What's On in Swanage

Looking for a place which offers a variety of music, sport, food and activity events throughout the year? Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck is the place to come to, with regular festivals and lots of family-friendly activities. Swanage alone has over 30 festivals each year, so there will always be an event to entertain.

Swanage Carnival is one of the highlights of the Swanage event calendar and the two mile carnival procession is enjoyed by thousands each summer, raising money for local charities. This week long event at the beginning of August includes three firework displays and over 100 events, including art competitions for children and adults, treasure hunts and a dog show. Why not join the fun?

The Swanage Fish Festival in June celebrates food, fun and all things fishy, with free children’s activities. You are sure to be able to try some of the freshest seafood around, while enjoying the seaside location.

Rock around the clock?

Want to holiday in a place buzzing with music events and festivals? Swanage has something to suit all tastes. From free concerts by Swanage Town Band playing at the bandstand to the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival, you can enjoy live music in a wide variety of venues.

In September, the Swanage Folk Festival combines folk music, Morris dancing and children’s activities. If you are more of a blues fan, the Swanage Blues Festival takes place in March and October with over 100 musicians at 60 events.

Feeling fit?

Swanage is a favourite location for kayak fishing competitions, Jurassic Coast hikes for charity and the annual sea rowing regatta.

The Studland Stampede in October is a 12 km off road running event over heathland and sandy beaches.

Family friendly

Wanting to keep the children entertained during the school holidays? They will enjoy the activities and trails offered by Durlston Country Park which has a year round programme with activities for families. The National Trust at Corfe Castle and Studland Bay also offer an inspiring range of events.

Why not go back to the stream trains of the Railway Children? Events for all the family take place on Swanage Railway throughout the year, including steam and diesel galas.

Other family friendly events include the Fairy Festival, Pirate Festival and Swanage Lifeboat Week.

Enjoy the natural world

If you want to meet a moth, watch migrating birds, go on a wildlife photography walk or get the chance to spot a dolphin, Durlston Country Park is the place to go, with a full programme of activities throughout the seasons. They also host star-gazing events at their observatory along with the Wessex Astronomical Society.

Every summer the Durlston Rangers pair up with City Cruises to offer guided bird watching boat trips to see the seabirds nesting on the nearby cliffs, including gannets, guillemots and a small number of puffins.

Cultural events, film and theatre

The Purbeck Art Weeks Festival takes place every May and artist studios and pop-up exhibitions will be opened for the festival. Purbeck Art Weeks includes live performances of classical music, poetry, dance and illustrated talks.

The Mowlem Cinema and Theatre offers you all year-round entertainment with live music and theatre performances and also a wide range of cinema for all tastes. The Mowlem is also a venue for the Purbeck Film Festival during the autumn.

Open air performances

The Amphitheatre at Prince Albert Gardens overlooking Swanage Bay is the perfect location for open air theatre throughout the summer, look out for a variety of shows and musical events in this stunning location.

Book your stay in Swanage

Now you know what’s on, find somewhere to stay during your holiday in Swanage. We have plenty of B&B, self-catering and camping options for you, plus ideas of things to doplaces to eat and interesting shops to discover.

Need extra advice? Contact our Information Centre for helpful visitor information.

Events happening soon

Wilkswood Reggae Festival Jul 18

Wilkswood Reggae Festival

Summer brings the sweet, sweet sounds of Wilkswood Reggae Festival to Swanage Johnny Clarke, General Levy, Mad Professor and Zion Train are all set to perform live on the main stage at this year's...

Fish and Chip Cruise to Poole Jul 19

Fish and Chip Cruise to Poole

Embark on an early evening circular cruise to Poole Harbour with City Cruises, departing from Swanage Pier. The cruise offers vast panoramas of sky, sea, and sand as you pass Old Harry Rocks, Studland...

The Wild Swimming Festival Jul 20

The Wild Swimming Festival

The Wild Swimming Festival is the event beside the sea that you've all been asking for. Featuring live music, swim races, seminars with experts in water safety sessions, local food and drink and...

WI Traditional Fundraiser Jul 21

WI Traditional Fundraiser

Swanage Womens Institute Fundraiser. A fundraiser for our charity that will include a craft stall, book stall, bric a brac, cakes and preserve's and children's games.

More to see and do...

Where to Stay

From hotels and B&Bs to cottages and apartments, all budgets are catered for in Swanage.


Swanage is the only town in Dorset to have its own Astronomy Centre and Observatory.