Beach days are blissful in Dorset, but there’s so much more to explore around our Swanage Bay View resort. Ferry over to Brownsea Island to seek out red squirrels, explore the gorgeous natural sights at Durlston Country Park a short walk from Swanage town, or immerse yourself in the tumultuous history of Corfe Castle, scene of murder mysteries, battles and acts of martyrdom. Poole Harbour, Europe’s largest, is a playground for watersports and wildlife watching. Dine al fresco in the pristine grounds of the Pig on Beach Hotel, munch on a cake inside a castle on the Lulworth Estate, and sample truly local ales at the Isle of Purbeck Brewery.
KEEPING THE KIDS HAPPY
They might be happiest searching for fossils on the beach, testing out their snorkels or enjoying a tractor ride - whatever your little ones love doing, you’ll find it in Dorset. Haul in some crabs and gape at the array of colours in the rockpools of Kimmeridge Bay, jump and tumble away rainy days at Putlake Adventure Farm indoor soft play, and chug along the Swanage Heritage Railway listening out for the ‘toot toot’! Put on your putting gloves and enjoy dinosaur themed crazy golf at Santa Fe fun park in Swanage, or venture slightly further afield to Monkey World to enjoy close encounters with rescued primates.
Endless tales of treachery, courage and intrigue can be uncovered within the mottled stone walls of this thousand year old castle. Come for the history, and enjoy the bonus breathtaking views of the Purbeck Hills. Look out for rare wildlife in the surrounding landscapes, like the sand lizard and Dartford Warbler.
Swanage Heritage Railway
Chug your way from Swanage to Norden, via Corfe Castle, on this quaint rail route dating back to 1883. You’ll follow a restored steam train through the glorious Isle of Purbeck countryside. Jump off to explore the Corfe Castle model village, or join one of the special dining journeys for a ‘Dorsetman luncheon’ or locomotive curry night!
Durlston Country Park
Enjoy the warm embrace of mother nature in all her glory at this 280 acre country park and National Nature Reserve a mile from Swanage town. Enjoy views of towering sea cliffs and look out for leaping dolphins in the waters below. Close your eyes and inhale the scent of the hay meadows in summer, enjoy the ornate Victorian architecture of Durlston Castle, and refuel for the walk back to town in the cafe.
If you came to Dorset for the watersports, Poole harbour should be high on your visiting list. With the right permits you can throw caution to the wind and indulge in some waterskiing, jetskiing, wakeboarding, kite surfing or windsurfing. Board a passenger boat to explore the harbour from the water - you can even get across to Brownsea. When your sea legs have done you proud out on the water, give them a rest and retire to the quay for some fresh seafood in one of the many relaxed restaurants.
A short ferry ride from Sandbanks or Poole Harbour, Brownsea Island is a wildlife haven managed by the National Trust and Dorset Wildlife Trust. Wander the footpaths looking out for one of the 250 red squirrels which can be seen nibbling on nuts and frisking in the treetops. Don’t forget your binoculars - the birdlife here is spectacular too.
In this divine 20 square mile patchwork of coastline and countryside, cherry-pick your way through five miles of World Heritage Jurassic Coast, the spellbinding beauty of Lulworth Cove, and the magnificence of Lulworth Castle. Durdle Door, a world famous stone arch, sits within the estate, and you’ll find thatched inns, coffee bars and castle tea rooms to refresh in.