1 year (!) in Swanage

Today marks one whole year since Old Harry Camper Co. opened its doors to business in Swanage, and what a year it has been!! It has been a whirlwind of a year but as well as squirreling away at OHCC headquarters we have also found some time to enjoy being in Swanage and the surrounding area. We feel incredibly lucky to be living in such a fantastic part of the country and have been fondly reflecting on our favourite things to do in Swanage.

Swanage is a coastal town in South East Dorset situated at the eastern end of The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Centre, within the Isle of Purbeck. Although Swanage is situated on the South Coast of England it is unique in the fact that the bay itself is East facing and sheltered from the South-West prevailing wind. Swanage is popular for a variety of activities including walking, bike riding, camping, water sports and anyone wanting to explore the great outdoors. So in no particular order...


dorset flag in swanage

Our Top 10 things to do in Swanage and the surrounding areas

Fish and Chips on the quayside! There are plenty of outlets for you to choose from, but we’ll let you decide which is the best! We particularly enjoy doing this just as the sun is going down so you can watch the sky transform in to beautiful pastel shades of pink and purple whist enjoying your food.

    fish and chips quayside in swanage dorset
    bike ride on the isle of purbeck dorset

    Bike rides around the Purbecks

    Bike rides around the Purbecks - The Purbecks offer some fantastic mountain and road bike routes. Our favourite mountain bike route known as the "Five Hills" takes in the entirety of the Purbecks - Check it out here

    There are multiple routes to suit every level of rider, but it is guaranteed there will be a hill or two! - here's some more! 

      Windy walks to Anvil point lighthouse

       On those wet and windy days when you are tempted to stay tucked away at home, it is most definitely worth the effort to head up to Durlston Country Park and make your way to Anvil Point lighthouse to see the waves crashing in on the rocks. This is also an awesome view point looking along the famous Jurassic coast!


      anvil point lighthouse on a sunset
      shell bay sunset fishing

      Fishing at Shell Bay

      Fishing at Shell Bay. A small car or bike ride from Swanage, is this wonderful fishing spot on the shores of Poole harbour. As this spot faces west it is particularly special for an evening fishing, watching the sunset over the small islands that make up Poole harbour. Make sure to take a torch for the return home though!!!

      Walking from Swanage to Studland

      Walking from Swanage to Studland, via Old Harry Rocks. This is one of our favourite walks and takes in the spectacular bird’s eye views over Swanage, The Purbecks and the entrance to Poole Harbour. You also have the opportunity to see the fantastic Old Harry Rocks up close!

      old harry rocks sunset
      bbq on swanage beach

      BBQs on the beach

      BBQs on the beach. On a warm summer evening, there is no better way to relax after a day at work than to head to the beach with a BBQ, beers and good friends. Our favourite spot is at the far North end of the beach where the beach is quiet and the water is crystal clear. Just make sure to clear up after yourself!!!!

      Swimming at Dancing Ledge

      Swimming at Dancing Ledge. Dancing Ledge is situated west along the coastline from Swanage and is most easily accessed from Langton Matravers. It is a flat area of rock at the base of a cliff which is very popular with climbers. A swimming pool was blasted in to the rocks near the beginning of the 20th century and is a great place to cool down after walking the steep hills to get there. To get to the pool does take a bit of scrambling!

      dancing ledge pool
      square and compass walk priest way

      Priest way to the Square and Compass Pub

      Priest way to the Square and Compass Pub. The Priest’s Way follows an ancient track taken by a local priest as he travelled back and forth between Swanage and Worth Matravers. The route is 3 miles long and finishes at one of Dorset’s most famous pubs; The Square and Compass. Treat yourself to a pasty or a cheese and vegetable pie (the only options on the menu!) with a pint of local ale or home pressed cider made by the owner. This is at the very top of our list for a Sunday afternoon bike ride or walk! 

      Campervan dinner at the view point

      Campervan dinner at the view point. On the B3351 between Corfe Castle and Studland lies a little gem of a spot which we love to visit and look out over the incredible views of Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island. We love to head up here in our Campervan and enjoy the view whilst drinking a cuppa or cooking up dinner for two!

      lookout over poole camper van
      swanage wheelbarrow race old harry camper

      Swanage Events & Festivals

      Swanage hosts some amazing events throughout the year, many of which are free to attend and enjoy. Swanage Carnival & Swanage Lifeboat Week both have a week long itenerary of events including live music, food & drink and lots of friendly competitions to keep you and your family entertained. Here are the events lined up for 2019:

      Swanage Fish Festival – 8th and 9th June 2019 - http://www.swanagefishfest.org

      Dorset Volksfest – 28th and 30th June 2019 - https://dorsetvolksfest.co.uk/

      Swanage Carnival – 27th July to 3rd August 2019 - https://www.swanagecarnival.com/

      Swanage Lifeboat Week – 9th August to 18th August 2019 - https://www.swanagelifeboatweek.org.uk

      Swanage Folk Festival – 7th and 8th September 2019 - https://www.swanagefolkfestival.com

      So there you have it, a years worth of fun to have in Swanage!