ‘King Size Double’, ‘Twin Room’, ‘First Floor Double’, and an easily accessible ‘Ground Floor Double’, all with ensuite facilities. Children over the age of ten welcome. Pets not allowed.


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