One of the best things about living on the south coast is the abundance of seaside hot spots to explore. Each offers something different for visitors, and with Swanage it is non-stop beauty and nostalgia.
I’ve been spoilt growing up in Bournemouth, with its cosmopolitan, lively atmosphere and miles of sandy beaches. When I was younger, I used to associate the Victorian seaside town of Swanage with blue rinses and walking sticks. However it has now become one of my favourite days out in Dorset come summer or winter, offering a quaint, old fashioned charm that sets it apart from other coastal destinations.
Swanage is mostly famous for its steam railway and pretty beach, however there’s lots more to discover when you scratch the surface. Here are my favourite things to do in Swanage:
Swanage Steam Railway
One of my favourite memories as a child was a trip on one of the Swanage Railway steam trains. It’s a great experience just to take a trip on the steam train to Corfe Castle with the option to get off and enjoy some time there, but Swanage Railway now offer much more than that. Special events run throughout the year including the much loved Santa Specials leading up to Christmas where you can meet Santa on your train journey! There are also luxury dining options on board where you can have a lunchtime, evening meal or afternoon tea whilst watching the countryside roll by. For more information visit www.swanagerailway.co.uk.
I can confidently say that aside from clothes shops, this is my favourite shop in the whole world. I love collecting nic-nacs, trinkets and above all else, a decent inspirational quote and this deceptively large shop is an absolute cave of wonders. If you want to turn your house into a home full of personality, this is the place to visit. I could spend hours in here….
There is a life-sized teddy bear outside this shop, and if that alone isn’t enough to entice you in, I don’t know what is. Whether buying or just browsing, this shop (conveniently located next to the Curiosity shop) is a lovely place to look round. Full of old fashioned, quality teddy bears all individually named, I defy you not to fall in love with at least one.
Afternoon Tea at the Grand Hotel
Right on the clifftop overlooking Swanage Bay, this hotel’s huge conservatory and garden provides breathtaking views and a mean afternoon cream tea. The perfect place to relax and review your Curiosity shop purchases!
Wander the Backstreets
Behind the main shopping street in Swanage you will find the beautiful St Mary’s church. After having a look around, follow the sign to the ‘Mill Pond’ for a great photo opportunity and a chance to admire the gorgeous chocolate box houses away from the crowds at the beach. Even I only discovered this hidden gem recently!
Fish and Chips on the Quayside
A visit to a traditional English seaside town just isn’t complete without fish and chips on the quay. The best chips I’ve had come from The Fish Plaice in Swanage square. Once you’ve got your feast, settle down on the quay and prepare for a stand off with the seagulls.
Fortes Gelateria Ice Cream Parlour
Another recent discovery and a wonderful desert after your fish and chips. I’ve never tasted such gorgeous creamy ice cream or seen such an array of flavours – Honeycomb, Ferrero Rocher, Bubblegum, Peach or how about Dorset Cream Tea (vanilla with strawberry jam and broken scone pieces stirred through) – YES PLEASE!
The historic Victorian pier has something for everyone, whether you are just taking a stroll, diving, sailing, fishing or simply strolling. One of my favourite things to do is to spend an afternoon crabbing – great fun but don’t forget to read the responsible crabbing code of conduct so the little mites don’t get hurt.