Summer Breaks in Swanage

If you are planning a summer holiday along Dorset’s beautiful coast, the seaside resort of Swanage has everything you could wish for. An award-winning sandy beach, clifftop castlebeach huts for hire and ice-creams aplenty await you!

Swanage’s unique microclimate means that even when other parts of the county are cloudy, the sun is shining on Swanage, thanks to its sheltered position next to the Purbeck Ridge.

The warm summer evenings will give you more time to explore the town. You can listen to live music at the local pubs, chance your luck in the amusement arcades, enjoy fish and chips on the beach or watch the sunset from Swanage Pier.

Beach days

A summer’s day at the seaside wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach.

Swanage’s beautiful award-winning sandy beach has a shallow slope into the sea, as well as a designated swimming zone during the summer months – perfect for families and those wanting to cool off during the heat of the day.

You’ll find a Punch and Judy show on the central beach from mid July to early September and you can also hire pedalos to get a bit of gentle exercise as you explore Swanage Bay.

There’s no need to bring everything with you as deckchairs, sun loungers, windbreaks and parasols are available to hire. There’s also a beach toy library outside the Information Centre, where you can borrow children’s toys for the day for free.

Carnival week and summer fireworks

The biggest event of Swanage’s summer season is without doubt the Carnival and Regatta.

The 8 day long event takes place from Saturday 27th July to Sunday 3rd August 2024 and sees thousands of visitors flock to the town.

One of the UK’s largest charitable events, Swanage Carnival provides 8 days of fun filled entertainment with more than 100 different events throughout the week.

Listen to live music, take part in sporting events and games, gaze at the dazzling fireworks and watch the amazing Carnival Procession along the seafront.

Bird watching boat trips

During late spring and early summer, local sightseeing boats take visitors to see the nesting seabirds on the nearby limestone cliffs at Dancing Ledge. You’ll get the chance to see Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Peregrine Falcons and more.

Marsh’s Boats departs from the Stone Quay and City Cruises depart from Swanage Pier.

With City Cruises you’ll be accompanied by the Rangers from Durlston Country Park who will give you a commentary about the wildlife you’ll see on the cruise, as well as learning about the geology and history of Durlston. The boat trips run on Friday evenings between mid May and early July.

Just don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

Diving and fishing

As the sea warms up during the summer months, the sparkling blue waters will entice visitors to explore the underwater world at Swanage Pier or head out for a day of sea fishing.

Whether you’re a novice or experienced diver, you can join Swanage Boat Charters on a diving trip. They offer daily diving and visit wrecks, reef, scenic and drift dive sites.

If you prefer to be on the water, hop on board one of the Swanage Sea Fishing boats to see what you can catch for your dinner. Suitable for those with fishing experience as well as beginners, including children, they offer mackerel fishing trips, as well as inshore, wreck and deep sea fishing.

Festivals and events

The festival season really hots up during summer, with lots of events taking place outdoors making the most of the sunny weather.

The Swanage Fish and Food Festival at Prince Albert Gardens has stunning views across Swanage Bay and the pier. This free to attend festival takes place on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th June 2024. Watch cooking demonstrations, learn how to prepare fish and shellfish and enjoy lots of local food and drink from the stallholders. For children, the Little Fishes area has entertainment, crafts and fancy dress.

Jazz it up at the 33rd Swanage Jazz Festival from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th July 2024. Their main venues are at Sandpit Field and The Mowlem Theatre, but there will also be Fringe events taking place in local hotels and pubs over the weekend.

Purbeck Valley Folk Festival has something for all ages. It’s a small festival located on a farm between Swanage and Corfe Castle. There’s even camping, glamping and spaces for touring caravan or campervans on site to enjoy a weekend away in the countryside! There will be live music across 5 stages as well a poetry slam, crafts, healing area and puppet shows, storytelling and more to entertain children. The festival takes place from Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th August 2024.

Crazy golf

For the young and young at heart, a game of mini golf is a must.

With views over the beach, the Santa Fe Fun Park has two outdoor adventure golf courses to choose from – Shipwreck Island and Jurassic Golf. Compete against your friends or family to see who will be victorious as you take aim amongst smugglers and velociraptors!

Just a few minutes’ walk from the beach you’ll find an 18 hole putting green at Beach Gardens Sports Park. Set in amongst mature pine trees, this is a great low cost activity, and the Tea On The Green café sells drinks and light refreshments.

For something a little different, Kirkwood Park has an 18 hole course for pitch and putt, football golf and frisbee golf. Dogs are welcome and there are views of the Swanage Railway and Ballard Down to enjoy while you play.

Open air cinema and outdoor theatre

Warm summer evenings are the perfect time to enjoy some outdoor theatre or open air cinema under the stars.

Part of the Purbeck Film Festival, there is open air cinema every August at Durlston Country Park and nearby Corfe Castle.

Dorset based Sisata brings the story of Peter Pan to Swanage. Set in the outdoor Amphitheatre at Prince Albert Gardens on the Tuesday 6th and Wednesday 7th August, you’ll get fantastic views of Swanage Bay while listening to the story of pirates, smugglers and prehistoric Jurassic monsters!

More to see and do...


The sandy beach and shallow waters at Swanage make it popular with families.

On The Water

Explore Swanage Bay on a pedalo, motorboat, paddleboard, kayak or jet ski.

What's On

There's a packed events programme throughout the whole year in Swanage.

How To Get Here

Swanage can be easily reached by road, coach, bus and boat, with a mainline train station just 10...