10 Free Things to do in Swanage

April 5th, 2019

We know holidays can be expensive and that the cost of visiting an attraction every day can soon add up. If you’re on a budget why not try one of our top 10 free things to do in Swanage, all of which are easily accessible from our Swanage Holiday Park.


1. Swanage Museum Heritage Centre 

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Despite its size Swanage Museum Heritage Centre is a firm favourite with visitors. This small museum is packed full of information and gives a detailed insight into the town and ports history. Children will love the hands on activities, including puzzles, models and magnifying glasses which allow you to inspect fossils and local stone. There’s even a short film, which explains Swanage’s involvement in the quarry industry. This ‘little gem’ is an excellent way to spend half an hour or so!

2. Swanage Lifeboat Station

Swanage’s Lifeboat Station was reopened to the public in 2017 following a full refurbishment. It houses the new Shannon Class lifeboat, which is used by the volunteer crew to protect the waters of the south coast. View the slipway where the boat is launched and find out more about the RNLI’s heritage. Volunteers will be on hand to talk you through the role of the lifeboat and the challenges its crew face. Sometimes it’s even possible to try on some of their gear! This is a free attraction but donations to the RNLI are greatly received.

3. Keates Quarry Dinosaur Footprints

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Walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs at Keates Quarry, an old quarry located in the heart of the Purbecks. Scientists believe the site was once a watering hole and that giant plant eaters called Brachiosaurs made the fossilised tracks more than 140 million years ago. The footsteps are one of Dorset’s best kept secrets and can be accessed via a short walk from the National Trusts Spyway car park.

4. King Georges Playing Field 

Let the kids burn off some steam at King George’s Playing Field. The council managed park has a fantastic range of outdoor play equipment including climbing frames, swings, slides and monkey bars. There is an expanse of green open field, which is the perfect place to sit and enjoy a picnic when the weathers warm or play ball games with the family. For slightly older children there is a skate park with new ramps, where they can practice there skills. If you don’t want to travel into Swanage we also have our very own play park on site.

5. Durlston Country Park

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Durlston Country Park is located on the outskirts of Swanage and boasts 320 acres of countryside. It is home to an abundance of wildlife and plant life including rare species. Durlston Castle has a visitor centre, which gives information on recent wildlife sightings and informative displays. The Fine Foundation Gallery exhibits work by local artists. There are live wildlife cameras to view and the rangers will be able to give you detailed information. Entry to the park is free, however there is a small daily fee for parking.

6. Swanage Events

Throughout the year Swanage plays host to a number of exciting family friendly events, which are free to attend. The carnival is a must see event, with a range of walking entries and floats as well as a firework display. There is also a seafood festival, folk festival and the annual lifeboat week, which see’s the lifeboat crews carryout a number of displays and activities.

Dates for your diary:

Swanage Carnival: 3rd August 2019

Swanage Lifeboat Week: 9th-18th August 2019

7. Guided Walk of Swanage

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Discover Swanage’s heritage during a guided tour. From Easter to September local historians run two-hour walking tours of the town, stopping to take in points of interest and to admire the Victorian architecture. The guide will also explain Swanage’s wartime involvement and links with London. Tours take place at 2.30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and start at the Swanage Museum Heritage Centre. A percentage of donations are given to the museum.

8. Train spotting at Swanage Railway

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Why not take a break at one of the stations along the Swanage railway line. Sit in the shadows of historic Corfe Castle and enjoy a picnic as steam engines pass by. At the Harman’s Cross station there is a viewing platform and an outdoor playground with zip wire at the nearby village hall.

9. Swanage Beach

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Enjoy a lazy day spent on Swanage Beach soaking up the sunshine and the sea air. Pack yourself a picnic and spend the day outdoors paddling in the shallow waters and admiring the view.

10. Art and sculpture trail

Immerse yourself in Swanage’s art world with the ‘Swanage Seen Art Trail’. Discover some of the best paintings of Swanage and find out about the famous artists who painted them as you follow the trail around the town and along the beach. There is also a popular sculpture trail. You can pick up a printed copy of both the routes from the Swanage Tourist Information Centre.

What our guests say

  • A gem of a place

    Sandra, Winchester

    What a find. I almost don’t want to tell you about it.

    It’s a family park with lovely, mostly new, fresh, clean spacious caravans – all set out almost in steps on the side of a small hill. The larger hill rises behind you, the sea spreads out in front and the swimming pool beckons behind the bar.

    The people are friendly, the site is clean and welcoming and the scenery unbeatable. It’s a gem of a place.

  • Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage


    Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage. A truly wonderful location, lying under the stunning Ballard Down and surrounded by beautiful countryside. Being only a 10 min walk from Swanage and the coast means it’s conveniently located for all amenities.

    The staff are always very helpful to sort out any problems and keep the site in fantastic condition. A 5-star park.

  • Friendly, clean & well kept

    Cheshire, UK

    Stayed here as a base to tour Isle of Purbeck and go on to Air show in Bournemouth. Not the cheapest site but definitely the cleanest and well thought out.

    Swimming pool , shop and pub/restaurant all in proximity and well kept/stocked. Bus stop right outside entrance. Grass pitches have plenty of space and well drained with shower blocks water/ drain points really handy.

    Will definitely be using this site again.

  • Lovely weekend

    Tina, London

    We have just returned from a lovely weekend caravanning at Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park.
    Lovely clean site with indoor heated pool. We went in the pool around 5pm and were the only ones in there (apart from life guard) it was lovely and warm and clean.

    We walked to old Harry’s rock and then Down into Swanage itself and had fish and chips and an ice cream.
    Staff on the site were helpful and friendly. Lovely stay.

  • Our second, lovely Christmas at Ulwell

    Jane P, Cheltenham

    After the success of Christmas 2016 at Ulwell, we returned again for Christmas 2017 and had another great time. Lovely warm caravan, peaceful and relaxing on site and a fantastic carvery on Boxing Day at The Village Inn.

    Thanks to all staff who were working and made sure we had such a great break away.

All reviews


We are currently at an amazing 4.5 score at TripAdvisor, based upon 200+ reviews from verified guests.

Latest reviews

Proudly associated

Over the years the family has developed the park to award-winning standards and in a style which compliments its surroundings.

  • Camping and caravanning
  • AA
  • British Holiday & Home Parks assocation
  • Poole Tourism
  • Visit Britain

Finding us


From Bournemouth via the Sandbanks chain ferry and following the B3351 into Swanage.

Please note: The Sandbanks Ferry will be out of action until at least October.

From Wareham using the A351 into Swanage, turn left along the seafront towards Studland.


The park is situated on the main bus route from Bournemouth to Swanage.


1 ° 58’ 16” West, 50° 37’ 34” North

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