Your holiday in Swanage starts here if you come via the Sandbanks Ferry. That holiday feeling will kick in once your car rolls onto the chain ferry and you step out to admire the stunning views as you cross Poole Harbour.

Connecting Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck to Poole and Bournemouth, the Sandbanks Ferry is an important lifeline, as well as an integral part of a fun day out, for both residents and visitors. 

The four minute crossing is a gentle way to make part of your journey – which will take you into the Dorset mindset of slowing things down a bit, but with a sense of adventure on the horizon.

Purbeck Breezer bus and Sandbanks chain ferry

Departure timings and directions

Running to and fro daily between 7am and 11pm, the timings are as follows:

From Studland: ten past, half and ten to the hour.

From Sandbanks: on the hour, twenty past and twenty to the hour.
The first Ferry 7am, last Ferry 11pm.

There are car parks on both the Shell Bay and Sandbanks sides.

SatNav for Swanage side: BH19 3BA

SatNav for Sandbanks side: BH13 7QN


The chain ferry has been in operation since 1923 and the current vessel – the Bramble Bush Bay – is named after the stretch of quiet sand that runs adjacent to Shell Bay on the Studland side and can carry 48 cars. It’s been carrying people to and from this area since 1994.

Dragon's teeth at Bramble Bush Bay

The current chain ferry is named after nearby Bramble Bush Bay