Swanage is a coastal town and resort at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck (really a peninsula rather than an island) on the coast of Dorset. It stands near the eastern end of the scenic Jurassic Coast heritage site.
The town is dedicated to tourism, as it has been for more than 100 years, based on its scenic location and the fine sandy beach in Swanage. There are numerous activities available at the beach, including windsurfing and sailing, and it is also a popular centre for scuba diving while those of you with a head for heights can perhaps learn rock-climbing on the cliffs near Swanage while the family stroll on the pier or play on the beach ...
Within Swanage itself there is a good selection of shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants along with other 'traditional seaside entertainments' like fish and chip shops and amusement arcades and all normal facilities like banks and estate agents.
Swanage is also a pleasant town simply to stroll around, with some pretty highlights such as the old Mill Pond - pop into the Swanage Tourist office for a handy leaflet showing the main points of interest.
The Swanage Railway steam trains operate from the town and are a great way to visit Corfe Castle, the scenic village and castle a little to the west. Another local highlight is at Durlston Country park on the coast just south of the town - Durlston is a sea-facing nature reserve popular with birdwatchers and has marked trails to follow - bring a picnic!
Away from the beach it is of course the Purbeck and Dorset countryside that are the big attraction, with its beautiful setting and scenery that is lovely to explore on foot or by bike, with numerous options available to make the most of your visit.
Map of Swanage and places to visit
Swanage places to visit
See more places nearby in the Dorset guide