The Swanage Railway

I seem to have this memory from being a child under 8 years old of visiting the Swanage Railway and finding the steam trains there kind of magical.

I travel on trains quite a lot – living in Ascot where no one else lives, you have to travel to see your friends – so you wouldn’t think rail travel would be that special to me.

Well, you’d be wrong.

At the end of March, I visited Dorset for Easter and my sister’s Hen Party and wedding (which were all fantastic!). These events meant that I was in Dorset for the better part of eleven days, which felt like my longest bout of freedom for a very long time. I therefore needed something to fill my time in between those exciting events and my memories of steam engines in the Dorset countryside came to mind.

Something I hadn’t realised until recently is that you can get the steam train from Swanage to Corfe Castle and back, which provides an excellent platform for a day out.

Having done this trip now as a twentysomething, I have to say I can’t recommend it enough. We parked in Swanage and walked over to the train station, just in time to catch the 11:20 train over to Corfe Castle. We went right to the front of the train and found these awesome Hogwarts-style compartments which we sat in, undisturbed by anyone other than the ticket officer (and not a Dementor in sight).


At Corfe Castle station there is a museum which is pretty cool and retro; definitely worth a look, even if it’s just for 5 minutes while you wait for a train. The castle itself is a short walk from the station and, as a member of the National Trust, entry was free which is a huge bonus for a day out.

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There are some incredible views of the surrounding area, including a good viewpoint to watch the steam train chug off into the distance. For children, as with all National Trust properties, there is loads to do, including a little treasure hunt with facts about the castle. For adults, it’s fun to explore and on a beautiful day, like we had, there is so much to see. We’re total history geeks, but I think non-history geeks would have a great time too.

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There are quite a few places to eat in Corfe Castle, or you can head back to Swanage to spend more of your day exploring the town and enjoying the beach there. Instead, we took the ferry over from the Purbecks to Poole and went to the Kitchen at Poole Park for a late lunch which was totally delicious.

All in all it was a perfect day out and I can’t wait for my next visit so I can explore more of my childhood memories on the Jurassic Coast.


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