Swanage and Purbeck Area

oldharryrocksThe Swanage and Purbeck area is bounded in the north by the Frome River and in the south by the sea. Between, range the Purbeck Hills and heathlands which run down to the vast expanse of Poole Harbour and RSPB reserve at Arne. It is hard to imagine a more diverse area, which is only 13 by 7 miles.

The usual entry point is Wareham with a rail link to Waterloo (2 hours), a supermarket, good selection of small, mainly independent shops. There are boat trips on the Frome and Thursday and Saturday markets.

The ruins of Corfe Castle stand sentinel over the lovely stone village and a steam train links it with Swanage town’s sandy beach and tourist facilities. The Tourist Information Centre is on Shore Road (01929 422885).

The South West Coast Path leaves the Army controlled section around Lulworth (access most weekends and main school holidays) at Kimmeridge beach, whose renowned shale ledges are both a haven for water-sport’s enthusiasts and a Marine Nature Reserve.

The Coast Path continues on the cliffs before dropping to Chapman’s Pool. Beyond is St Aldhelm’s Head, with its tiny Norman Chapel, limestone cliffs, coves for adventurous swimmers and eventually the sandy beach of Swanage.

Swanage is what every British holiday is all about, a Victorian seaside town in a bay with a long sandy beach, promenade, a pier and a steam railway. It marks the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast and has spectacular walking. It is a festival town with something going on most weekends.

WinspitAfter the famous Old Harry chalk stacks, Studland’s long sandy beach stretches all the way to the mouth of Poole Harbour. Here there is an excellent fish restaurant and a chain ferry to Sandbanks/Poole. The attractions of Poole include the famous pottery and trips to Brownsea Island famous for its red squirrels.

The Area in Detail

The Swanage/Purbeck offers a huge variety of things to do. Here we have broken down the locale to incorporate the finer detail of what the area has to offer.

Food & Drink

Many of the fabulous eateries and pubs are within a stones throw of the wonderful beaches. Choose from traditional pubs or fine dining restaurants all within a stone’s throw of the water’s edge.


Some are shallow and sandy, while others offer fantastic rock pooling, snorkeling and diving. The diversity of the coastline is a real feature here and each beach is very different from the next.

What’s On

Keep an eye out for What’s On as the seaside town of Swanage excels in providing a full year of great entertainment, tempting in visitors from all of the surrounding villages and beyond.


Villages in the Purbeck area are famous all over for their postcard perfect appearances. Entire villages are made from the local stone quarried in this area, this of course creates the quintessential holiday cottage experience.


If you like to know before you go, visit these great websites to enhance your stay in Dorset: South West Coast PathJurassic CoastFossil HuntingVisit Dorset and iCoast.

Why not buy a Jurassic Coast Card which is new for 2018 and has some great deals for days out, food and drink and services along the Dorset Coast.

Please note: Dorset Coastal Cottages cannot be responsible for the content of external websites.

Browse cottages in the Purbeck/ Swanage area