About Swanage

Distances: London 123 miles. Bournemouth & Poole (via car ferry at Sandbanks-7 miles) 11 miles. Wareham 10 miles.  Dorchester 27 miles. Weymouth 29 miles.  Southampton 40 miles.

Swanage is a popular seaside town lying at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck. It is pleasantly nestled between the Purbeck Hills and enjoys a very agreeable climate with little snow and high sunshine records. The population in 2001 was about 10,000.  

It has a great, safe, award winning family-friendly sandy beach, and the architecture is a pleasant mixture of old stone cottages, Victorian/Edwardian buildings and more modern properties. Local Purbeck stone is used in the construction of many of the properties in the area, giving the town considerable charm and character.

Swanage’s main industry today is tourism, having originally been a small port with a stone quarrying and fishing trade.

For more information regarding its control, please visit the Swanage Town Council web site- www.swanage.gov.uk

Visit Virtualswanage.co.uk for more lots more useful information. 

Main Beach
The Bay from downs on the southside

Transport Information

By road Swanage is reached from the M27 motorway and the A31, A35  and A351 roads, via the market town Wareham or alternatively over the Sandbanks chain ferry at Sandbanks, near Poole. 

There are regular ‘bus services between Swanage, Poole and Bournemouth which also serve Wareham and the Purbeck villages. 

There is a mainline railway station at Wareham (10 miles) which operates between Weymouth and London Waterloo, the service between Wareham and Waterloo taking approximately 2 hours- www.southwesttrains.co.uk .There is also a private steam railway line providing a service between Swanage and Corfe Castle. There are plans to extend this link to Wareham.

The Royal Wessex


Bournemouth (Hurn) airport (18 miles via Sandbanks ferry) serves a number of popular holiday destinations-www.bournemouthairport.com. Southampton Airport (45 miles via Sandbanks ferry) also serves a number of popular holiday destinations and operates a UK network- www.southamptonairport.com


Both Poole and Weymouth operate a ferry service to the Channel Islands and France. www.condorferries.com, www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/Poole


Some shops have early closing on a Thursday. There are old-established local shops, two Supermarkets in the centre of the town and various multiples, including Boots.

Banks & Building Societies

Branches of Barclays, Lloyds TSB, HSBC, National Westminster and Nationwide. Agencies for Santander and Yorkshire Building Society.


There are a number of churches, of several denominations, in Swanage: St Mary's Anglican Church and three more Anglican Churches, Emmanuel Baptist Church, a Quakers' meeting, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army and United Reformed Church.

St Mary’s Church and the Millpond

Adventure & Leisure Activities

Rock climbing, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, horse riding, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, golf, surfing, cycling, walking and rambling are just some of the various activities partaken in.

Swanage Lifeboat

Sporting Clubs

Angling (on and off shore), Badminton, Bowls, Cricket, Croquet, Football, Golf (18 & 9 hole courses at the Isle of Purbeck GC, on the Corfe Castle to Studland road , about 3 miles from the Swanage town centre), Hockey, Putting, Riding (Stables at Studland), Sea Rowing (Cornish pilot gigs), Rugby (at Wareham), Sailing, Squash, Tennis and Sub-Aqua Club.

Isle of Purbeck Golf Club 5th Hole
Sailing in the Bay

Clubs & Societies

There are many clubs and societies catering for various interests and hobbies.

Festivals and events

Swanage hosts a number of annual festivals and events. In the summer months there is a Regatta & Carnival week, usually 1st week of August or thereabouts, which includes a procession of floats, bands and dancers and several firework displays which continue through August. In addition during the summer season, there are separate Jazz, Folk and Blues Festivals.


Schools in Purbeck currently operate as part of a two-tier system. In Swanage there are several primary schools which feed into either the new Swanage School on the edge of the town at Herston in 2014 or The Purbeck School at Wareham. The town has a library in the town centre.