One of the most beautiful coastal spots in the country. History, nature, geology, lighthouses, aqua blue bays, trails, steam trains (always a favourite with our Little Trekkers) and seaside towns, you can’t ask for much more.
Purbeck and Corfe Castle
Purbeck's most famous landmark. The ruins of this castle have a varied history as fortress, prison and home. It was built by the Normans in the 11th Century and was the central point in many battles until its destruction by Oliver Cromwell in 1646.
During the summer many activities are on offer here – guided tours, historical enactments and children even get the chance to dress up in medieval gear. At the time of writing, there is an entry fee but it is free for National Trust members.
Purbeck is actually a peninsula not an island and has been recommended as a favourite local spot from our Little Trekkers' Ambassador for the South East. OK, so geographically speaking Purbeck is in the South West but hey, it is just an utterly stunning place.
We often go on weekend breaks to the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. It is stunning and is packed with outdoor fun, from taking a ride on an old steam train to walking the breathtaking clifftops at Durlston Head with the chance of spotting a peregrine or even a dolphin.
Studland Beach and Godlingston Heath National Nature Reserve
Stretching 3 miles from South Haven Point to the dramatic chalk cliffs of Old Harry Rocks, the stunning white sandy beaches and heathland which make up Studland Beach and Nature Reserve is a must for nature lovers and budding little ornithologists.
Of course being situated on the Jurassic Coast there are also archaeological remains all over the reserve, along with bunkers and shell holes from the Second World War.
The Abandoned Village of Tyneham
Any trip to Purbeck has to include a visit to the village of Tyneham. During the Second World War villagers left their homes "with good heart, and in the national interest" as the firing ranges being used to prepare for the Normandy landings on D Day were extended. The villagers never returned and to this day Tyneham is still within a Ministry of Defence firing range.
The Dorset coastal path goes through the village and is open most weekends. It is best to check with the Range Control Office as opening times are dependant on the Ministry of Defence timetable, and you don't want to be caught up in any crossfire!!!
Swanage as a family seaside holiday destination is hard to beat. With its European Blue Flag awarded beach set within a beautiful bay it is a perfect base for families looking for a traditional beside the seaside holiday or even for those more adventurous looking to take part in water sports, scuba diving, fishing and of course every Little Trekkers favourite seaside past time – crabbing!
The Swanage Carnival Week takes place for a week in July/August and is full of activities, sports, dance, music, competitions to keep everyone happy and always ends with a spectacular fireworks display.
A Stone's Throw Away
- Lulworth Cove - on the Jurassic Coast, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Durdle Door - the internationally recognised , natural limestone archway into the sea on the Jurassic Coast.
- Poole Harbour - one of the world's largest natural harbours and home to renowned nature reserves.
- Weymouth - popular seaside town and sailing haven.
Landranger Maps 194 and 195