Swanage Attractions

If you are planning on visiting Swanage and the surrounding area there is so much to see and do. Check out our listing for Swanage events.

Swanage Pier

The original stone pier was built to haul locally quarried stone and the timbers can still be seen. The existing Swanage Pier was first built in 1895 for passenger services. It was in used extensively until the 1960’s when it fell into disrepair – it was left to a local trust to renovate the pier to its former glory. The pier is often home to pirate ships and the visiting ‘Waverley’ steamer. You will find an interesting aquarium, shipwreck displays, dive school and cafe on site. Donation for entry.

Swanage Museum

Swanage Museum is home to interesting artefacts that span Swanage’s entire history. You will find Jurassic era fossils through to fascinating displays about the Purbeck stone quarried in the area. Much of the stone quarried in this area was used in the great buildings in London and this is reflected in the architecture of local buildings.

Whats best about this museum is its free entry!

Durlston Country Park

Durlston Country Park and Nature reserve is one of our top attractions and can occupy a whole day out. There is a large car park (charges apply) right next to the entrance, though you can walk from the town.

Rangers are on hand to help you explore the wildlife walks, stone glove, impressive calender of reasonably priced events, castle and coastal walks. If you cant wait to visit why not check out their webcam.

The castle is often home to interesting art displays and historical exhibitions. You can also enjoy stunning views from the castle roof.

Cafe, gallery, gift shop and toilets are available.

Anvil Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse is a 12m tower, which was built in 1881. The best way to view the lighthouse and the breathtaking coastal scenery is via Durlston Country Park. The path is uneven and steep.

Old Harry Rocks

The famous white stacks, stand at the end of Handfast point. They are part of the Jurassic Coast, protected and managed by the National Trust.

The name Old Harry actually refers to the last stack, there once was an Old Harry’s wife, but erosion took that stack to the sea. The Needles (sea stack on the Isle of White) and Old Harry are actually the remaining parts of chalk cliffs that were once joined together. The Needles are clearly visible on a good day.

The pervading theory as to where Old Harry got his name is that it was named after the devil, as the top of the cliff nearby is called Old Nicks Ground.

Some of the best views of the rocks can be enjoyed from Swanage beach but you can walk to the clifftop (we do advise keeping well away from the cliff edge and keeping dogs on a lead). From Studlands South car park, which can get busy in the summer months, follow the sign posts to the rocks. There is room to enjoy a picnic at the top of the cliffs and a good pub in Studland called the Bankes Arms.

Another way to view the rocks is by Kayak, we advise joining a guided tour by Fore Adventure

Swanage Beach

Swanage beach is hugely popular with families and gets very busy in the summer. Its a long sandy beach with shallow batheing waters, which has been awarded Blue Flag Status. There is plenty of local parking but the Shore Rd nearest the town is closed in the summer months. This makes the beach a relaxing place for families but dogs are not allowed from May – end September.

During the summer months you can hire pedalos, beach chairs and deck chairs. The beach is the centre of many of the events that are held here annually, which include The Blues Festival, Fish Festival and Carnival.

Swanage Pitch & Putt

A 1000 metre long pitch and putt course, short enough for the kids to enjoy but long enough to challenge the adult.s

Swanage Arcades

There are two sets of amusement arcades in Swanage. The largest is on Shored Rd, opposite the beach and next to Harlees Fish and Chip shop. The other is located near the old stone pier.