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If you love Studland’s beaches but would prefer a more ‘local’ vibe head to South Beach. It still benefits from the safe, shallow waters that Knoll Beach offers, but it’s a little more secluded and rugged. South Beach also offers stunning views across to Old Harry Rocks. There is a path that leads up to the iconic chalk stalks directly from the beach – the walk is fairly easy and takes around half an hour. There are also various options nearby for exploring Old Harry Rocks via kayak and horseback. South Beach is popular with kayakers and paddle boarders due to its relatively calm, shallow water. It also has a designated safe swimming area. There are also echos of the past – both man-made and natural – here, with a World War II pillbox on the beach itself, next to the unique red and yellow-coloured sandstone of the cliffs. This family-friendly beach has attracted both visitors and locals alike for many years – in fact, it used to be home to an annual August regatta where locals and visitors competed against each other in rowing and sailing races, as well as tug-of-war games – with the winners being treated to […]
The drive up to Worth Matravers from either direction (Swanage or Kingston), has some of the most far-reaching and impressive views of the Purbeck Hills and across to Corfe Castle to be found in Purbeck. Despite being a small village there is plenty to see and do, including a family-friendly walk down to the disused quarry caves of Winspit (famously a Doctor Who filming location). There is also a miniature museum within the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) award-winning Square and Compass pub, with its Narnia-style stone tables and seating in the garden. The Square is loved by locals and visitors alike for its relaxed, yet lively atmosphere; its pasties served through a hatch in the wall; an extensive on-site pressed cider collection; and regular live folk bands and open mic nights. People tend to spill out into the garden, which overlooks the sea on a dry day, and in winter the roaring fires inside make for a fantastically cosy experience. The pub also hosts seasonal events such as the Pumpkin Festival in October and Beer & Beard in December (beards are not compulsory, but may be rewarded if they’re exceptionally good). Worth Matravers also has a tea room serving […]
In the grounds of Durlston Country Park sits a beautiful, restored Victorian Castle. It’s no surprise that it’s a popular venue for weddings and other events as it stands looking out over the sea, set in acres of unique parkland. Durlston Castle is not only striking to look at, but it’s a day-to-day hub of activity, with regular exhibitions and workshops being held and being the home to the park’s cafe and gift shop.
One of the most iconic landforms on the South Coast – Old Harry Rocks – is just a stone’s throw from Swanage and an important feature of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast history. There are various walking routes to Old Harry Rocks from both Swanage and Studland, each offering breathtaking views of this unique rock formation. The white chalk promontory and ‘stacks’ that make up Old Harry rise from the sea between Swanage Bay and Studland Bay at Handfast Point on the headland of Ballard Down. They were once part of a chalk ridge that connected to The Needles on the Isle of Wight. On a clear day you can stand up on the cliff and see across to The Needles – three chalk stacks, similar to Old Harry Rocks, which rise from the sea off the island twenty miles away. Legends in the landscape – who was Old Harry? So how did Old Harry Rocks get their name? There are various stories that like to make the claim… If you’ve been to see Agglestone Rock, you’ll be familiar with the local legend associated with the devil – who, it’s said, tried to throw the 400-tonne rock from The Needles on the Isle […]
Swanage is probably most well-known for its superb, sweeping sandy bay. Being sheltered and with relatively calm waters, Swanage Bay has been popular with locals and visitors alike for generations. The bay stretches from the Ballard Down headland to the north, right across to Peveril Point to the south. Swanage Bay has both lively sections as well as more secluded spots, meaning there is something for everyone. The bay also serves as a vibrant hub for watersports, with a boat park, boat and kayak hire, a diving school, and local sailing and sea rowing clubs. The bay is also flanked by a variety of eateries, gifts shops and amusements. Walk along the promenade to discover family-friendly fun to sophisticated ‘grown-up’ dining; and dog-friendly cafés to the traditional British fish and chips at the seaside experience. Swanage Bay watersports Boats and watercraft can be launched from the boat park at Peveril Point (located just off Broad Road car park). Users are required to follow local regulations, observing the five-knot buoy area from 15 March to 30 September. Full details can be found on the Swanage Town Council website: www.swanage.gov.uk/BoatParkRegulations.aspx Dinghies and other non-power-driven small craft may be launched from the Parish slipway, […]
Set in 25 acres of woodland between Wareham and Corfe Castle, the Blue Pool derives its name from the striking turquoise colour the water this disused clay pit can appear. There are trails of varying lengths leading around the Blue Pool and into its surrounding woodland, all culminating at the tearoom and the gift shop – inside which is another unique find: a quirky museum display of over 200 miniature bears. There are two treasure-hunt style trails for children and a play area in the woods, where you’ll also find a viewing point that looks out across the Purbeck Hills toward Corfe Castle. *The Blue Pool is currently closed until further notice* Walking routes There are two main ways to explore the Blue Pool. Both trails offer excellent views of the pool itself, as well as interesting trails along which to spot wildlife. Red route The Red Route is accessible and suitable for both wheelchairs and pushchairs. The path leads you through the woodland, with various impressive viewpoints along the way to view the pool from different angles as it catches the light. Green route The Green Route meanders through the trees and around the base of the pool and […]
Situated between Swanage and Corfe Castle, the small size of the village of Harman’s Cross belies its busy and thriving community. The village hall holds regular events throughout the year and is a prominent venue for Dorset’s Artsreach – a charity that brings theatre, comedy and music to rural places such as Harman’s Cross. The village and its surrounding area is popular with campers and caravaners, with various campsites in and around Harman’s Cross. There’s also a fantastic playground, complete with a zip wire, that is suitable for both older and younger children. The playground also has some workout equipment. Harman’s Cross village hall Whether you’re just visiting, or if you are a resident of Harman’s Cross or live locally within Purbeck, Harman’s Cross village hall holds a wealth of year-round activities and events: Arts & Crafts Art group – The Harman’s Cross Art Group is an informal drawing and painting group that meets in the hall between September and July on a Tuesday 2pm – 5pm. It also meets outside for some en plein air art in the summer months and holds an exhibition once a year. Contact Judy Robson: 01929 781033 Life drawing – Held on Thursdays 2pm – 4pm. […]
Meander through hay meadows, explore quiet woodland trails and be wowed by stunning sea views at Durlston Country Park – just a stone’s throw from Swanage town. Durlston makes for a great family day out in nature in a special spot along Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, and boasts some 280 acres of cliff walks and countryside to explore. The coastal path will take you past the Tilly Whim Caves (old Purbeck stone quarry caves) and up to the lighthouse at Anvil Point – a perfect spot for sketching the view if you have an artistic streak, or sitting with a picnic as you look out over the expansive sea views. The woodland trails have various quiet picnic spots and benches to take in the scenery, and you’ll find carved stone tablets dotted around the pathways that take you on an educational walk through time of the Jurassic Coast. Wildlife Durlston is a haven for wildlife and an important breeding ground for migratory sea birds and a special habitat for butterflies and orchids. And if you’re really lucky you might see a seal or dolphin below you in the sea. Check out Durlston’s butterfly-spotting and birdwatching calendar, so you know what to do out for at […]
The poignant story behind the ‘ghost village’ of Tyneham, abandoned during World War II, will stay with you long after you have walked around its crumbling homes and forgotten farmland. Evacuated in 1943 so that the British Army could use the area for training purposes, the village soon fell into disrepair. However the church and school room are still mostly intact, having been carefully restored. You can walk around them, discovering their history, including the last pages of schoolwork and children’s names on pegs preserved in this village that simply stopped in time. Information is displayed throughout the village about the families that once lived in Tyneham, and what life was like for them in this seemingly idyllic, yet remote spot. Nestled deep within the Purbeck Hills the story of these villagers who never returned and their now deserted homes is an interesting insight into this area’s past. *Note that seven of the buildings are currently cordoned off to the public due to safety concerns. (You can still walk around the outside of most of the buildings). The MoD is investigating whether or not they can be repaired and reopened.* Tyneham’s history preserved A short walk from the village will lead […]
Durlston Castle and Country Park sit on the promontory of land that is Durlston Head. The headland makes for interesting geology as well a good walk from Peveril Point encompassing spectacular sea views.
Whether or not you’re taking a trip on a Swanage Railway steam train, Corfe Castle station itself is well worth a visit, for its vintage charm and picture-postcard photo opportunities. Once almost demolished, the original 1885 station building has now been restored to its former glory and is a timeless feature of both Corfe Castle village and Swanage Railway. Arriving into Corfe by steam train is also the way to travel in style from Swanage, or from the park-and-ride at Norden, for a day out exploring Corfe Castle itself, and is guaranteed to make your visit truly historic. Step back in time at Corfe Castle station Station Master’s office Meet the volunteers dressed in traditional station attire and see inside the 1950s Station Master’s office and lounge area. A porter can show you around and introduce you to the station’s historic features, as well as give you handy travel information. Ladies’ waiting area The fully restored Ladies’ waiting room evokes a time gone by and is complete with period paraphernalia throughout. Swanage Railway Museum Volunteers for the Swanage Railway worked for thirty years to save and rebuild the branch after it was forced to close and began to be demolished in the 1970s […]
For a ‘wet and wild’ time head to Purbeck’s waterpark, just outside Corfe Castle. Set within 18 acres of woodland, the park boasts boasts a 200m outdoor inflatable course across two lakes, and a 2km-long mud trail assault course. Take a look at the park in action: Waterpark Complete with trampoline, balance beams and slides, the course is suitable for everyone over the age of six. Children under 12 need to be accompanied by a responsible adult. Sessions are one hour long. What to wear at the waterpark Wearing a wetsuit is advisable (available for hire for £5) Old trainers or sturdy wet shoes (available for hire for £2) No jewellery No glasses Important safety information You must be able to swim 10 metres, or 50 metres with a buoyancy aid, to take part Buoyancy aids (provided) must be worn at all times Lifeguards are on duty at all times Mud trail The mud trail obstacle course is suitable for everyone over the age of four, (children under 12 must be supervised). The course is 2km long and includes over 50 obstacles to pull, climb, jump, crawl and swing your way across. Sessions last for two hours. Group bookings Parties and […]
The RSPB nature reserve at Arne is perfect for both a short stroll through the woodland or a full day out walking and exploring. As you explore Arne, you’ll discover stunning expanses of rugged heathland and even small bays of Poole Harbour with views across to the Purbeck Hills and Brownsea Island. The resident herd of sika deer can be seen grazing in the field as you walk through the woods, and there is a plethora of other wildlife on the reserve – and if you’re not a seasoned ornithologist, or would like to learn more about hedgehogs, mushrooms or sand lizards, the RSPB team hold regular interactive events, guided walks and educational activities. A visitor centre and café for coffees, cakes and light lunches can be found a short walk from the car park. Children and family activities at Arne There are trails aimed at specifically at children at Arne, as well as year-round and seasonal events. Dumbledore Trail Harry Potter fans will enjoy this circular walk and play area. Pick up a map of all the routes around Arne at the welcome area. Halloween trail Discover the secrets of the forest in the RSPB’s Halloween ‘Wild Woodland’ quiz trail half-term […]
If your idea of a dream day at the beach involves a wild and secluded bay where you can wile away the hours watching the odd passing boat and reading a good book, Chapman’s Pool is hard to beat. It’s a bit of a walk to get to, so children and some dogs might struggle. A good pair of walking boots is also advisable as the steep path down to Chapman’s Pool can be slippery when wet. (There is an alternative, longer route that is more gentle that takes you through the valley.) Worth Matravers is the closest village, where you can warm up at the Square and Compass with a pasty and pint by the log fire after a blustery day or cool off with a cider in the beer garden in the summer. Parking The nearest place to park is Renscombe Car Park (BH19 3LL). The walk down to Chapman’s Pool is about half an hour from the car park.
Prepare to get side-tracked on your way to the stunning beaches of Studland Bay as you drive through the charming Studland village. Its back roads meander around thatched cottages and past pretty gardens, and you’ll spot things for your must-do list as you go, whether that’s to spoil yourself with a meal at The Pig on the Beach, to book in a beach ride at Studland Stables, or a table at The Bankes Arms for a restorative drink after a day of walking, swimming or kayaking in the bay. Studland Stores Find all your daily household essentials at the village shop and post office – from pet food to toiletries, and freshly-baked bread to fresh fruit & veg. It’s also a good place to stop on your way to the beach or a heathland walk for picnic essentials, with its wide variety of local produce and snacks. The shop also stocks a selection of gifts, children’s toys and souvenirs. Opening hours & information Studland Stores is located on Swanage Road (the main road through Studland) and is open seven days a week: Monday – Saturday 8am – 6pm Sunday 8am – 4pm 📞 01929 450204 St Nicholas’ Church Take a stroll over […]