About Swanage

The best way to arrive in Swanage is by train. In a fashion similar to that of the 'Hogwort's Express' described in J.K Rowling's 'Harry Potter' books, you can travel on a magical steam train journey from the stone built village of Corfe Castle, through rolling Dorset Hills to Swanage Bay with its' golden beaches and sparkling sea.

The town gets it's first mention in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle of 877, as being the scene of a great naval victory by King Alfred over the Danes. Swanic, Swanwich, or as it is known today, Swanage, has many pockets of historical interest, and it's quirky links with London throughout some of its history have often caused it to be referred to as 'Little London'.

In the heart of the town lies the ancient Mill House and Pond, very close to the Red Lion pub. The High Street in Swanage, where the pub is located, runs for about a mile from the quarryman's settlement of Herston along a narrow belt of Purbeck stone down to Peveril, where the Romans first carved the stone into monuments. It is at this site that the Wellington 'clock' tower stands, and there is a mock Roman amphitheatre (the tower used to be at the southern end of London Bridge).

The town centre consists of two main roads, Station Road, and the High Street. Both have a certain charm, far cry from the humdrum shopping experiences of nearby Bournemouth, or Poole. The beaches, of which Swanage is proud, again offer a different amenity than Bournemouth. Here, they are more family orientated, with superb swimming conditions. If you prefer more peaceful surroundings, you can walk along to the northern end of the bay where it is much quieter. There is a certain air in Swanage of being somewhere where you can completely relax, and where time seems to pass more slowly. However, if it's excitement you're after, then there's something going on all the time with Carnival Week, the Folk and Jazz Festivals, and much much more besides.

To the South of Swanage is Durlston Country Park, approximately 260 acres of beautiful open space and clifftops. The 'Dolphin Watch' Hut stands above cliffs where many different varieties of seabird can be spotted such as kittiwakes and guillemots, including my favourite, puffins!

Heading North from Swanage, you have the majesty of Ballard Down. The Eastern edge of the ridge takes you to Handfast Point, and the famous stacks and stumps of Old Harry Rocks. Head along the ridge Westwards, and you will reach The Obelisk, and Ulwell village. The views are spectacular, across Bournemouth Bay as far as Hengistbury Head, and beyond as far as Hurst Castle on a good day, and further, all the way round to St Catherines Point, the southernmost tip of the Isle of Wight. Looking North and Westwards across the Studland Peninsular you are rewarded with an impressive view at any time of year, past the picturesque village of Studland with its Norman belltower and marvellous coastline across to the rolling Dorset Hills that seem to go on for ever.

Continue your walk Westwards, along the ridge down to Ulwell, and up the other side, you will eventually find yourself at the ancient monument of Nine Barrow Down, where you can pause for a look around before heading down into Corfe with lovely views of the village and castle. At Corfe, a wander around this lovely village, where a cup of tea or lunch, may be had, before leaping back on the 'Hogwort's Express' for the 'travel back in time' that is the journey by steam back to Swanage.

At the Red lion, one of the finest pubs in Swanage, we look forward to welcoming you for a refreshing drink, and hope that you will visit our newly refurbished restaurant for a meal.