Swanage may not be one of the best-known or premier resorts in Britain, but it recently received a boost when it came tenth in a list of Britain’s best beaches. The setting of the beach is certainly attractive, backed by a sloping green and with lovely views along the coast and across to the Isle of Wight. The town is located at the end of a chunk of coast known as the “Isle of Purbeck”, although, like Portland, it is not an island at all, or even a peninsula, but more of a rounded protruberance, the northern side forming the southern edge of Poole Harbour.
The town used to be an important quarrying port, and if you walk along the seafront towards the harbour and look down to the ground, you can still see the rails which were used to transport stone between the quarries and the port. There are many fine stone buildings in the town centre, which were built by stone merchants and developers John Mowlem and George Burt. One of the attractions Swanage is best known for is that it is the terminus of the Swanage Railway, a short but highly scenic heritage railway which includes among its stops the delightful village of Corfe Castle, dominated by the romantic ruins of the eponymous castle. For those wanting to head east from Swanage in a hurry, there is a ferry linking it to Sandbanks on the other side of Poole harbour.
For a list of events in Swanage, see here.
Map of the area.