There are a number of different ways to get from Bournemouth to Swanage, or Swanage to Bournemouth depending on the direction you are traveling. We have put together a guide of the different methods available.
By Car (With Sandbanks Ferry Crossing):
This is by far the most direct route available, it involves a bit of driving and then a journey across Poole Harbour via the Sandbanks Ferry service, taking this route cuts out around 25 miles of driving and plenty of time on a return journey.
You will need to make your way to the Sandbanks Terminal which is to the south of Bournemouth at the south/western end of the beach, you can get to it via Banks road, the address of the terminal is Poole BH13 7QN. There will be plenty of road signs pointing towards Sandbanks and then as you approach, there will be signs for “Swanage via Chain Ferry”. The crossing time is only 4 minutes.
Once on the Swanage side, you follow Ferry Road down into Studland, then take the B3351 towards Swanage and this will take you onto Ulwell road and into the centre of Swanage.
By Car (Without Sandbanks Ferry Crossing):
If you would prefer not to use the Sandbanks Ferry crossing, you are able to drive around Poole Harbour, through Wareham and then onto Swanage. The route will take you approximately 34 to 45 minutes and it is 24.9 miles from the centre of Bournemouth to the centre of Swanage.
You will want to get onto the Wessex Way/A338 going westbound, you will stay on this road until you reach the A3049, continue along this road until you reach the A35, at the roundabout the first exit will take you onto Wareham Road/A351. The A351 will take you all the way through Wareham, past Corfe Castle and all the way to Kings Road West and into the heart of Swanage.
Getting from Bournemouth to Swanage by bus is straight forward and takes approximately 56 minutes to complete the journey. Starting from Bournemouth Square, the busses pass through the centre of Bournemouth and moves south-west towards Sandbanks Ferry, it crosses using the ferry and then continues south through Studland, Ulwell and then onto Swanage ending its journey at the Swanage Bus Station.
There are also National Express busses that travel from Bournemouth to Swanage once or twice a day.
Getting between Bournemouth and Swanage by train is a little more complicated and there is not a direct route or train line that goes all the way, it will take approximately 1-hour and 34 minutes. From Bournemouth train station, you can take the Southern Western Railway service towards Weymouth, you must get off at Wareham and then walk to Wareham station. You will then need to take the number 40 Breezer bus the rest of the way into Swanage.