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Explore the waters around Swanage Pier

Posted by Katy Peck on 15 October 2019
Related property: Langton House
Explore the waters around Swanage Pier

The iconic Swanage Pier is just a 10-minute drive (or 25 minutes by bus) from Langton House, and has something for everyone to discover. There’s a charming gift shop, a cosy café and even an interesting exhibition space, where you can learn all about this 190-year-old structure.

However, for many people, the highlight of Swanage Pier is the water surrounding it. Every year, thousands of people come to admire this spectacular coastline and the life that fills Dorset's thriving seas. Whether you’re planning on diving, fishing or sailing, Swanage is just the place for a day of fresh sea air and maritime explorations.

Scuba Diving

Are you interested in trying scuba diving during your break? Swanage pier is a popular choice for both new and qualified divers, thanks to its sheltered waters and interesting sites. An area adjacent to the pier has been sectioned off for learner divers and, with a depth of just 5m, it’s a fantastic place to give this exciting sport a try.

Britain’s oldest dive school, Divers Down (founded 1958), has a shop on the pier itself, which is open 7 days a week, March to October. Here divers can join dives, hire equipment, charter boats and fill up with air and nitrox. They also run accompanied dives and a selection of courses, including speciality courses and a ‘Discover Scuba’ experience in the safe waters under the pier.

The Pier itself is home to copious amounts of sea life, attracted by the confines of the wooden framework. Take a dive into the depths and you can spot sand eels, edible crabs, spider crabs, lobsters, tompot blenny, cuttlefish and pollock... and that's just the start! (You can also view all of these by paying a visit to the marine aquarium in the exhibition space, which is stocked directly from beneath the pier).

There are also numerous wrecks in the local area which are open to divers, and only a short boat ride from the famous pier. These include:

  • Kyranna – A British steamer which was torpedoed by UB-57 in May 1918. It's one of the most dived wrecks in the UK. (30 metres depth)

  • Carantan – A French warship which capsized on the 21st December 1943. (30 metres depth)

  • Firth Fisher – Also known as Castlereagh, this British Cargo Ship sank in 1925 and now sits upright on the seabed. (37 metres depth)

  • Valentine Tanks – Two tanks which sank whilst practicing for the D-Day Landings. (16 metres depth)


If you’re looking for a less taxing way to enjoy the water, why not head to the end of the Pier for a spot of fishing? There are few things more relaxing than sitting and enjoying the sounds of the pier and the lovely view of the Isle of Wight as you wait for something to bite. It’s possible to catch Wrasse, Pollock, Dogfish, Mackerel, Garfish and Pout from the pier, while children can enjoy crabbing off the side. Fishing rates are around £4.50 per adult and £1.50 for children.

The key to success at Swanage is to fish close to the pier itself and to use small hooks. Float fishing is also a popular choice here, especially with worms and mackerel as bait. Just make sure to keep an eye out for the divers!

Swanage Anglers have recently installed special ‘Fishing line bins’ for anglers to throw away their unwanted line, which can otherwise injure local wildlife and take over 600 years to degrade.

Boat trips

Take a trip on the waves with one of the regular boat trips which travel to and from Swanage Pier between April and October. You could enjoy a full-day cruise which takes you along the famous Jurassic Coast, or just nip out on a shorter journey to admire the magnificent Old Harry Rocks. It's a wonderful way to enjoy the bracing coastal breezes, admire the spectacular scenery and experience Dorset from an entirely new perspective.

Passenger boats are operated by City Cruises, who have some lovely boats with a range of facilities, including large open desks, indoor lounges and bars serving a range of drinks. You can book your cruise in advance using their website, or by visiting the blue and white kiosk at the entrance of the Pier on the day.

Of course, this is just the start of things to enjoy on and around Swanage Pier. For a £1.50 donation, visitors are welcome to stroll along it's historic length and admire the beautiful sea views. It's also well-worth taking the time to read the many plaques that decorate the walkway, dedicating individual planks to loved ones and local groups. Once you've had enough sea air, why not pop into the local cafe and enjoy a delicious teacake and a cup of tea or coffee?

Swanage is a lovely example of a traditional seaside town, and a must-visit while enjoying a break at Langton House.

To find out more about how you can enjoy a break in this magnificent part of the UK, as well as many other locations here and abroad, click here.

Katy Peck

Katy Peck

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