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.

Fishing boats in Swanage Bay Boats in Swanage Bay Seafood menu and flowers at Swanage restaurant Mackerel boat going out at Swanage Bay Table overlooking the sea at the Cellar Bar in Swanage Palm trees and sea at Swanage

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.

Swanage Beach and sea with The Mowlem in distance

Swanage Beach is consistently awarded Blue Flag status for its water quality and cleanliness, making Swanage Bay a holiday hotspot for families as well as water sports enthusiasts

The bay is also flanked by a variety of eateries, gifts shops and amusements. Walk along the promenade to find the right place for you – from family-friendly fun to sophisticated ‘grown-up’ dining; and from dog-friendly cafés to the traditional British fish and chips-at-the-seaside experience.

Lifeguard and safe safe swimming area at Swanage beach

During the busier summer months, Swanage Beach has designated safe swimming areas with lifeguards on duty

Swanage Bay watersports

Boat and watercraft users are required to follow local regulations. This means observing the 5-knot buoy area from 15 March to 30 September. Watercraft can be launched safely at the boat park located at Peveril Point. This launch area is located just off Broad Road, next to the car park.

Dinghies and other small craft that are not power-driven can be launched at the Parish slipway, as well as at Monkey Beach. Do note, however, that the Monkey Beach launch area receives a high volume of traffic during the summer months. The launching of any motor-powered watercraft is not permitted at either of these locations. All tow trailers must be moved from the slipway after the craft has been launched. An additional slipway is located at Ocean Bay Watersports, which is on the northern side of the beach.

Diving school

Divers Down diving shop on Swanage Pier

During the summer months, Swanage Pier sees an influx of divers who come from around the globe to experience the crystal clear waters of the Pier and surrounding areas. Charter diving boats operate from the pier area and are available for hire throughout the year. Divers Down also offers diving instruction for the complete beginner to the more advanced.

Swanage Sailing club

Swanage Bay is home to a sailing club, which offers tuition for local members and ‘Return to Boating’ courses. Run by volunteers, Swanage Sailing Club has been in operation since 1935 and is situated on Buck Shore, between the pier and Peveril Point.

Swanage Bay dog rules

Cavalier King Charles spaniel on beachDogs are welcome on Swanage beach between 1 October and 30 April. Between 1 May and 30 September, dogs banned from the central beach. However, they are permitted on Monkey Beach, which is close to the pier, near the old stone quay. Note that various parts of North Beach are privately owned and each owner may have their own regulations in place, with signs to indicate dog regulations.