Stay at the YHA in Swanage for a budget-friendly, relaxed holiday right in the heart of the only seaside town along Purbeck’s Jurassic Coast.
Originally a Victorian villa, Swanage’s Youth Hostel Association building has modern facilities having been recently refurbished, great sea views, and is just a stone’s throw from Swanage town and beach.
YHA Swanage is a great place to stay for individuals, groups and families wishing to explore the Isle of Purbeck and the wider Jurassic Coast, and there is even the option to have exclusive hire of the whole place for larger groups and clubs.
With plenty of on-site parking, you can simply take the five-minute stroll down the hill from the hostel to a variety of pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés and family entertainment around the stone quay and along High Street. This end of Swanage Beach and town has a sunny, buzzy vibe all year round, with various al fresco dining options and a traditional seaside pier. Events and festivals are often held at the nearby Prince Albert Gardens, which is also a fantastic spot to grab some fish and chips and watch the boats in the bay as the sun goes down.
The hostel is very popular for group bookings and for annual events such as the Swanage Blues Festival and Swanage Carnival, so booking in advance at peak times is recommended.
Note that due to its hillside location some visitors may struggle with the relatively steep hill from town, but the hostel does have a car park or you can always grab a quick, cheap taxi from town.
Rooms & rates
The recently refurbished hostel boasts 93 beds, with accommodation ranging from between two and six beds per room, 11 of which are en suite and some which have excellent views across Swanage Bay.
There are options to book a double bed, and private rooms are also available for two to six people.
YHA Swanage also has one fully-accessible room. This is a three-bed, en suite room comprising one single bed and bunk beds. It has step-free access and a wetroom-style bathroom.
All bedding is provided but you’ll need to bring your own towels – if however you forget, you can buy towels and toiletries from the reception area, or borrow some for a small fee. And if you need to wash a few beach towels or bits of clothes during your stay there’s a handy laundry and drying room in the building.
If you need to book somewhere with a large capacity for a family gathering or club that you belong to, the hostel can be booked out just for you – get in touch with YHA Swanage to see when the next availability block for exclusive hire is, and allow around three months to plan ahead for your booking.
1 March – 31 October
YHA Swanage is open at weekends throughout the spring and summer months from the beginning of March till the end of October, as well as weekdays during school holidays that fall in this period.
On Mondays to Thursdays during term time the hostel is also available for group bookings. Beds and rooms may become available three months before travelling dates, so please check the website.
- Check in: From 5pm – 10pm
- Check out: Before 10am
(YHA Swanage is closed from November through to February.)
Food & facilities
Whilst there are plenty of delicious breakfast options in Swanage itself – from beachside bites such as The Cabin, to clifftop cafés (try Durlston Country Park‘s SeventhWave Café) – you can get set up for the day at the youth hostel itself with its tasty fry-ups and breakfast baps, which are served from 7.30am to 9am.
The YHA also offers takeaway options if you want to take snacks or a picnic to the beach, and they also provide a choice of pizzas as well as a sociable supper club menu in the evenings.
You can also arrange for group catering, with enough room in the substantial dining room for your party to all sit down together.
A licensed bar also means that you can have a chilled evening in at the hostel, or a drink before or after your evening out.
- Full breakfast (veggie and vegan options) £6.95
- ‘Big breakfast’ £8.50
- Breakfast baps and kids’ breakfasts £3.95
Add a hot drink for £1 and choose from extra options such as blueberry muffins, cereal bars and fruit.
There’s also a fruit juice machine in the dining room.
Take your pick from a range of popular toppings:
- Margherita £7.95
- Mediterranean veg £8.50
- Pepperoni & jalapeño £9.50
- Ham & pineapple £9.50
- Chicken & bacon £9.50
The social Supper Club menu is available each evening and is a great way to mingle with fellow travellers and share your stories and tips of exploring in and around Swanage.
There’s something new on the menu each night, and meals are served at a set time, so you can choose to sit down together or grab a bite on your own. Just check the board for that evening’s exact meal timings and menu choices. There are vegan and vegetarian options each evening.
From traditional favourites such as meatballs, burgers and lasagne, to curries and pies, there’s also fresh fruit salads and a range of desserts across the week.
The two-course Supper Club menu costs £9.95.
Take advantage of the well-equipped self-catering kitchen to prep your own meals with family and friends.
There are three electric cookers, along with microwaves, fridges, freezer, toasters and all the kitchen utensils, crockery and cutlery you’ll need.
Tea towels and washing-up liquid are provided.
The nearest supermarket is Budgens on Station Road, and there’s a Co-Op nearby, too, as well as a variety of local specialty shops, such as the Purbeck Deli and various bakeries for you to make your favourite home-from home meals.
In case of a rainy day or if you just fancy some down time the hostel has various entertainment options, including a games room, with a variety of board games and TV & DVD player, and a spacious, comfortable and relatively plush oak-panelled lounge room to chill out in.
There’s free WiFi throughout all social areas, which are clean and bright.
Larger groups and organisations might also find the classroom handy for group activities and team-building exercises.
In warmer weather there’s also comfy deckchairs in the small outdoor area at the front of the hostel, where you can sit and watch the world go by or have your dinner with glimpses of the sea through the trees and rooftops.
How to get there and parking
- 📍 Cluny Crescent, Swanage, (postcode: BH19 2BS)
There is plenty of parking at the rear of the hostel for several cars, minibuses or coaches, but if you find the car park is full at any point, there are various residential roads with free parking surrounding the hostel.
If you’re driving, simply follow the main road through town, turning left up the hill off the one-way system on to Stafford Road. This will turn into Cluny Crescent. The car park is just behind the hostel, off St Vast’s Road.
If you’re arriving via bus, or if you have luggage, it’s probably best to catch a taxi from the station as walking from town or the beach is a good 10-15-minute uphill walk.
You’ll find a secure cycle store for your bikes on-site – there are some great cycling trails right from your door and throughout the Purbeck countryside.
The Purbeck Ridgeway is an extremely popular route for keen cyclists, or you can hop on the steam train in town to explore further afield (note that bikes are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis).
You can book your stay directly with YHA Swanage via their website, or on a variety of sites, such as Booking.com and HI Hostels.
If you want to request a room with a sea view, give the friendly staff a call before booking to check availability and to reserve your preferred room.
- 📞 0345 371 9346
- ℹ️ www.yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-swanage
More Dorset YHAs
YHA Lulworth Cove
It’s a stunning Jurassic Coast beauty spot and a short drive from here to Swanage and other interesting sites in Purbeck.
- ℹ️ www.yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-lulworth-cove
- 📞 +44 345 371 9331
YHA Litton Cheney
This 22-bed Dutch barn is Dorset’s other YHA hostel.
Located near the vibrant market town of Bridport, it’s handy for exploring West Dorset and the beaches of West Bay and Portland, such as Chesil Beach.
- ℹ️ www.yha.org.uk/hostel/yha-litton-cheney
- 📞 +44 345 371 9329