Swanage Pier

Swanage Pier

Swanage Pier is a Victorian pier that extends out of the southern end of Swanage Bay which is located nearby the town of Swanage. The pier was built in 1895 for passenger service, it is located on the eastern coast of the Isle of Purbeck, around 10.1 kilometers south of Poole.

History of Swanage Pier

When Swanage Pier was originally built in 1985 it is was 750 feet long, it was used primarily by the local stone quarrying industry and had a tramway that ran the length of the prier as well as along the seafront, the tracks of which can still be seen in the seafront walkways.

In 1876, the need for a second pier became apparent for use by passenger steamers, construction began in 1895 and was first used in 1896, it was officially opened on the 29th of March 1897. A regular passenger steamer service ran on the new pier up until 1986, as the stone industry declined, so did the original pier, now all that remains of the old pier are some of its timber piles. 

In 1966, the steam service on the new pier was stopped and the remaining pleasure pier also began to fall into disrepair, in 976 the pier was awarded Grade II listed status, in 1986, there was a failed attempt to restore the pier, it was then taken over by the Swanage Pier Trust in 1994. The Trust then raised over £1 million pounds for the restoration work and it finally reopened in 1998.

Things to See & Do at Swanage Pier

There are a number of activities that you can take part in or visit around the pier, we have listed a few of them for you.

Gift Shop:

No pier is complete without a gift shop and Swanage Pier is no different. Plenty of memorabilia to get our hands-on, all proceeds go towards the continued restoration of the pier.

The 1895 Pier Cafe and Bistro:

Named after the original opening of the pier, this modern cafe gives spectacular views of the water, the cafe is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day.


There is a small exhibition area within the visitor centre which includes displays of artifacts recovered from the sea, a marine aquarium with various marine life that can be found under the pier, a model of the pier, historical photographs, touchscreen video displays and more.

Diving and Watersports

Swanage Pier is a popular diving spot, there are various diving schools located on and around the pier that is perfect for experienced and beginner divers. Divers Down is the oldest diving school in the UK and was established in 1985.

Interesting Facts about Swanage Pier

  • In spring 2012, Swanage Pier was awarded the Pier of the Year award by the National Piers Society.
  • Swanage Pier is a grade II listed building.
  • The BBC’s adaptation of EM Forster’s novel Howards End (2017) used Swanage Pier as a location.

Swanage Pier Opening Days & Hours

Swanage Pier is open at different times depending on the season.

Summer (April to September):

During the summer season, Swanage Pier is normally open between 9 am and 5 pm on weekdays, and between 7 am and 5 pm on weekends.

Winter (October to March):

Swanage pier will normally open between 9 am to 4 pm during the winter period, there are also some additional days where the times are different:

Christmas Eve: 10am – 2pm

Christmas Day: Closed

Boxing Day: 10am – 2pm

New Year’s Eve: 10am – 2pm

New Year’s Day: 10am – 2pm

Swanage Pier Parking

There are parking spaces available at Swanage Pier but the spaces are limited and during the summer can become quite busy, reservations are not accepted so it is best to arrive nice and early.

There is a fee charged for parking which goes towards the restoration of the pier.

Overnight parking is not permitted.