Swanage has so much to offer, whatever your interests. Whether you enjoy reading, walking and good food, or if your interests include horse riding, cycling, heritage railway, theatre, cinema, live music, bowling, putting, tennis, crabbing, fishing, sandy beaches, swimming, diving or water-sports, all are available close by.
Things to do in Swanage
Swanage is a popular base for walkers, cyclists, climbers, weekend and midweek breaks. Also a regular Festival location for Blues & Roots, Folk and Jazz Music, Carnival, Regatta, Steam & Diesel Railway Events, Walking, Literature & Film.
The town centre includes shopping, restaurants, cafes, internet cafes, pubs, bars, traditional fish and chips, theatre & cinema, entertainment, arcades, playground, the newly refurbished Swanage Pier with The ‘1859 Cafe & Bistro’ and much more, the stone quay, sandy beaches, fantastic views, fishing trips, scuba diving, boating, tennis courts, putting greens, bowling green, Swanage Station (offering Breezer open top bus services in and out of town) and The Swanage Steam Railway.
Little Gem is just a 10 minute level walk to the town centre, and 5 minutes more to the award-winning Swanage Beach, the eastern gateway to 95 miles of beautiful Jurassic Coastline, named by UNESCO as England’s Only Natural World Heritage Site.
Swanage events and festivals
Swanage is home to a wide variety of artistic and cultural events and festivals, which run from Spring through to Autumn. Here are some key events explore.
Music and the arts
- Purbeck Literary Festival, Taking a break in 2019
- Blues and Roots Festival, Thu 28 Feb – Sun 3 Mar 2019
- Purbeck Strings Festival, To Be Arranged 2019
- Purbeck Arts Weeks, Sat 25 May – Sun 09 Jun 2019
- Swanage Jazz Festival, To Be Arranged 2019
- Swanage Repertory Season To Be Arranged 2019
- Purbeck Valley Folk Festival, Thu 15 Aug – Sun 18 Aug 2019
- Purbeck Chamber Music Fest, Thu 29 Aug – Sun 1 Sep 2019
- Swanage Folk Festival, Fri 6 Sep – Sun 8 Sep 2019
- Blues and Roots Festival, Thu 3 Oct – Sun Oct 2019
- Purbeck Film Festival, To Be Advised Oct 2019
Walking and sports
Swanage and the Purbeck Coast is great for walking and hiking, and there are number of watersports events here too. Here are some of the key events.
- Purbeck Nordic Walk Fest, Fri 13 Sep – Sun 15 Sep 2019
- Swanage Walking Festival, Fri 13 Sep – Sun 15 Sep 2019
- Purbeck Running Festival & Marathon Sat & Sun 14 & 15 Sep 2019
- Swanage Bay Triathlon & Aquabike, Sun 2 Jun 2019
- East Dorset Seahorse Open Swim Knoll Beach, Sun 30 Jun 2019
- European Paddle Board Championships, Swanage To Be Arranged 2019
Swanage Railway events
Home to the historic Swanage Railway, Swanage is a popular destination for steam train enthusiasts, many of whom travel the country to enjoy Swanage Railway, the Steam Gala, and other railway events. Here are some of their key dates.
- Railway Steam Gala, Fri 29 Mar – Sun 31 Mar 2019
- Railway Diesel Weekend, Fri 10 May – Sun 12 May 2019
- Classic Transport Rally, To Be Advised 2019
- Railway Autumn Steam Gala Fri 11th – Sun 13th October 2019
Other festivals and celebrations
Other popular community events include the Fish Festival, Pirate Festival, Swanage Carnival, Lifeboat Week, and Swanage Armed Forces Day.
- Swanage Fish Festival, Sat 8 Jun – Sun 9 Jun 2019
- Purbeck Pirate Festival, Fri 24 May – Mon 27 May 2019
- Swanage Regatta & Carnival, Sat 27 Jul – Sat 3 Aug 2019
- Swanage RNLI Lifeboat Week, Fri 9 Aug – Sun 18 Aug 2019
- Swanage Armed Forces Day, Sat 29 Jun 2019
Pubs, bars, and restaurants
Looking for places to eat and drink in Swanage? Here are few that have proven popular with both locals and guests.
- The Black Swan Inn
- The Globe Inn – historic pub and eatery
- The White Horse Inn
- The Crows Nest Inn
- The Red Lion
- The Ship Inn
- The 1859 Pier Cafe & Bistro
- Tawny’s Wine Bar
- Royal British Legion, Swanage
- Golden Bengal – Indian/Bengali restaurant and take-away
- The Fish Plaice – Sit out or take away fish & chips
- Harlees – Restaurant & take away fish & chips
- La Trattoria – Italian family-run restaurant
- Bliss Food Co.
- Bull & Boat – Under new management for 2019 T.B.A.
- Seventh Wave – Cafe bar and restaurant at Durlston
- Nihal Spice – Indian take-away – 01929423388
Shopping in Swanage
Swanage town centre is home to a wonderful selection of interesting independent stores. We can recommend taking a look at the following.
- Amber Bay – Jewellery and gifts
- Chococo – Cafe and chocolate shop
- New & Secondhand Books – Bookshop
- Curiosity – Gift shop
- Mulberry Tree Gallery – Art, ceramics, stationary
- Purbeck New Wave Gallery – Exceptional local art & sculpture
- Pursenalities – Handbags and accessories
- The Old Stables – Cafe- bar, gallery & quirky shop
- Quarr Gallery – Paintings, photography, art
- Rainbows End – Extraordinary fashion shop – call 01929 425 565
- Replayed Records – Second hand vinyl and CDs
Places to visit
No trip to Swanage is complete without a walk on the Pier, which appeared in the 2018 BBC production of Howard’s End.
- The Holy Spirit and St Edwards Catholic Church
- Church of England
- Salvation Army
- United Reformed
- Swanage Associated Taxis – 01929 421122/425350
- Bill’s Taxis (6 and 8 seater taxis) – 07549 776736
- Quay Cars – 07788 234545
Looking for more information? These websites should provide everything else that you need to know.
- Swanage & District Chamber of Trade
- Swanage Tourist Information
- Swanage Daily Events
- Swanage Weather
- Swanage Bay webcam