This might surprise a few readers. Yes, I agree, there are a lot of other incredible places to visit in the UK. In fact, Swanage rarely features in any travel books and is never described as a prime holiday destination – except maybe in the climbing community. Still, I still stand by what I say – if I had to pick my favourite place in the UK for a weekend getaway, it would be this little sleepy coastal town. And for good reasons.
Swanage is located on the southern coast of the UK, between Poole and Weymouth. It’s a short two and half hour drive from Chiswick, which allows us to go there straight after work on Friday evenings. During our first few trips, we camped at the California Barn, a quiet campsite that sometimes hosts weddings and other social gatherings. For our last few trips, we’ve opted for discreet, wild camping – but hush! No one knows 🙂
Our main activity in Swanage is, of course, rock climbing. The area has a multitude of crags for both sports and trad climbing and accommodates all levels: in fact, the UK’s only grade 1 and 2 climbing routes are in Swanage! For those of us who don’t climb, the coastal path is perfect for hillwalking, trail running, and even berry picking!
Dancing ledge, in Langton Matravers is a good spot for beginner as well as more technical climbing. It has a relatively easy access to the sea, as well as a natural pool when the tide is low! Other good spots Hedburry, Winspit Qarry (no access to the sea), and Subliminal (only accessible through rappel and mostly trad climbing).
On the way back, we always stop at The Scotts Arms, a cozy gastro-pub just outside Swanage, for a well-deserved burger and a view on Corfe Castle ruins. For those who do not want to camp, The Scotts Arms also has rooms to rent out, and is close enough to the surrounding beaches.