Sports & Activities Things to do Watersports

Divers Down

Swanage’s dive school is based on the town’s striking restored Victorian pier and offers some great dives both within Swanage Bay and in deeper waters outside the bay.

Divers Down is Britain’s oldest dive school and it’s been attracting new and seasoned divers since 1958, with its sheltered dive sites, nearby wreck dives and safe Diver Training Zone.

There’s a wealth of sea life to discover directly beneath the pier, attracted by its wooden framework and, lying just outside the bay, there’s a range of both deep and shallow dives, which include various WWI and WWII wrecks.

Divers Down has two charter boats with fully qualified skippers, to take you to and from wreck sites throughout the summer. The boats have rear diver lifts and hot drinks are provided on your return journey.

The dive season typically starts in March/April until October.

Dives can be booked in advance online or by contacting Divers Down.

Safe Diving Zone

An area of five-metre deep water has been buoyed off adjacent to Swanage Pier as a designated Diver Training Zone.

This shallower section of the bay is suitable for both new and qualified divers.

Dive shop

(picture credit: Ulleo, via Pixabay)

The on-site dive shop stocks all the gear and equipment you’ll need, from masks, fins and snorkels to boots, gloves, neck & wrist seals and glues.

You can get your air and Nitrox fills here – charges per litre/cylinder are listed on Diver’s Down’s website.

And if you need to supplement your kit for your dive you can hire individual items for the day, or hire the full kit by the day or for two days.

The shop also sells a range of refreshments, ice creams and drinks.

Shop opening hours

  • Saturday & Sundays – 8am – 5pm
  • Monday – Friday – Open most weekdays, weather-permitting

Dive & wreck sites

Explore the sea life under Swanage Pier, try out a shallow dive, or discover the shipwrecks that lie in deeper water outside the bay, including wrecks from WWI & WWII .

Some of the most popular wreck sites include Kyarra (one of the most-dived sites in the UK), Smyrna and Aeolian Sky, whose story intriguingly involves a million pounds of Seychelles rupees and thousands of jars of Marmite.

You can find an interactive wreck site map on Divers Down’s website, which lists interesting information and a brief history on some of the most popular wrecks:

(images credit: Divers Down)

Pier creatures

The wooden framework of Swanage Pier provides an enticing home for a wealth of underwater wildlife.

Some of the sea life you’re likely to encounter include lobster, edible & spider crabs, cuttlefish, sand eels and bream. 

Follow Divers Down’s Facebook page for latest updates and to view underwater photography posted by divers: 

Dive courses

Dive courses at Divers Down are all affiliated to the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and cater to the complete beginner to Dive Master.

In addition you can complete your Emergency First Response diving certificate here, or take the Rescue Course.

Divers Down also offers specialty courses such as night diver, wreck diver and photography diving.

Some courses have minimum age requirements.

Find the full list of courses and price list on Divers Down’s website.

Summer sightseeing & school trips

These popular sightseeing trips run during the summer months and are ideally suited to a group of 12 students plus one teacher.

The bay tour takes you around Old Harry Rocks, past Durlston Bay and across to the Anvil Point Lighthouse.

It’s a fun and informative way to explore this special part of the Jurassic Coast, with talks from your guide on local landmarks and geological features, such as erosion.

Isle of Purbeck Sub-Aqua Club

Swanage Pier is also home to the Isle of Purbeck Sub-Aqua Club (IPSAC).

It’s a small and friendly BSAC club, with weekly dives around Swanage and Kimmeridge Bay throughout the dive season.

Decorator crab captured by the Isle of Purbeck Sub-Aqua Club (credit: IPSAC Facebook page)

The club meets regularly on weekends and Wednesday evenings in the summer, and holds various social events throughout the year.

It’s been going since 1988 and currently has about 50 members, of varying interests and abilities.

Membership includes the use of RIBs, training by qualified instructors and regular skills refreshers. Visiting divers can also join the group for the days that they’re in Swanage.

Find out more on their Facebook page:

Parking on the pier

Parking on the pier is suitable for cars and vans…

Contact details

Dive school signage on Swanage Pier
Divers Down Dive School

For full information on wreck sites, safety information and booking visit the Divers Down website:


Get in touch by phone or email to book a dive:

📥 Email:
📞 Call or text: 07977 142661

Clubs, Groups & Societies Things to do

Swanage Town Band

Swanage Town Band is a concert band of wind, brass and percussion players, holding regular gigs in Purbeck throughout the year.

The band is led by conductor Dave Cook in practising a range of traditional band, folk and popular music, including toe-tapping show medleys, in preparation for performances at a range of local events.

Some of the most popular performances are the band’s Summer in the Bandstand recitals – grab a blanket and a picnic and head down to enjoy some good, old traditional fun in the sun at the town’s 1920s bandstand, which has excellent views over Swanage Bay. Or wrap up warm in winter for some festive tunes and carols at Christmastime and sing along with the band.

Swanage Town Band often plays in association with various local causes, so it’s also a great opportunity to donate to the latest charity or appeal the musicians are supporting.

  • Find out when Swanage Town Band is playing next by checking our Events page or by following the band on Facebook:
  • To book Swanage Town Band for your event email Cathy:

Summer in the Bandstand

A firm favourite in Swanage’s summer calendar is the collection of performances at Swanage’s bandstand.

Look out for daytime and evening concerts at this unique piece of Swanage history – read more about its restoration journey here.

  • ℹ️  Performances are free to attend, but a donation in the collection tin will be very welcome
  • 📍 Nearest car park: Recreation Ground (Mermond Place) BH19 1DQ

Rehearsal information & joining

If you play a brass or wind instrument, why not join Swanage Town Band – it’s a friendly group which meets for weekly practice and delights audiences with performances throughout the year.

There are currently over 40 members in the band, but newcomers of all ages and abilities are always welcome.

  • When – Every Wednesday evening during term time from 7pm -8.30pm
  • Where – Swanage Methodist Church, 105 High Street, BH19 2LZ

If you’re interested in joining Swanage Town Band, contact Liz on 01929 481419 or conductor Dave Cook by emailing

Classes & Workshops Volunteering

The Shed at Durlston

Fancy discovering a new hobby or rekindling an old favourite pastime in a beautiful, natural setting?

The Shed at Durlston Country Park is a great way to try out skills like woodworking, arts & crafts and gardening, whilst meeting other like-minded people in this fantastic community work base.

Sign on The Shed at Durlston made out of scrap metal
The Shed at Durlston

The Shed is nestled in the trees, just past the woodland entrance to the Park, on Lighthouse Road.

The Shed is fully accessible and is open to all ages. It’s especially popular with people with disabilities, long-term health problems and dementia.

There’s always a team of friendly and helpful volunteers on hand to support whatever projects are happening. Even if you don’t fancy trying one of the activities, it’s a lovely place to sit and soak up a bit of nature and socialise for a couple of hours.

With a fully equipped workshop inside the shed, a healthy supply of tea, coffee and biscuits on hand, and a garden area including raised beds and a greenhouse, there’s something for everyone at Durlston’s shed.

Items made at the shed are often sold in the shop in Durlston Castle.


There are various regular meeting times for different activities at The Shed, as well as Monday morning sessions for students from local schools.

  • Cuppa & Chat – Pop to The Shed for an informal meet-up with a friendly bunch of people, Mondays, 2pm – 4pm
  • Help a Ranger – Lend a hand with some fun DIY projects around the park, including painting and craftwork, Tuesdays 2.30pm – 4.30pm
  • Shed meet-up – Have a go at woodwork, gardening or arts & crafts, led by ‘Lead Sheddies’, Wednesdays 2.30pm – 4.30pm
  • Gardening Club – Join the group in tending to The She’d veg patch, plants and flowers – produce is sold at the plant stall to help with fundraising, Fridays 2pm – 4pm

Check out how you could learn a new skill or contribute to Durlston’s conservation in this short video:

Nature Walks & hiking

Wareham Forest

Walk, run, cycle or ride through miles of woodland and heathland tracks in the 3,700 acre Wareham Forest, on the Isle of Purbeck’s doorstep.

Businesses Things to do

Hartland Stud

Historically a horse stud, Hartland is now a thriving centre for a unique range of local businesses offering classes and services to both locals and visitors, located just between Corfe Castle and Wareham.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Things to do

Durdle Door

One of the most-loved natural landmarks of Dorset and a highlight of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Durdle Door attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Attractions Castles Things to do

Lulworth Castle & Park

The romantic 17th Century Lulworth Castle set in the grounds of Lulworth Park and Estate makes for a fascinating family day out.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Lulworth Range walks

An intriguing way to explore the Purbeck countryside and Jurassic coastline is via the Lulworth Range walks.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Things to do

Lulworth Cove

Nestled at the foot of the picturesque village of West Lulworth, Lulworth Cove is one of the most photographed beauty spots in Britain and an important geological area of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Attractions Things to do Waterparks

Dorset Adventure Park

Purbeck’s only waterpark is located just outside Corfe Castle.

Attractions Castles Things to do

Corfe Castle (attraction)

Standing watch over the village of the same name, Corfe Castle is an iconic and striking ruin, synonymous with the Isle of Purbeck.

Attractions Nature Things to do

RSPB Arne Nature Reserve

The RSPB nature reserve at Arne is perfect for both a short stroll through the woodland or a full day out walking and exploring.

Coastal Nature Things to do

Walks & hiking

We are spoilt for choice in Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck with so many wonderful places to explore.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Swyre Head

Standing proudly as the highest point of Purbeck, you can walk to Swyre Head from various locations.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Things to do

Man O’ War Bay

The smaller of Durdle Door’s two beaches, Man O’ War Bay, is an enclosed cove, perfect for picnicking and wiling away the hours in a stunning setting.

Attractions Nature Things to do

Purbeck Hills

The Isle of Purbeck is arguably best viewed from atop its rolling hills as they fall away into picturesque villages and farmland on one side, into the stunning and famous landform-dotted sea on another, and with views reaching across Poole Harbour at yet another.

Attractions Nature Things to do

Agglestone Rock

The Agglestone is one of Purbeck’s curious and quirky landmarks that have been delighting – and puzzling – people for generations.

Attractions Things to do

The Obelisk

This towering hexagonal monument was brought to Swanage from London by George Burt – a local businessman and founding father of much of the town – in 1892.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Anvil Point

Home to the Anvil Point Lighthouse, built in the 1800s, the headland of Anvil Point is just one location for stunning seascapes and excellent walking within Durlston Country Park.

Attractions Museums Things to do Train stations Travel

Corfe Castle Railway Station

Whether or not you’re taking a trip on a Swanage Railway steam train, Corfe Castle Railway Station itself is well worth a visit, for its vintage charm and picture-postcard photo opportunities.

Parks Things to do

King George’s playing fields and skate park

The town’s largest public park is popular with local children and teens with its skate park, graffiti wall and playground equipment.

Beaches Coastal Nature

South Beach, Studland

If you love Studland’s beaches but would prefer a more local vibe head to South Beach.


Tyneham Beach

Sometimes referred to as Tyneham Beach, this stretch of sand and pebble is most commonly known as Worbarrow Bay.

Things to do

Sports & Activities

Whether you’re coming to Swanage for its watersports, coasteering and biking opportunities, or just want to keep up your normal exercise routine, Swanage and the surrounding landscape and coastline of the Isle of Purbeck are guaranteed to keep you active and out in the fresh air whatever the weather.

Attractions Coastal Things to do


The area around the disused quarry at Winspit is a fantastic place to explore, with its craggy rocks and wide, expansive sea views.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Stair Hole

This intriguing landform and small cove can be easily missed on your trip to Lulworth Cove, but making your way up the short path to see Stair Hole is well worth it.


Dog-friendly beaches

Dorset is a dog-loving county and welcomes four-legged visitors to most beaches, cafés, pubs and restaurants.


Knoll Beach

Knoll Beach is the largest and most well-known beach at Studland Bay.

Nature Things to do

The Downs

The open, clifftop grasslands of The Downs are just a stone’s throw from Swanage town and give some of the best views across Swanage Bay.

Attractions Things to do

Swanage Pier

The fully-restored Grade II-listed Victorian pier in Swanage is a must-visit attraction for a sense of the town’s history, as well as giving you a unique perspective of Swanage Bay.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Nature Things to do

Chapman’s Pool

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.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Nature

Swanage Bay

Swanage is probably most well-known for its superb, sweeping sandy bay, which has been drawing visitors for generations.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Nature Things to do

Worbarrow Bay

You might discover this expanse of shingle and sand beach by chance on a visit to the abandoned village of Tyneham.

Museums Things to do

Purbeck Mineral & Mining Museum

A hidden historical gem in the heart of Purbeck, this is a truly local museum. Telling the story of the area’s ball clay industry, it’s a fascinating way to tunnel into the Isle of Purbeck’s past and learn how industrious clay miners were here, right back to the 17th Century.


Studland Naturist Beach

Around 1km of Studland Bay has been set aside for naturism. It’s one of the UK’s most well-known official naturist spots.

Attractions Nature Things to do

The Blue Pool

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.

Attractions Coastal Nature Parks Things to do

Durlston Country Park

Meander through hay meadows, explore quiet woodland trails and be wowed by stunning sea views at Durlston – just a stone’s throw from Swanage town.

Attractions Sports & Activities Things to do

Swanage Golf Games

Challenge your friends and family to a round of pitch and putt at Swanage Golf Games.

Attractions Beaches Coastal Nature Things to do

Swanage Beach

The jewel in Swanage’s crown is its beautiful beach that sweeps around the curve of its sheltered bay.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Studland Bay

Comprised of four miles of sandy beaches and with acres of heathland and sand dunes to explore, Studland Bay and Nature Reserve has something for everyone.

Attractions Local areas Things to do

Tyneham village

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.

Attractions Coastal Kimmeridge Nature Things to do

Kimmeridge Bay

If the Jurassic Coast’s globally-significant geology is what drew you to Dorset, Kimmeridge Bay is the place to visit.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Old Harry Rocks

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.

Attractions Coastal Nature Things to do

Jurassic Coast

England’s only natural World Heritage Site

The Jurassic Coast needs no introduction: renowned worldwide for its breathtaking scenery and geological importance, this 95-mile stretch of coastline dominates Dorset’s landscape, history and character.