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Swanage Beach - click for bigger pictureThe Beach:
Swanage has a long sandy beach which is about 5 minutes walk from the cottage (be warned - it can take more than an hour if you happen to go past the railway and a train is just coming in or leaving or filling with water or something….). There is Punch and Judy on the beach during the summer afternoons. The water gets deeper more quickly than Studland, but it is still very safe for children, but I think better for swimming.

Studland Bay - Click here for bigger pictureStudland beach is a 10 minute drive away and is very beautiful and has the added benefit of rock pools and lots of crabs. There are three National Trust car parks to reach different parts of Studland beach - South beach is the 'sailing' beach - lots of boats, not much sand, but you can reach the rock pools from here. Middle beach has a café, shop, loos, the rock pools and can be very crowded! Knoll beach is towards the ferry and is flat and sandy, more exposed than Middle Beach and there is also a shop and café here. Studland is very safe and shallow, can be a bit seaweedy at times, definitely warmer than Swanage, but you have to walk miles to swim.

Swanage Lifeboat - click for bigger pictureShell Bay is on Poole harbour, the other side of the road from Studland beach. This is very shallow (no good for adult swimming, perfect for child swimming) warm and sheltered, but a very small beach and with lots of boats. There is an excellent restaurant right on this beach. The beach time is the highlight of any holiday we have in Swanage.

The Swanage Lifeboat, sailing (in Swanage and Poole Harbour) rock pooling, sand castling and generally hanging out is our beach time.

Harry Rocks  - click for bigger pictureWalks:
More details of walks are in the cottage. There are some beautiful walks over the hill past Old Harry Rock to Studland, over the top of Nine Barrow Down to Corfe, along the cliff to Durleston Castle, along the cliff path to Dancing Ledge, or from Worth Matravers to Dancing Ledge.

Shorter walks, more attractive to younger members, include a potter down to the beach via the swings and slides in Swanage or to see the band in the bandstand!

Corfe Castle - click for bigger picture
Corfe is a 10 minute drive away and can also be reached by steam train. There is a ruined castle here (owned by the National Trust), blown up in the civil war as it was a royalist stronghold. Also lots of tea rooms. There is lots of information about the town here: Corfe Castle and at the links below.


Swanage Railway - click for bigger pictureThe Railway:
I have great difficulty writing about the railway as I really dislike it! But I am willing to concede that for some this is the highlight of their holiday to Swanage! Objectively now, there is a restored steam railway that runs from Swanage to Corfe and if you like to spend hours gazing at steam trains or sitting in shabby British Rail carriages then this is the place for you. Our children absolutely love it. You can find out lots more at the
Swanage Railway Homepage.

A bit further afield, there is the historic town of Wareham, lots of other National Trust properties, Poultons Park and Broadlands. We have also visited open days on local farms and other local seasonal events. There is a wide programme of activities throughout the summer and Tourist Information is by the beach in Swanage. As you have probably gathered, it is well worth being a National Trust member. The car parks at Studland are £2.50 a day otherwise, and there are lots of other NT things around.

The following websites will give you more information on attractions and things to do in the area:

Purbeck and Swanage Resort Guide - details of attractions at Swanage, Wareham and Corfe Castle
Studland - a page giving details of the area, restaurants etc.
Swanage, Dorset, England - a nice page giving details of the area and its history
Welcome to Swanage Online - local council website, with webcam and events diary
Swanage Pier - photographs and history of the pier, plus local weather and tidal information
Purbeckweb - a web magazine about local arts and crafts and places to visit.
Swanage Folk Festival - details of the festival which takes place from 8-10 September 2000

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