The Isle of Purbeck
The Isle of Purbeck is described as one of the most delightful parts of England and designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, covering some fifty square miles of unspoilt country which abounds with heath, woodlands, and rolling hills, and many places of historic interest. It has justly been described as having some of the finest and most contrasting scenery in Europe. The climate is pleasantly bracing with virtually no snow, and having one of the highest sunshine records in England.
Situation: South-East Dorset. London 123 miles. Bournemouth (via car ferry at Sandbanks) 11 miles. Wareham 10 miles. Dorchester 27 miles. Weymouth 29 miles. Poole 20 miles.
Lying at the eastern tip of the Isle of Purbeck and delightfully situated between the Purbeck Hills, it has a fine, safe, sandy beach, and is an attractive mixture of old stone cottages and more modern properties, all of which blend in well with the peaceful surroundings. Purbeck stone is the predominant material used in the construction of many of the properties in the area, giving the town considerable appeal and character. Swanage has an active shopping centre, with branches of a number of multiple stores. To the south is the Durlston Country Park area and Anvil Point Lighthouse. For a 'live view' of Swanage Bay please see our webcam, and for more information, please visit the Swanage Town Council web site.
Access: By road from Wareham or road and car ferry from Bournemouth. By rail to Wareham with through coaches from London (Waterloo). By bus from Bournemouth (hourly in Winter, half-hourly in Summer) or Wareham.
Shopping Facilities: Early closing Thursday for some shops in the winter. Some offices, including our own, close on all day Sunday.
Post Office: The main Post Office is in Kings Road, with sub-Post Office at Herston.
Banks & Building Societies: Branches of Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, National Westminster and Nationwide. Agencies for Santander and Yorkshire Building Society.
Shops: Apart from the many old-established local tradesmen, there are two Supermarkets in the centre of the town and branch of Boots.
Churches: Most denominations are represented including Church of England, Roman Catholic, United Reform, Baptist, Methodist and Salvation Army.
Clubs & Societies: Arts and Dramatic, Bridge, Royal British Legion, Conservative, Camera, Choral and Operatic, Dance, Inner Wheel, Ladies Circle, Lions, Over Sixties, Purbeck Group of Artists, Rotary, Round Table, R.A., Townswomen’s Guild, W.I, W.R.V.S.
Sporting Clubs: Angling (on and off shore), Badminton, Bowling, Cricket, Football, Golf (an excellent 18-hole course on Studland road about 3 miles from the Town Centre), Putting, Riding (Stables at Studland), Rugby, Sailing, Squash, Tennis and Sub-Aqua Club.
Education: Swanage is well served by both private and Local Authority Schools, and a Comprehensive School at Wareham.
Swanage Railway: The old railway station in Swanage has acquired a new lease of life as enthusiasts have renovated the station and are now operating steam engines along approx. 5 miles of track via Corfe Castle to Norden. It is hoped to link up with the British Rail main line at Wareham.
Villages in the Isle of Purbeck
Acton: Swanage 3 miles. Wareham 7 miles. Mains Electricty, Water and Drainage. The hamlet lies close to the village of Langton Matravers and about one and a half miles from the Heritage CoastLine at Dancing Ledge. The natural Purbeck stone is still quarried close by.
Church Knowle: Swanage 7 miles. Wareham 4 miles. Mains Electricity, Water and Drainage. An attractive village with a 13th century church, ancient manor house and an Inn.
Corfe Castle: Swanage 5 miles. Wareham 4 miles. Bus Service. Numerous local shops, sub Post Office, Parish Church and Inns. Mains Electricity, Gas, Water and Drainage. Beautifully situated between two ranges of hills, It is dominated by the ruins of the medieval Norman Castle, after which it is named. Much of the present day village was built in the 1700's to a consistently high standard of craftsmanship, and the picturesque old streets are lined with stone cottages.
Harmans Cross: Swanage 3 miles. Corfe Castle 2 miles. Swanage-Kingston-Swanage Bus Service. Mains Electricity, Drainage (some have private country drainage), Gas & Water. A popular hamlet with good views and country surroundings.
Langton Matravers: Swanage 2 miles. Wareham 8 miles. Swanage-Corfe Castle-Wareham Bus Service. Several local shops, sub-Post Office, Parish Church & Inns. Mains Electricity, Gas, Water and Drainage. A charming old Purbeck village consisting of old Purbeck stone cottages & houses. Education is well catered for with St George's Primary School. For more information, please see the official Langton Matravers Website.
Studland: Swanage 4 miles. Bournemouth (via ferry) 7 miles. Swanage-Bournemouth bus service. Large areas of heathland owned by The National Trust. Local shop incorporating sub-Post Office, Parish Church and Inn. Mains Electricity, Water and Drainage. One of the very few unspoilt coastal villages in the South. Vast expanse of safe, sandy beach backing on to heathland now under the management of The National Trust. The nearby Old Harry Rocks are an impressive coastal feature. Shell Bay, an area of clear sand, stretches towards the Sandbanks Chain Ferry, linking Studland to the Sandbanks Peninsular and is extremely popular with sunbathers.
Worth Matravers: Swanage 4 miles. Swanage-Worth Matravers-Swanage Bus Service. Parish Church & Inn. Mains Electricity, Drainage & Water. A very picturesque old village with duck pond and quaint Purbeck stone cottages. Unspoilt and a favourite with those seeking a peaceful retreat in beautiful surroundings.