For a fun, nature-filled and budget-friendly way to holiday in Swanage, try one of the local campsites or touring parks – the back-to-basics way to explore Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.
There’s something for everyone, with quiet, natural camping in peaceful rural settings, to pitches close to the hustle and bustle of Swanage beach and town, with all the amenities you could ask for.
Whether you prefer glamping (think king-size bed, sofa and heated bell tent) or more of a wild camping experience roasting marshmallows and making s’mores around a campfire, the campsites and caravan sites in Swanage and across Purbeck have got it covered.
Campsites here also provide great options for exploring Purbeck in different ways at different times of the year – pitch a tent nearby to Swanage Beach in the summer, and return to a holiday home retreat, such as one of Burnbake’s log cabins or a Purbeck Shepherd Hut in the winter to explore the area’s cosy pubs and countryside walks.
You’ll also find plenty of sites that have a combination of camping and self-catering, which open up the opportunities for a holiday with the extended family or friends – young families might like to camp, whilst the older generations may prefer a static caravan or self-contained holiday let on the same site, like at Norden Farm, Downshay and Ulwell.
Campsites in Swanage itself
Camping in the heart of Swanage means you’re within walking distance of everything Swanage has to offer: stroll down to the beach, pop into town for shopping, entertainment, food and drink, or try out Swanage Bay’s watersports activities.
You can easily take a ride on Swanage Railway for a day out in Corfe Castle, or go explore nearby Durlston or Studland, both a short drive or bus-ride away. Or how about taking the ferry across Poole Harbour for an adventure further afield in Bournemouth or Sandbanks?
A camping or caravan base within Swanage gives you an affordable way to have a flexible holiday in some truly magical settings.
- Ulwell Holiday Park – Everything you need in one place, plus an indoor swimming pool, nestled at the foot of the Purbeck Hills and a stone’s throw from the beach
- Swanage Bijou Camping – A unique campsite set in the grounds of a pitch and putt site right in the centre of Swanage town
- Herston Caravan & Campsite – Located on the outskirts of Swanage with views of the Purbeck Hills and within walking distance to the town and beach
- California Meadows Campsite – Set above Swanage, camp with spectacular views over the bay. California Meadows is also a popular wedding and events venue
- Coombe Farm Camping – Rural, wild camping on the outskirts of town for the best of both worlds
Campsites & touring parks just outside Swanage
If the Swanage sites are all booked up or you fancy staying somewhere a little more tucked away, there are loads of great options for camping near Swanage across the Isle of Purbeck.
Campsites with swimming pools
Ulwell Holiday Park is the main caravan and camp site with a pool in the Swanage area, although there are a couple of other options nearby that will give you easy access to Swanage.
- Wareham Forest Tourist Park – A truly special camping and touring experience, with a fantastic, heated outdoor pool. Whilst slightly further away from Swanage, it’s a great base to explore the Isle of Purbeck and the wider Dorset Jurassic Coast from
- Sandford Holiday Park – This larger Parkdean resort just outside Purbeck is popular with visitors also wishing to explore both East and West Dorset.
There’s also a pool (with great view across Swanage Bay) at the Bay View Holiday Park, which is solely a static caravan and holiday lodges park and does not accommodate tents, but the pool, gym and bar facilities are open to members of the public.
The nearest swimming pool is the large indoor heated pool at Purbeck Sports Centre in Wareham, which holds a variety of swimming sessions, classes and lessons.
Great for Glamping
If your idea of camping involves a touch of luxury and an extra bit of comfort whilst still enjoying being close to nature and having the Purbeck countryside right on your doorstep, there are plenty of ‘glamping’ options for you in Dorset. Many of these sites also have self-catering lodges, making them the perfect staycation for families with older relatives who might prefer something a little more traditional.
- Knaveswell Farm – Book a unique and special holiday in one of Knaveswell’s huge, fully-equipped ‘safari’ tents
- Purbeck Shepherd Huts – A touch of luxury awaits at these beautifully-renovated shepherd huts in Worth Matravers
- Blue Pool Camping – Back-to-basics, rustic camping in the special setting of Dorset’s Blue Pool
- East Creech Camping Pods – These stylish, insulated timber-framed camping pods will appeal to campers who don’t fancy bringing the tent this year but still want a back-to-nature experience in a pretty farm and village setting
- Woodyhyde – Take it easy this year with a large, classic yurt complete with proper beds and mattresses. Yurts also come with solar-powered lighting and board games
- Durdle Door Holiday Park – Check out Durdle Door’s camping pods or Skylight Cabins for a great stay in a special spot on the Jurassic Coast
Back to nature
Camping as it should be – close to nature, wildlife and a wealth of countryside walks on your doorstep – these campsites range from wild camping spots to fully-serviced set-ups in great, natural settings.
Expect to see deer, rabbits, and all the flora and fauna of Dorset as you wake into the Purbeck countryside. Stroll through wildflowers, watch out for badgers and butterflies, and fall asleep to the sound of owls at night.
Whether you prefer an open field, the seclusion of tree canopy and woodland for the kids to play in, these camping and touring parks have something for everyone. Wake to uninterrupted views with miles of coastal walks, or choose somewhere within strolling distance of a village for easy access to things to do.
- Tom’s Field – A friendly, relaxed campsite in Swanage’s closest village, with great countryside views and pretty fields to pitch your tent
- Acton Field – Spectacular views and great walking opportunities abound at this rural campsite situated between Langton and Worth Matravers
- Woodyhyde – A beautiful countryside setting with glamping options situated off the main road between Corfe and Swanage
- Burnbake Campsite & Lodges – Let the kids get mucky in the woods and climbing trees in this fantastic setting close to Corfe Castle, Swanage and Studland
- Corfe Castle – Listen out for deer, birds and badgers in this idyllic spot within walking distance of the castle ruin and the ancient Purbeck Ridgeway
- Camp Hartland – A hidden gem set on a horse stud with some surprise benefits including horse box café and on-site yoga and art classes
- Smedmore – Set on the stunning Smedmore Estate, you’ll be treated to views over Kimmeridge Bay and Clavell Tower, with miles of great Jurassic Coast walks on your doorstep
- Birchwood Tourist Park – An all-you-need camping and touring site in Wareham, with an on-site shop, fantastic children’s play areas including paddling pool for the little ones and games room and playing field for the older ones, with acres of forest to explore
- Chiplands – A rural, back-to-basics camping experience just outside Corfe Castle
On a working farm
The Isle of Purbeck is known for its rich fabric of untouched, rural countryside, quaint English villages and of course its seaside town of Swanage. One of the most authentic places to stay for your holiday here is on a working farm, where the kids can meet the animals and where fresh milk and bread are on-hand.
- Downshay Farm – This little hidden gem of a campsite (with additional, excellent holiday let) can be found tucked away on a rural road between Corfe Castle and Swanage. It’s really well-maintained and has wonderful views of the ridgeway
- Quarr Camping – Popular with families, Quarr is ideally located for popping to Swanage Beach, Studland Bay, and also for fans of the Swanage Railway
- Norden Farm Camping – The famous Corfe Castle’s a short stroll from Norden, which has plenty of space for camping, a small playground, an on-site shop, lots of farm animals to meet and two large holiday lets for further members of the family who are perhaps past their camping years
- Steeple Leaze – Popular with returning campers and locals alike, there’s a friendly atmosphere here and is ‘camping as it should be’, with a snack van and close proximity to interesting places to explore such as Kimmeridge Bay, Corfe Castle and Tyneham
- East Creech Farm Campsite – Set in a pretty hamlet just outside Corfe and Wareham, East Creech is bursting with outdoor experiences for kids to discover: meet the friendly donkeys, take a selfie with the ducks in the village pond and explore the fields and woodland before heading to the Cake House
It’s a family-friendly site and has two opening seasons per year.
Campervan & motorhome hire
Hire a motorhome or campervan for a holiday-home-from-home to explore the Isle of Purbeck by staying at one of the above touring parks.
Simply drive or get the train to the hire site, pick up the keys to your holiday home on wheels and explore the Jurassic Coast with the comfort of knowing you have everything you need with you in a self-contained space.
This way you can also book onto more than one site, meaning you can explore different parts of Dorset, or further afield along the Jurassic Coast to Devon and onto Cornwall, without the hassle of finding and coordinating different holiday cottages or campsites.
Campervan hire is also a great option for a holiday if you live here in Purbeck – leave the car behind and set off on an adventure from one of the below options – Kombi Klassics is located at Wareham train station and Go Solent Motorhomes Hire is a short distance from Holton Heath station (around a seven-minute walk), so both are easily accessible by bus or taxi.
Motorhome hire is also a great way to ‘try before you buy’, and most hire companies also have options to purchase your own motorhome, whether you’re upgrading from camping or want to try a new way to holiday in the UK or abroad.
- Kombi Klassics VW campervan rental – Travel and stay in style in a fully-restored four-berth classic Volkswagen campervan. Based in Wareham, you can pick your van up on the way through to exploring the Purbeck coast
- Go Solent Motorhome Hire – Try Go Solent for a touch of luxury and everything you need in one place for a home-from-home Dorset touring holiday