Things to do

Things to do in Swanage

A day out in Dorset would be far from complete without a trip to the seaside. Swanage is my personal favourite Dorset coastal town, as it was where I spent the first few years of my life, and not only that, but it is the best town on the Jurassic Coast for scenery.

Swanage beach

There are several car parks on the edge of town, none of which are too expensive, but if you want a local tip, have a little drive around some of the residential side roads, where you can park for free, and have a brilliant view of the sea.

As you walk down the hill to the sea front, you can start off with a walk along the sand, and maybe dip your toes in the water, as you head towards the town centre. The high street has many unique shops which are very tempting in which to spend your money, whether you’re looking for some seaside rock or a bag of fudge for a gift for the grandparents, or whether you’re after some beautifully presented fossils which have been found along the Jurassic Coast. Inside the fossil shop, it’s work checking out the resident bear skeleton which is huge and sits just inside the entrance. Curiosity is another little gifty shop where you can pretty much buy any and all of those little nick nacky things, which have no purpose but look great in your house.

South beach Swanage

After shopping, you’ll no doubt be getting hungry, and the best fish and chips in the whole of Dorset are served in the tiny little square just outside the museum in ‘The Fish Plaice.’ Take my advice and go for the homemade fish cake and chips- just beware of the seagulls when you’re sat outside trying to enjoy your lunch!

If you walk around the seaside route of the town, rather than continuing to follow the high street, you will get stunning views across the bay to Poole and Bournemouth, and you might even spot the Isle of Wight in the distance on a clear day. From there, you can follow the coast all the way round to the pier and have a walk along it, though there is a small charge. 

There is a beautiful park which you can walk through just adjacent to the pier, and head up the hill for some incredible views across the whole of Swanage bay. This area is brilliant for dog walking if you wanted to bring your four legged friends with you. See if you stumble across Fort Henry.

Fort Henry Swanage

You can follow the path back down to town again and after working up a thirst, you can head to East Bar, which has a little patio to sit and enjoy a cold beer outside, or sofas inside where you can sit and watch the fish swimming in the fish tank in the floor, which has been converted from an old well. 

Once you have quenched your thirst, you really should round off the day with an ice cream, and you can either do this at Mick’s Place just opposite East Bar, or head back into town near the arcade where you will be spoilt for choice with ice cream options. 

Before you head home, I recommend stepping into the arcade and getting rid of some of that loose change- perfect for the big kids!


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