Swanage - things to do in Dorset


As the largest town in Purbeck, Swanage is traditional seaside resort with stunning natural beauty.

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46.8 miles from Highlands End
48.8 miles from Golden Cap
44.6 miles from Graston Copse
21.8 miles from Sandyholme

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  • Swanage - things to do in Dorset
  • Swanage - things to do in Dorset
  • Swanage - things to do in Dorset
  • Swanage - things to do in Dorset
  • Swanage - things to do in Dorset
  • Swanage - things to do in Dorset

The blue flag beach at Swanage offers everything you would expect from a traditional seaside town. You’re never far away from an ice cream stall, fish and chip shop and pedalo rental kiosk. The bay is sheltered and the shoreline slopes gentle making it a safe swimming beach. Dogs are welcome on Swanage beach between 1st October – 30th April each year.

If you’re visiting in the summer you might want to check out the carnival and regatta which usually happens during the last week of July. There is a whole host of events including air displays, carnival procession and firework displays.

Food and drink

There is a good selection of pubs and restaurants in the town. The Salt Pig Too has the motto of Live Local… Eat Local. They offer a tasty selection of meat and fish, all sourced from farms within 8 miles of the café. The owners of the café makes their own sausages and bacon from their own rare breed pigs. For seafood lovers had to Gee Whites. They serve up delicious looking platters of locally caught seafood and shell fish which can be enjoyed with views over looking Swanage Bay. Bliss Food Co. create tasty homemade meals using only fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their small but beautifully decorated restaurant has a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Out and about in Swanage

The South West Coast Path runs right along the seafront in Swanage so it’s easy to head out and take on the Purbeck hill walks which surround the town. If you follow the coast path to the west for a couple of miles you will arrive at Durlston Country Park.  This expansive, clifftop nature reserve is a treat for bird spotters and nature lovers. When you’ve finished exploring outside in the reserve head over to the visitor centre and gallery which situated in a renovated Victorian castle.

A trip on the Swanage Railway is a fantastic day out for the whole family. They run both steam powered and diesel locomotives trips from the station which is near the centre of the town. Visitors can experience a unique journey through six miles of beautiful scenery passing the magnificent ruins of Corfe Castle.

If you want to head out on the water there are a number of boats set up for fishing and sight seeing trips. The best way to see the Jurassic Coast is from the water so climb aboard and have your cameras (and fishing rods) at the ready. Other activities on offer include pitch and putt golf, seafront arcades and crabbing off the pier.

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Holidays in Dorset

At West Dorset Leisure Holidays, we have a great choice of accommodation and facilities across 4 family-run holiday parks on or near the Jurassic Coast - Highlands End, Golden Cap, Graston Copse and Sandyholme, as well as Caravan and Lodge Holiday Homes for sale.

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Our Awards & Accreditations

Our parks have been recognised as some of the best in Dorset and the South West. We're extremely proud of the awards and it's easy to see why our guests return year on year. You can be safe in the knowledge that you're staying at one of the best parks in the county! Please note awards vary by Park - there is more information on the pages for each park.

dorset tourism awards gold 2021/222021 travelers choice tripadvisor awarddavid bellamy blooming marvellous pledge for nature 2022david bellamy conservation gold award 2020/21taste of the west south west england award 2022david bellmay conservation award honey bee friendly park awardgolden cap holiday park commended south westthe queens green canopy platinum jubilee logoplastic free champion surfers against sewage

What our guests say

  • The Most Magical Campsite

    We have just come back from the most magical few days staying at Highlands End. In fact, it was so good we extended our stay by a few days whilst on park. We are new to campsites and this was beyond my expectations

    Mr Scott - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Happy second visit

    Perfectly clean, ample space, lovely views, close to everything, what more could be asked for?

    Dan Pipper - Tripadvisor
    Golden Cap

  • Well maintained and quiet

    Lovely clean and tidy site. well maintained and quiet in walking distance to Hive Beach and West Bay only a couple of miles away over the coastal walk.

    Linda S - Google Reviews
    Graston Copse

  • Friendliest park on the Dorset coast

    Possibly the friendliest park on the Dorset coast. Staff are exceptional, very helpful and keep the place spotless. The views are fantastic. Showers and toilets are very modern and extremely clean.

    Mr Leck - Tripadvisor
    Highlands End

  • Fantastic

    This is a lovely quiet, friendly, well maintained site with very friendly, helpful staff who are knowledgeable about the local area and more than happy to pass on useful information to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

    Nigel White - Tripadvisor

  • Wonderful three night stay

    Our pitch was spacious and quiet. The facilities were clean and a generous number of showers etc whatever time we needed them. A very picturesque site and plenty to do straight from the van without the need to drive

    Rachel L - Pitch Up
    Golden Cap

  • Beautiful weekend away

    This park is in a wonderful location. The local village is beautiful and only a 15 min walk along the river. The beach is then another 15 minutes along - again a beautiful walk. We were blessed with amazing weather so we spent the afternoon on Hive Beach.

    Clairey16 - Tripadvisor
    Graston Copse

  • Ideal base for exploring

    Ideal base for exploring Dorset , everywhere we wanted to visit was within easy reach . Site itself was very good, nice and quite and clean and staff very friendly.

    James S - Tripadvisor