Not strictly an isle, but a peninsula, the Isle of Purbeck is home to a diverse array of wildlife, intriguing historical sites and areas of global geological importance.

It has inspired famous writers, attracted historians and drawn holidaymakers for generations. But what is it that makes this corner of Dorset so special?

Old Harry Rocks view with couple and flowers View from Swyre Head Pathway and stocks at Corfe Castle Durdle Door and sand View of land and sea from Purbeck Hills near Tyneham

With its stunning sandy beaches; huge variety of walks; and fantastic places to eat, shop and explore, anywhere in Purbeck is a unique experience waiting to be discovered.

Purbeck’s most famous landmarks

The Isle of Purbeck has many well-known and iconic landmarks that draw thousands of visitors every year.

  • Corfe Castle – Combine a visit to Corfe Castle with an amble around the picturesque Corfe Castle village
  • Durdle Door – This special beauty spot also has fantastic walking trails nearby
  • Jurassic Coast – With so many different aspects to explore you’ll be spoilt for choice
  • Lulworth Cove – A beautiful backdrop for walks and picnics, this romantic cove is found at the foot of the pretty village of West Lulworth
  • Old Harry Rocks – The commanding views of the chalk stacks of Old Harry Rocks and nearby Pinnacles are one of the most photographed areas of the Dorset coastline
  • Studland Bay – With four miles of beaches, bays, heathland and cliff walks, and an active watersports scene, there is plenty to do in Studland Bay
  • SwanageSwanage Bay and town make for a delightful visit, with plenty for the whole family to do at different times of the year

Other places to visit in Purbeck

Some of the lesser-known landmarks in the Isle of Purbeck make for equally intriguing visits and breathtaking scenery.

Here are a few pockets of Purbeck that promise memorable experiences for the whole family:

  • Agglestone – Legend surrounds this unique landmark in the heathlands around Studland
  • Arne Nature Reserve – Over 5.5km2 of woodland and heathland flanking Poole Harbour
  • Brownsea Island – Situated in Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island makes for a unique day out via the Sandbanks Ferry
  • Durlston Country Park – Stunning coastal walks hug this country park, complete with a lighthouse, castle, restaurant and exhibition space
  • Kimmeridge Bay – A special spot on the Jurassic Coast that is rich with fossils and geological interest
  • Peveril Point – A lovely spot to watch the sunset at the edge of Swanage
  • Tyneham – What remains of a village abandoned in WWII lies in this very special spot in Purbeck
  • Winspit – Caves forged through quarrying stand overlooking the sea at this unique area beneath the village of Worth Matravers

Landmarks near to Purbeck

And just a stone’s throw from Purbeck are many more fantastic sites of natural beauty and historic importance, making Swanage and its surrounding area the perfect base to explore from.

  • Wareham – Although not strictly in Purbeck (you’ll see the Welcome to the Isle of Purbeck as you leave Wareham or go around it toward Swanage), this Saxon-walled market town very much feels like a part of, and is intertwined with, the Purbeck landscape, culture and community
  • South West Coast Path – This is the longest National Trail in Britain (at 630 miles) and starts right here in Purbeck at Shell Bay. It continues all the way along the Dorset coastline, through Devon, around Cornwall, culminating in Minehead in Somerset