Eating out

Recommended places to eat in Swanage – most currently open for summer 2020 

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

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

SeventhWave at Durlston Castle, 01929 421111 text 07429 616045 OPEN

Open 9.30am-5pm every day plus 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 OPEN

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. OPEN

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

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

Great spot to sit and watch all the comings and goings in the bay. Open everyday for breakfast, sandwiches, cakes, burgers and daily specials. They can accommodate large groups (booking advisable). Dogs welcome. Extra outdoor seating for summer 2020. (Currently open 9am to 4pm)

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

Enjoy a hot chocolate, coffee from Dorset-based Beanpress coffee roasters, Dorset Tea, their new Chococo Gelato, cakes, soup, freshly made toasties or savoury scones all handmade in their bakery opposite. Funky cafe with some outdoor seating, tucked away in the lanes behind Station Road. (Currently open seven days a week 9.30am-5pm Mondays to Saturday and 10am-4pm Sunday)

Java Independent Coffee House Tilly Mead, Commercial Road, Swanage BH19 1DF  OPEN

A small café with some outside seats in the Tilly Mead courtyard, serving fresh roasted coffee and delicious homemade scones, soup and cakes. Veggie and vegan a speciality. Head down the alley next to the library, or the alley next to Martins News to find it. Dogs welcome. Outdoor seating available and currently open early closing at 3.30pm

Cauldron Bistro 5 High Street, Swanage BH19 2LN, 01929 422671 CLOSED

This intimate restaurant is a bit of a Swanage institution. The emphasis is on fish, seafood and seasonal meat served with classic sauces, plus great desserts. Phone for opening hours.  (Sadly closed for rest of 2020)

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

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 High Street, Swanage near the pier OPEN

Seafood restaurant just opened, so cannot recommend personally, but our first guests of 2020 really enjoyed their takeaway oysters! Sorry cannot find any website or phone number as yet.

Further afield

 

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

Delicious and 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, from 12noon-6pm 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 OPEN

Great seasonal local menu and a Caribbean jerk shack in summer. Fabulous views of Corfe Castle from the garden. Catch the number 40 bus there for lunch, 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. (Currently open 12-9pm and serving its usual great food. The pub's own JerkShak is also now open Saturday and Sunday)

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

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. (Currently car parks are packed and overflowing and the queue for the ferry can be backed up, so parking and riding the ferry probably not a good idea during the high season)

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

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 the local Hattie Brown's Brewery beers is now called Dog on the Roof). Good selection of real ales and ciders, food-wise it's a simple choice between meat pasty or vegetarian pie – both delicious. 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. (Currently outdoor seating only, but plenty of it and all with views to the sea, with service at two of the pub windows. 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.

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

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 OPEN 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.