Another striking section of Dorset’s majestic Jurassic Coast, the Isle of Purbeck is a wonderful sight on a clear day with views across Brownsea Island all the way around to Swanage further around the coast. You can cast your eye across the water from nearby Sandbanks or further towards Bournemouth. But for a closer look at this pretty corner of the county you have a few options. Take the car or train inland and via Wareham to enjoy delightful Purbeck towns and villages like Corfe Castle and Langton Matravers and beaches including Studland with its secluded dunes and the Jurassic Kimmeridge Bay. You could take the faithful chain ferry across the water from Sandbanks straight into Studland and park yourself on the pretty beaches or follow the coast along by car, by bike or on foot. Or you could take a dedicated Purbeck Breezer bus on either of the two routes and hop off and on all the way through to Swanage as and when you feel the urge to explore. The Isle of Purbeck is some 60 square miles tucked away in the south eastern part of Dorset. Although it’s almost completely bounded by water on all sides it’s not an island in the true sense of the world, it’s more accurately a Peninsula, although it feels worlds apart from the ‘mainland’.
Rich in history and geology, the Isle of Purbeck is a must-see for anyone with an interest in nature, architecture and stunning views.
Not technically an Island, the Isle of Purbeck’s peninsula resides in Dorset, England and is bordered by marshy lands, steep cliffs and the English Channel.
Purbeck is made up of small villages, beautiful countryside and historical monuments to keep you busy for your entire stay. A large part of the district is considered an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and many of the ancient buildings are officially listed.
History may not be a subject to everyone’s taste, but who can deny the exciting stories of times gone by in this lively area.
Coastal regions have always gone through the worst from invading countries and the community of Purbeck have nutured and restored some absolutely fascinating artefacts throughout their history.
St Aldhelm’s Chapel is one of the more famous places to visit in Purbeck, built on a pre-christian conquest site by the Normans.
In 1957 the disputed use of this chapel was brought even more into question when the body of a 13th century woman was uncovered there. In 2000, St Aldhelm’s was declared a Scheduled Ancient Monument for visitors.
The town of Wareham sits within the Isle with the still-standing Saxon earth embankment wall. Enclosed within lies St Martins on the Walls Church, built in 1030 AD and still providing visitors with the opportunity to view some of the original paintings that rested within.
At the centre of the Isle you will find Corfe Castle, a place many tourists come to in the summer months. King Edward the Martyr was murdered in cold blood on the mound of the castle, or so it has been told, in 978 AD, although the current castle was not built here until after the conquest of 1066.
If the history does nothing to whet your appetite, then the Jurrassic coastline surely will. In the cliffs you can find clay, limestone, Purbeck marble and chalk, to name but a few. Most of England’s most revered cathedrals contain Purbeck marble inside as it was once a very sought after material.
The coastline is also home to many famous species of wild flowers that are not available elsewhere, such as the early spider orchid.
If after all these sites, you still have time in your visit, try one of the many museums in Purbeck, or the public aquarium. Not far from Purbeck sit the resorts of Swanage and Poole Harbour too.