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Discover the best camping near Swanage, Dorset

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Camping near Swanage

A gateway to Dorset’s Jurassic Coast and a seaside resort with beach huts and all, Swanage is a great place for camping and glamping. Situated on the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck it offers ferries across Poole Harbour, steam trains to idyllic Corfe Castle and is close to the very start of the South West Coast Path. Whether you’re heading to Dorset for sightseeing, walking or water-based fun, Swanage makes a convenient base camp and there are plenty of great camping and glamping sites in the area. We’ve picked the best of them to feature in the Hipcamp collection.

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Camping and glamping in Swanage

Camping or glamping in Swanage gives you a little taste of everything that’s great about Dorset. It’s got a great beach with all the amenities you could wish for on a seaside holiday and connects to some of the county’s most popular hot spots. From here, you can take a ferry across Poole Harbour, hop on a heritage steam train to Corfe Castle and walk around the coast to see dramatic rock formations. And if our endorsement isn’t enough for you, listen to the experts: it’s got a Blue Flag beach, a UNESCO-protected coastline and falls within an area that’s been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. All in all, Swanage and its surroundings come highly recommended and, as much of its attraction lies in the great outdoors, you can’t beat camping or glamping as a way to stay in the area. Some of the Hipcamp team’s favourite campsites are in this part of Dorset and with a great range of sites, there’s something to suit every type of camper whether you want to pitch your own tent on a classic campsite, stay in a bell tent, yurt or tipi that someone’s put up for you or go full-on glamping in a luxury shepherd’s hut, cabin or treehouse.

Things to do in Swanage

You won’t run out of things to do in Swanage during a camping or glamping holiday. Apart from the usual campsite fun of games and barbecues, campfires and stargazing, Swanage offers all the fun of the fair on the seafront. The golden sands of its Blue Flag beach offer sandcastle building and safe swimming. There are deckchairs, sunbeds, beach huts, paddleboards and kayaks for hire and the beach is backed by amusements, cafes and ice cream kiosks. You can stroll along the boardwalks of the pier and watch the boats heading in to Poole Harbour. The town has plenty of shops for replenishing campsite supplies or picking up picnic bits and, to find out more about its history, you can visit the Swanage Museum. The town is also home to the historic Swanage Railway station. Hop aboard one of their steam trains to travel through the Dorset countryside to Corfe Castle and beyond. The Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry might be the way you arrive in Purbeck as it’ll save you 25 miles on the roads by whisking you across the mouth of Poole Harbour – but it also means that Poole and Bournemouth are brought within day-tripping reach of Swanage (the ferry departures are a few miles north of the town). Conversely Swanage is recognised as the gateway to the Purbeck peninsula and this is where Dorset’s wilder beauty really begins. Head north to visit RSPB Arne for wildlife watching or to Studland where you can see Old Harry Rocks and set out on the beginning of the 630-mile South West Coast Path. Head south to explore Durlston Country Park and continue west to discover Worth Matravers and the wild swimming hot spot at Dancing Ledge. Beyond this there’s Kimmeridge Bay for fossils and some of Dorset’s best-known stretches of coast at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. If that’s not quite enough inspiration for your camping holiday in Swanage, you can always check out the Visit Dorset website for more.

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Whether it's catching crabs from Swanage Pier or riding the steam train out to Corfe Castle, enjoy the delights of a Swanage camping holiday with this collection of hand-picked campsite recommendations from the experts at Hipcamp.

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