Although UK holidays were growing in popularity before the COVID19 pandemic, because of uncertainties around travelling abroad, lots of people are opting for a staycation this year and my home county of Dorset is one of the most places to visit.
I have lots of posts of fun things to do in Bournemouth and Poole on the blog, but quaint, traditional seaside town of Swanage has a lot to offer too.
Swanage is a coastal town at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck and accessible via road via Wareham, or by the Sandbanks chain ferry at Poole.
10 Fabulous Family Days Out in and around Swanage
It goes without saying, that as a seaside town, Swanage does has a fabulous sandy beach.
If you are visiting with kids who are past the age of being entertained by buckets and spades, Land and Wave run fabulous kayak and SUP lessons off the beach, which is not only fun, but teaches them water safety too.
Durlston Country Park
Durlston Country Park is an expansive, clifftop nature reserve with a visitor centre and gallery in a renovated Victorian castle. It is most famous for the Great Globe, one of the largest stone spheres in the world.
During the school holidays they run lots of events for children and there are plenty of pathways to explore the clifftops and see the flora and fauna.
For older children, I recommend the walk from Durlston Country Park to Dancing Ledge, which can be quite demanding in places, but well worth it for a stunning location for a picnic.
The Swanage Railway offers the chance to ride heritage steam and diesel timetable trains service from Swanage to Wareham, past the historic Corfe Castle.
The route takes you along the picturesque countryside of the Purbeck Hills and is a lovely day out for young and old train fans.
Without a shadow of a doubt, visiting Corfe Castle is our kids favourite day out in Dorset.
This thousand-year-old royal castle has been shaped by warfare and offers fabulous event days throughout the holidays, including activity trails and falconry displays. It also offers some fun photo opportunities too.
If you take the walk from the National Trust carpark at the bottom, don’t miss the balance trail and stepping stones at the base of the hill.
Dorset Adventure Park
In the shadow of Corfe Castle sits Dorset Adventure Park, which features the Wibit water park on two lakes and the Mud Trail.
Kids need to be able to swim at least 25m, but even the nervous are soon running around the inflatables, giving the adults a run for their money.
Putlake Adventure Farm
For younger visitors, Putlake Adventure Farm is a small activity farm in Langton Matravers which features a children’s soft play centre, a small farm with a good range of animals, Go-Karts, children’s outdoor play area and sand pit.
There is a lovely cafe on the site, or plenty of space to enjoy a picnic.
Kayak to Old Harry Rocks
Old Harry Rocks is the official beginning of the famous Jurassic Coast and one of the best ways to see it is from the water.
Taking a family kayak tour to Old Harry Rocks with Fore Adventure, is really good fun and the guides chat to you about the cliffs, how they were formed and all about the local legends and tales of pirates.
Walk to Old Harry Rocks
The walk to Old Harry Rocks is a nice flat walk and offers some spectacular views of Studland Bay and the famous chalk stacks.
It can work up quite an appetite, so on the way back, stop for a refreshing drink and something to eat at either the Bankes Arms or the Pig on the Beach.
Take a Jurassic Coast Cruise from Swanage to Poole
If you are not feeling energetic enough to walk or kayak out to Old Harry Rocks, a Jurassic coast cruise is the one for you.
Starting from Swanage Pier it takes you from Swanage to Poole, past the famous white cliffs and into Poole Harbour.
Finding the dinosaur footprints at Keates Quarry
More than 140 million years ago, dinosaurs gathered by the shores of a shallow lagoon in what is now Dorset. Incredibly, there are over 100 tracks left behind, although some are more visible than others.
The dinosaur footprints can be found at Keates Quarry and the closest place to park is at National Trust Spyway carpark and follow the directions on the map, or my blog.
There are also some fabulous walks along this end of the Jurassic coast, including the caves at Winspit where they have recently been filming the new Star Wars TV series.
Have you visited Dorset before?