Family Holiday to the Jurassic Coast town of Swanage

The Jurassic Coast is a stretch of the southern coast line in England, which starts in Studland, Dorset and ends in Exmouth.It has got its name from having one of the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils anywhere in the world.  Every year thousands of fossils are found along the beaches from cliff slides.  It is also home to some of the best beaches and weather in the UK.


Swanage is about a 10 minute drive away from the Poole-Studland chain ferry.  It is an east facing coastal town, what means that during majority of the year the town is protected from of the bad winds that blow large waves from the channel into the bay. About 10 years ago Poole harbour dug out millions of kilogramsof sand, and transported it to Swanage’s beach.  Which created a great long sandy beach.  Swanage bayis home to a natural reef and a naturally sunk ship wreck that makes it one of the top destinations in England for open water diving.  At low tide it is often possible to swim and sometimes walk to the reef.   In the summer, normally in the first week of August there is a Carnival that goes along the streets of the town.  Also during the same week, the town host lots of fun activities and competitions for all ages.  It is also host to one of the best New Years’ Eve celebrations in England.  Everyone turns up in fancy dress and heads to the streets to celebrate the coming of the New Year.


Places to visit

There is plenty of places to visit around Swanage that are great days out for the whole family.  Here is a few of great places to visit:

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  • Lulworth Cove; is great place to take the family, it is one of the best places to find dinosaur fossils.  Another great asset it has is that it has a beach and the children can go swimming.  It is great for the whole family because the children will be constantly busy with either playing on the beach, swimming, or looking for dinosaur bones.  So the parents can sit back and relax and enjoy the weather.
  • Square and Compass is a pub that is located in the village of Worth Matravers.  It has been voted the best pub in Dorset a number of times.  It is a great family pub because it has stone carving outside, a fossil museum inside and very often they will have live folk bands playing outside and dog are more than welcome in the pub.  The pub specializes in real ales, real ciders, and Cornish pasties. It also has a camp site located in the surrounding area.


  • Corf Castle is a situated in the town of Corf that has built up around the castle. It looks out across the valley towards sea and Swanage.  It was besieged during the civil war and was partly destroyed in the process.  Nowadays you are allowed to explore the ruins of the castle.  When you are in Corf why not try one of the excellent tea rooms and order the scones with clotted cream, absolutely delicious.
  • Monkey World, Is a great zoo dedicated to different types of monkeys.  It is a great place to take the children on an over cast day, when you don’t want to spend your day on the beach.  It is located just outside the town of Wareham.
  • The Swanage to Wareham Steam train.  Before the 1960’s it was part of the national rail line, but it got disconnected from the main line in the 60’s.  The line was kept open so that the steam train could run between the 2 towns.  In the next couple of years there is plans to link the line back up to the national line again.  It is a great experience to go on the old steam trains, to smell the smoke from the trains is an absolute fantastic experience and it takes me back to being a child every time I smell it.
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By Andrew Michaels [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
By Andrew Michaels [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


There is some great walks to take around Swanage.  So let’s take a look at some of the walks.

  • The first walk starts at Studland beach, and you head along the coast line to Swanage.  During the walk you will walk past Old Harry Rocks and have a great view of the needles on the isle of wright.  The walk takes you along the cliff top and then you walk down to the beaches in Swanage bay.  The walk is about 5 miles long.
  • The next walk can be started in several places depending how long of a walk you want to go on.  The final destination is the same, it is the square and compass pub.  So the starting places for the walk are Swanage, corf castle, Lulworth cove, Kimmeridgeand any of the small villages in the surrounding area.  It is a stunning walk that takes you through the Dorset country side. From Swanage you can walk along the sea front and see the wonderful views from there, and from corf castle you get treated to the view of the valley and the steam train running through the valley.  From Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge you can take the walk along the coast line and explore the bays and discover the dinosaur fossils.
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Where to stay?

So where can you stay whilst you are in Swanage.  Well there is plenty of hotels and B&B’s to stay at in the town.  But, why not check out some of the local camp sites in the surrounding areas.  There is some fantastic campsites, which have plenty of activities for the children to keep themselves busy.  My favourite activity to do in the camp sites was to explore the surrounding areas.  The last type of accommodation is renting a house or flat.  I would recommend looking into the houses near the life boat house.   One of my favourite memory and earliest memory is waking up early in one of the house, and then going outside and start trying catch fish and crabs.


Swanage is a great place to take your family on holiday, if you are looking for a seaside resort in England.  One of the best things about Swanage is its climate.  For some strange reason it seems to have its own weather system.  So many times I have been in Swanage and the sun and it has been hot outside with sun shining , and I will talk to friends or family only a couple of hours away and they will say it’s cold and wet outside.  It is a seaside resort that offers a lot for everyone from going to the beach, to walks, Steam trains, monkeys, and looking for dinosaurs.

About the author

Adrian Cruce

I just love to travel, write about travel and so much more! :D Hope you enjoy my articles and Travel Tips. Feel free to comment below and get in touch with me on my blog and on Twitter!