Swanage Fish Festival 2015

Last Sunday morning the sun was shining and I was asked: “What shall we do today?”

Well having looked through the list of things to do and what’s on, we decided to take a trip over to the Isle of Purbeck and drop down to the first Swanage Fish Festival.

CliffsandseaComing from West Dorset, which is well known for the iconic cliffs at West Bay which are some 170–175 million years old and formed in the Jurassic period, Swanage is a great contrast. It has a sweeping sandy beach and views of much younger chalk cliffs including Old Harry Rock which were formed in the Cretaceous period only 65 million years ago! The amazing Jurassic Coast has so much to offer.

Managing to find a free parking space on the road about 500 yards from the high street was made quite easy by just going up a road off the high street even though it was a busy sunny Sunday afternoon.


We started our visit by wandering along the promenade to see the colourful new beach huts and the comfy deck chairs and sun loungers, which are available to rent in the traffic-free zone along the seafront and on the sandy beach.

PAW – what is this? On looking closer we discover it stands for Purbeck Arts Week – (simple really but never been that good at these lovely Three Letter Acronyms!), which has just finished. A wonderful picture of a Stegasaurus adorns the front of a building here just by the Tourist Information Centre.

Time for an ice cream – or this is what I have been told and obviously obey. We find some lovely Purbeck Ice Cream – I just love the Honeycomb Hash flavour, but there are some great Dorset flavours that are worth a try including Dorset Blue Vinny, Dorset Watercress, the NEW Dorset Wasabi or even the Chilli Red (which is perfect with seafood)

filleted fish

Swanage Fish Festival ran its pilot event from 5th–7th June with a great mix of events and competitions, featuring food, fishing and fun. All of which could be enjoyed by the whole family, from crab fishing and fishing competitions for the children to cooking demonstrations by Ed Baines, James Golding and Matthew Shepherd. There was also a great demonstration of fish filleting – how to bone out a bass and pocket filleting a plaice. Music also played an important role in creating a marvellous event, with local bands playing throughout the weekend. All this followed by a very relaxing day on Sunday where stalls could be browsed at leisure and food enjoyed whilst listening to, the sometimes hilarious, lyrics and tunes of sea shanties of old (and sometimes new).

shantyonthepierWith proceeds going to The Fishermen’s Mission, RNLI and the Swanage Pier Trust (one of Dorset Coastal Cottages nominated charities for 2015) I for one was very pleased to see the great number of people having such a lovely time not only enjoying the wonderful seaside resort of Swanage but also supporting this event.

Having visited the festival on Sunday, we had a great fun day out and know that we will be exploring more of Swanage and its local area in the not too distant future (we have our holiday next week). So map in hand we will try and uncover some more of this wonderful area.

Check out our accommodation and availability for Swanage and Purbeck in Dorset.