Learn more about the Isle of Purbeck

in the Isle of Purbeck

The seaside town of Swanage is situated on the southeast coast of Dorset, England. The town is at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, a peninsula which is bordered by water on three sides, with Poole Harbour to the north and the English Channel to the south and east.

When visiting the town, it is accessible via road from Wareham or across the Sandbanks Ferry from Poole. Swanage is a popular tourist destination with Blue Flag award-winning sandy beaches and beautiful countryside. 

Swanage is also the first town at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Britain.

The bay was in the past listed as Swanawic, Swanwich, and Sandwich, and only in more recent history as Swanage.

Until the early 19th century, the town was a small fishing port, but the arrival of the steam railway and the popularity of the Victorian seaside holiday resulted in the rapid expansion of the town, and it retains many of the Victorian buildings and character.

The stone trade has always been significant to the town dating back to the 1st century AD. Purbeck Stone is used in buildings across the country and London. The stone boats returned from the city with cast iron bollards, relics and monuments as ballast, which can still be found in the area today.

The town has many shops, from small gift shops to two medium-sized supermarkets.

There are two post offices in the town, the main post office located on Institute Road and a small sub-post office in Costcutter at Herston.

Swanage has a wide range of tourist attractions, The Steam RailwayDurlston Country ParkVictorian Pier, Two Public swimming pools, Tennis courts, Indoor & Outdoor bowling greens and a large golf course between Swanage and Studland to name just a few.

The area has many miles of footpaths and bridleways, making it the ideal place for exploring for walkers, cyclists, and horse riders.

Swanage has a population of around 10,000; in the summer months, this number nearly doubles. The town dates back to 877AD when it was first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. A more detailed area history can be found in the Local History section.


Swanage is governed by Swanage Town Council and Dorset County Council. The town falls within the national constituency of South Dorset.

Swanage Town Council is a Parish Authority based in the town hall in Swanage High Street. Council services include beach and tourist information, sport and recreational facilities, off-street car parks, public conveniences, allotments, and cemeteries. The council consists of twelve elected councillors, a town mayor, and up to 100 staff.

Click to view Swanage Bay - Ref: 1121
Click to view Cold Wet Start - Ref: 1386
Click to view Swanage Beach in January - Ref: 1491
Click to view On to the Priests Way - Ref: 1546
Click to view A1 Steam Loco Trust No 60163 Tornado - Ref: 1562
Click to view Poppies resting on the Swanage War Memorial - Ref: 1592
Click to view Swanage Seafront - Ref: 1640
Click to view Water tower on Swanage Railway - Ref: 1665
Click to view Duchess of Sutherland at Swanage Railway - Ref: 1879



Swanage Museum and Heritage Centre
Attraction - 0.04 miles away

Flooding in Swanage
Attraction - 0.12 miles away

Santa Fe fun park
Attraction - 0.13 miles away

Swanage Sea Rowing Club
Attraction - 0.15 miles away

Swanage Carnival
Attraction - 0.16 miles away

Tourist Info Centres
Attraction - 0.17 miles away

Public Transport
Attraction - 0.18 miles away

Recreation Ground
Attraction - 0.20 miles away

Swanage Railway
Attraction - 0.20 miles away

Prince Albert Gardens
Attraction - 0.23 miles away