Tourist Information in Dorset
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Swanage Town Information

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This seaside resort on the east coast of the Isle of Purbeck is regarded as the gateway to Dorset’s marvellous Jurassic Coast and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Formerly an important trading centre for Purbeck marble, it has a restored pier, a sandy bay and limestone cliffs offering unrivalled opportunities for both climbers and fossil hunters.

View across Swanage Bay - Photo © Richard Webb
View across Swanage Bay - Photo: Richard Webb CCL

The Swanage Railway at Corfe Village - Photo: Crispin Purdye
The Swanage Railway at Corfe Village
Photo: Crispin Purdye CCL

A one-time Anglo Saxon port of some importance, it was the place where Alfred the Great famously thwarted a Viking Danish fleet in 877. The Wellington clock tower, erected on the shore, stood at the southern end of London Bridge until the mid 19th century when it was brought to Swanage by builders John Mowlem and his nephew George Burt. They also brought with them the façade from a London guild house, Mercers’ Hall, which adorns the local town hall.
Burt also built a 40-stone ‘Great Globe’ which he placed at Durlstone Head, now part of 260-acre Durlstone Country Park, along with stone benches and plaques The Portland stone globe has slabs around it containing Shakespearian or Biblical quotations.

The Swanage Railway is run by dedicated enthusiasts and links Swanage with Corfe Castle, operating both steam and diesel locos.

The Portland Stone Globe - Photo © Ben Gamble
The Portland Stone Globe - Photo: Ben Gamble CCL