Eating out

Recommended places to eat in Swanage – please check their sites or call for latest opening hours

The Salt Pig Too 7a Station Road, Swanage, BH19 1AB, 01929 423616

Café restaurant (butcher and fishmonger) using local produce. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus tasty quiche and pie and mash takeaways. Great roasts. 

SeventhWave at Durlston Castle, 01929 421111 text 07429 616045 

Open every day plus some evenings in the higher season. Great views from the terrace. Nice spot for lunch or tea and cake after a walk around the dramatic cliffs of Durlston. The castle is a 10-15 minute stroll through woodland. Can accommodate large groups (booking advisable). Dogs welcome. 

Love Cake 42 High Street, Swanage BH19 2NX, 01929 475664 

This café serves lovely breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas and is open for dinner some evenings. It has tables for two and four upstairs, but downstairs there is a larger room for groups (booking advisable). Dogs welcome.

The Black Swan, 159 High Street, Swanage BH19 2NE, 01929 423846 Opens 5.30pm. 

This chef-owned pub can accommodate larger groups (booking advisable) and offers good food with seasonal specials. Lovely garden.

The 1859 Pier Cafe and Bistro, Marine Villas, Pier Approach, BH19 2AW, 01929 500387  

Great spot to sit and watch all the comings and goings in the bay. Open everyday for breakfast, lunch, dinner, sandwiches, cakes, burgers and daily specials. They can accommodate large groups (booking advisable). Dogs welcome. Lots of outdoor seating.

Java Tilly Mead, Commercial Road, Swanage BH19 1DF  

A popular café which has recently hopped across the Tilly Mead courtyard to larger premises with tables indoors and outside. Veggie and vegan meals a speciality with  fresh roasted coffee and delicious homemade scones, soup and cakes. Head down the alley next to the library, or the alley next to Martins News to find it. Dogs welcome. Currently open for coffee all day, breakfast and lunch but not evening meals. Another firm favourite with our veggie family.

Chococo Chocolate House, 21C Commercial Road, Swanage, BH19 1DF, 01929 408288 

Enjoy a hot chocolate, coffee from Dorset-based Beanpress coffee roasters, Dorset Tea, their delicious Chococo Gelato, cakes, soup, freshly made toasties (including vegan cheese toasties) or savoury scones all handmade in their bakery opposite. Funky cafe with some outdoor seating, tucked away in the lanes behind Station Road. 

The Fish Plaice 14 The Square, Swanage BH19 2LJ, 01929 423668 

Great fish and chip takeaway. Eat on the quay or on the Downs overlooking the bay which gets the last of the day's sun. We recommend phoning ahead for large orders.

Pier Head on the seafront near Swanage Pier

Seafood restaurant. Our first guests of 2020 really enjoyed their takeaway oysters! But we have not tried it ourselves.

Further afield


The Pig on the Beach Manor Road, Studland BH19 3AU, 01929 450288 

Interesting menu sourcing local meat and fish, plus an extensive vegetarian menu from the kitchen garden, served in a charming conservatory dining room overlooking Studland Bay. Work up an appetitive with a walk over Ballard Down via Old Harry and catch the open-top 50 bus back to Swanage. (Currently open for lunch and dinner. Book well in advance. You will have better luck securing a table for lunch rather than dinner and, anyway, the views in the daylight are wonderful. There is also a wood oven outside for pizza, no booking required, eating outside on tables or the lawn. Seating for pizza is first come first served. Great if you're with younger children.

The Scott Arms West Street, Kingston BH20 5LH, 01929 480270 

Fabulous views of Corfe Castle from the garden. Catch the number 40 bus there, then walk down the footpath through woods and heathland to Corfe and catch the steam train back to Swanage. Large garden with lots of seating and a jerk shack in the summer. The Scott Arms has always been a firm favourite with our family, however, some recent food reviews have been negative so we hope to visit again soon and check it out. 

Rick Stein Sandbanks, 10-14 Banks Road, Poole, BH13 7QP, 01202 283000 

Seafood and harbour-side location. If the weather is good, leave your car in the National Trust car park by the chain ferry and head over to Sandbanks as a foot passenger, or go all the way from Swanage by bus – the 50 takes you over the ferry to the door, almost. 

The Square & Compass Worth Matravers BH19 3LF, 01929 439229 

Food-wise it's a simple choice between meat or vegan pasty or vegetarian pie (although the menu is expanding) – all delicious but this is a justly famous pub with lots of character, great views and coastal walks nearby. It boasts its own fossil museum and even a dog who sits on the roof (one of their strong ales is called Dog on the Roof). Good selection of real ales and ciders, If you're walking, the Priest's Way takes you directly there from Swanage, or you can take the more strenuous SW coast path from Durlston then head inland from Seacombe or Winspit. Cosy inside and lots of outdoor seating to take in the sea views. If no seats out front, head to the side garden and small chicken field beyond. Parking for the village is just a couple of hundred yards up the hill from the pub and costs £2.

The Salt Pig 6 North Street, Wareham BH20 4AF, 01929 550673 

Deli and café packed with local produce situated by the crossroads in this ancient market town. Take a walk along the Saxon walls (grass banks) or along the rivers, or take a boat trip from the Quay. The number 40 bus passes through the town. 

Worth Matravers Tea & Supper Room BH19 3LQ, 01929 439368 TAKEAWAY ONLY

Lunches, suppers and indulgent cream teas, run by Di who owns Purbeck Deli in Swanage, which is great for picnic supplies. (Currently takeaway from the window only. Enjoy your food next to the pretty duck pond opposite.) Parking for the village is just a couple of hundred yards up the hill from the Square & Compass pub.