Swanage, Purbeck and the Jurassic Coast
The Mount is surrounded by some of the most stunning countryside in the UK. Purbeck is the most diverse region in the country in terms of habitat, featuring dramatic coastline, unspoilt heathland, high chalk ridges and wooded valleys. The hills are home to wild deer, rare butterflies and orchids and all of Britain's reptile species, the cliffs shelter puffins and peregrine falcons, while you can find seahorses, lobsters, anenomes and the occasional seal among the colourful seaweeds and shipwrecks.
Swanage marks the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site full of geological wonders such as the sea stacks of Old Harry Rocks and the sea arch of Durdle Door.
There are local walks to Durlston Castle and Anvil Point Lighthouse, continuing on the Southwest Coast Path to Dancing Ledge, Winspit, Chapman's Pool and beyond. You can also experience the cliffs by kayaking, climbing or coasteering through local companies such as Land & Wave (01929 423031).
By steam train
Swanage Railway (01929 425800) runs heritage steam and diesel services to Corfe Castle and the quarrying museum at Norden. There are special events and galas during the year. Trains linking up with main line at Wareham ran for the first time in summer 2017 and a more regular service will operate at some point in the future.
In summer, CityCruisesPoole (020 77 400 400) runs a ferry service from Swanage Pier to Poole Quay past Old Harry Rocks and into Poole Harbour. Check website for sailing times.
Moonfleet of Swanage (01929 289019) is a beautiful 1930s gaft cutter that runs sailing trips to Old Harry Rocks, Studland, Chapman's Pool and even the Isle of Wight. Take a picnic and learn how to sail a classic tall ship.
From May to September the no 5 hopper service runs between Swanage and Durlston Castle and stops outside the gate on request.
The More bus company runs two very pictureseque Purbeck Breezer routes. The open-top 50 goes via the Studland chain ferry and Sandbanks to central Bournemouth and Bournemouth rail station. The 40 goes via Corfe Castle and Wareham (and Wareham rail station) to Poole.
In high summer the X43 runs from Swanage along the Jurassic Coast to Lulworth and Weymouth.