Want to know how accessible Swanage is for visitors with disabilities or reduced mobility?
Whether you’re visiting for the day or a little longer, we’ve got all the essential information you need to plan your trip.
Town centre and shopping
The majority of Swanage’s town centre and main shopping streets have wide, flat pavements suitable for manual wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs.
The town centre also connects with the seafront and promenade, which also has wide, flat pavements.
Swanage’s pride and joy is its beautiful sandy beach which is accessible to all visitors via ramps and steps.
The beach is backed by a half mile long promenade, which is flat and has three covered seating areas to enjoy the views of the beach and bay.
Ramps from the promenade down onto the beach are available in three places - next to The Mowlem Theatre and Cinema, on either side of the Banjo Pier and at North Beach.
The ramps at the Banjo Pier are located at the junction of Shore Road and Victoria Avenue. The ramps are gently sloping and also have handrails too. This is the easiest access point to the beach if you are parking at the Main Beach car park.
During the summer, beach matting is added to the beach. This makes it easier for wheelchairs, pushchairs and people who find it difficult to walk on the soft sand to access the beach.
Shore Road Beach Huts
At Shore Road there are 60 beach huts opposite the beach, of which most have wide doors accessible to wheelchair users. There are 5 beach huts with extra wide doors and lower countertops for increased accessibility. Beach huts 1-14 are accessed via steps.
If you have a large family, there are 6 Premium beach huts which are larger than the standard size and come with extra chairs.
There are free wheelchair accessible toilets, cafés, refreshment kiosks and amusement arcades close to the beach huts offering everything you need for a day at the beach.
Durlston Country Park and Castle is a must-visit attraction which has won awards for accessibility and inclusivity. The Country Park offers lots of facilities including two all-terrain Tramper mobility scooters to hire, a British Sign Language Video Tour and large print leaflets and guides. Durlston Castle has an accessible roof terrace with amazing views across Swanage Bay, along with accessible toilets and access to the shop and café. For more information, visit their website.
If you want to visit the Swanage Heritage Railway, all of the station platforms offer step-free access and most of the steam and diesel trains are accessible to wheelchair users. The Guard’s Van is available for wheelchair users and those visitors with some mobility can sit in nearby passenger seating.
All five car parks in Swanage have accessible car parking spaces for disabled visitors, all of which are pay & display car parks.
For SatNav devices, postcodes are given for each car park.
- Mermond Place short-stay car park (BH19 1DQ) – 3 accessible parking spaces.
- Central (Co-Op Supermarket) short-stay car park (BH19 1HB) – 3 accessible parking spaces.
- Main Beach long-stay car park (BH19 1AP) – 7 accessible parking spaces.
- North Beach long-stay car park (BH19 1NL) – 4 accessible parking spaces.
- Broad Road long-stay car park (BH19 2BB) – 6 accessible parking spaces.
For the shops and town centre, Mermond Place car park and Central (Co-Op Supermarket) car park are the closest. Both car parks are short-stay with a maximum 2 hours parking. There is also free parking for Blue Badge Holders for approx. 3 vehicles outside The Mowlem Theatre on Shore Road for up to 3 hours, plus a limited number of roadside pay & display parking spaces on Station Road.
There is flat access to the beach from the long-stay Main Beach car park on Victoria Avenue which brings you to the Banjo Pier with ramps down onto the beach. It takes roughly 5 minutes to walk from the car park to the central beach.
At the long-stay North Beach car park there is a Changing Places toilet and free public toilets, however the access to the beach is sloping and may be difficult for manual wheelchairs users. It takes about 6 minutes to walk from the car park to the northern section of the beach. You’ll find a ramp with handrail allowing access down onto the sand from the pavement.
There is a small, privately operated pay & display car park at the entrance to the Pier. Alternatively, there are approx. 6 free parking spaces on the lower end of the High Street with 1 hour maximum stay.
There are also toilets for disabled visitors at these locations:
Shore Road beach huts,
You can check opening times on the Swanage Town Council website.
There is a Changing Places toilet at North Beach car park.
All accessible toilets require a RADAR key, which can be purchased from Swanage Information Centre.
Accessibility on buses and trains
If you plan to travel around the area by bus on the Purbeck Breezer buses, you can read more information about wheelchair and mobility scooter access on the MoreBus website. They operate the number 40 bus service between Swanage and Poole, calling at Corfe Castle, Wareham and other towns and villages, as well as the number 50 bus service between Swanage and Bournemouth, via Studland and Sandbanks. Both of these buses stop in Swanage.
Mobility Equipment Hire
The Purbeck Mobility Centre is based in Wareham and offers a delivery service to Swanage.
They hire out mobility scooters and manual wheelchairs, as well as other aids such as rollators, commodes and adjustable toilet frames on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
The shop in Wareham also offers a servicing and repair service should you need it while visiting the local area.
Accessible places to stay
There are a number of hotels, B&Bs, self-catering accommodation and campsites which offer accessible facilities.
Some will have ground floor bedrooms or lifts, facilities for hearing or sight impaired visitors, offer wet rooms or adapted bathrooms, or might be fully accessible to wheelchair users.
We always recommend contacting the accommodation prior to booking to discuss your individual requirements and make sure what they offer suits your needs.
The sandy beach and shallow waters at Swanage make it popular with families.
Kids of all ages will love the family friendly attractions and activities on offer.
There's a packed events programme throughout the whole year in Swanage.
Many of the parks, attractions and eateries welcome dogs and Monkey Beach is dog friendly all year...