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10 Free Things to do in Dorset

Posted on 20th May 2024 by Melissa Hawkins
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If you are planning your holiday to Dorset, why not consider some of these free days out in Swanage?

1.  Durlston Country Park

Top 10 Free Things To Do in Swange Dorset Holiday Cottages

A wonderful day out.  You can walk from Swanage town, through the downs and onto Durlston Country Park.  The kids will love exploring the woodland walks and the natural beauty of the park.  The park affords panoramic views of Swanage Bay and the Jurassic Coast, if you are lucky you will spot a dolphin.  The park is proudly free to enter, though for a small charge you can enjoy wildlife activity days put on by the Durlston Rangers.  Cafe and castle on site.


2.  Old Harry Rocks

swanage free days out

Explore Old Harry Rocks from the sea by kayak or walk across the Purbeck Hills to marvel at this geo feature.  These beautiful chalk stacks can be seen from either Swanage or Studland.

3. Swanage Heritage Centre

Top 10 Free Things To Do in Swange Dorset Holiday Cottages

The history of Swanage dates back to pre-historic times.  From its origins as an important port right through to its modern resort status, the Heritage Centre explores the fascinating history of the town.

4. Swanage Beach

Top 10 Free Things To Do in Swange Dorset Holiday Cottages

A glorious day by the sea, build sandcastles, swim, sunbathe and relax – all for free!  Swanage beach has blue flag status and is a shallow natural Bay.


5.  Swanage Pier

swanage pier

Take a stroll along the beautifully restored Victorian Pier and enjoy views across the Bay and to Old Harry Rocks.  Donation appreciated.  There is a lovely café on the Pier (booking essential). Swanage Pier is a popular site for divers and fishermen.

6.  Walk from Swanage to Studland

swanage walks

A good long walk from Swanage to Studland, takes in Swanage Bay, Old Harry Rocks, the Purbeck Valley and Studland Beach.  Enjoy a good lunch at The Bankes Arms and walk back!


7. Swanage Events

free events in swanage

Swanage is famous for its long list of regular free events.  From the Blues Festival in March to the Folk Festival in September, enjoy entertainment in Swanage at no charge.


8.  Swanage Carnival (22-29th July ish)

swanage carnival

Special mention to the South’s largest carnival.  Volunteers run a week long array of free events for charity, which include, wheelbarrow race, 2 hours long carnival parade, air displays and fireworks.  Over 70 events can be found at www.swanagecarnival.com


9.  Artisans On The Beach Swanage

Top 10 Free Things To Do in Swange Dorset Holiday Cottages

At Christmas time (when the beach huts are not so popular), artists and craftspeople descent upon Swanage and display their wares in beachfront shops.  Come along and enjoy the festive vibe.

10.  Walk the Purbeck Ridgeway

walking short breaks

From Ulwell in Swanage, ascend the Purbeck Hills and enjoy an approx. four mile walk to Corfe Castle.  Along the way you can enjoy the mesmerising views of Studland, Brownsea Harbour and the Purbeck Valley.