What’s on in Swanage for Christmas 2021

In stark contrast to last year’s festive season, events are going ahead in 2021 to celebrate Christmas in Swanage and across Purbeck.

Back in November 2020 we were still in lockdown, with restrictions only lifting on Wednesday 2nd December 2020.


However there were still Covid measures in place throughout December and of course in a last minute government decision, large family gatherings on Christmas Day were effectively made impossible.

Beach huts during Artisans on the Beach event

Artisans on the Beach at Swanage’s beach huts

Festive celebrations are back!

This year, festive celebrations are back and while there is still caution by many, there’s lots more to do and see in Swanage and in the surrounding area.

Highlights include the Christmas lights switch on in Swanage, Rotary’s Christmas Market, Swanage Railway’s Steam and Lights service and Christmas carols at Swanage Bandstand with the Swanage Town Band.

Swanage Christmas tree lights

Christmas tree in Swanage’s town centre in 2020

November 2021

Saturday 27th

Christmas lights switch on in Swanage. Station Road will be partially closed for the event which will take place from 3 pm with the actual switching on of the Christmas lights at 4.30 pm. Any child wishing to be chosen to turn on the lights, needs to ask their parents to enter their name into a raffle from a stand outside the Post Office before 4 pm.

Swanage Railway Steam and Lights service. Festive lights and music experience on a one hour round trip on a train between Swanage and Norden train stations. Departures 5.15 pm and 7.15 pm on selected dates between Saturday 27th November to Friday 31st December 2021.

Swanage Railway festive luncheon service aboard the steam-hauled dining train. Departure from Swanage Station at 12.30 pm on selected dates between Saturday 27th November to Thursday 23rd December 2021.

Artisans on the Beach at Swanage Beach Huts along Shore Road with a grand opening at 12 noon. Local, unique hand-crafted items for sale on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Sunday 2nd January 2022.

Boilerhouse Gallery and Sandy Hills Arts Christmas open studios at Sandy Hill Lane in Corfe Castle. Mulled wine and handcrafted gift ideas. 10 am to 6 pm on Saturday 27th and 10am to 5 pm on Sunday 28th November 2021.

Christmas carols by the Rock Choir from 12 noon at The Blue Pool Nature Reserve and Tearooms at Furzebrook Road, Wareham BH20 5AR.

Visit Father Christmas in his grotto every weekend from Saturday 27th November to Sunday 19th December 2021 at The Blue Pool Nature Reserve and Tearooms at Furzebrook Road, Wareham BH20 5AR. Cost £9.50 per child including a free gift. No booking required.

Christmas Arts Exhibition by Art4Action from 10 am to 4 pm at Wareham Town Hall with Christmas carols from the Bovington Military Wives Choir.

Sunday 28th

Make your own Christmas decorations 11 am to 3 pm drop-in at Durlston Country Park in Swanage.

Santa's Sleigh

Santa visiting Swanage in 2020

December 2021

Wednesday 1st

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Santa’s sleigh will be in Swanage and the surrounding area between Wednesday 1st and Tuesday 14th, Corfe Castle on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th and Herston Yards Farm Campsite on Sunday 19th.

Twelve Days of Christmas family quest at Corfe Castle. Search for the shields hidden in the castle ruins and complete the activities on a special Christmas Castle children’s trail throughout December 2021.

Friday 3rd

Christmas with the Beatles show at The Mowlem. A tribute band, The Beatles for Sale performs the music of one of the greatest bands in history. Performance time 7.30 pm. Tickets £18.50.

Swanage Christmas Market

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Christmas Market in Swanage 2019

Saturday 4th

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary Christmas Market from 10 am to 4 pm along Station Road and Commercial Road. A seasonal variety of gifts, crafts, food and drink. It’s expected to be a busy day in Swanage, so people are advised to walk into town or take the bus, if they can.

Festive open day at The Loft Community Centre from 10 am to 4 pm with Christmas carols and mince pies. Have a look around the new town centre community centre at 17a Commercial Road in Swanage.

Design and make your own Christmas seed bomb at Durlston Country Park. Cost £1 per seed bomb.

Dorset 10K, half marathon, marathon, ultra and ultra plus trial courses along the Jurassic Coast and ending in Swanage. Organised by Endurance Life.

Purbeck Hills Christmas Tree Festival at St George’s Church in Langton Matravers until Monday 6th. A magical wander through individually decorated Christmas trees.

Percy the Park Keeper’s winter wander at Studland Bay. Children’s trail across the sand dunes and through the woodland to find Percy’s animal friends who are helping our rangers to complete their winter tasks. Pick up the £2 trail from the Knoll Beach office 10 am to 3 pm until Monday 3rd January 2022.

Storytelling and tours of Corfe Castle by the Lord of Misrule, who was chosen to oversee the fun and frivolity of the Christmas feast in the 17th century. Gather around a fire pit with a warm drink from the 17th century tearoom and toast some tasty marshmallows. All weekends in December with tours at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 1 pm and 2 pm.

Pull a Pine at RSPB Arne on Hyde’s Heath. Take home a pine tree for Christmas and visit the Christmas Fayre with live music, free Christmas crafting, refreshments, food and mulled cider. 10 am to 3.30 pm with last entry at 2.30 pm. Advance booking is essential as spaces are limited.

Purbeck artists and stallholders with local Christmas gifts and produce from 11 am to 4.30 pm at Worth Matravers Village Hall until Sunday 12th December 2021.

Purbeck Artists and Stallholders poster

Sunday 5th

Christmas carols by Wareham Town Band from 1 pm to 3 pm at The Blue Pool Nature Reserve and Tearooms at Furzebrook Road, Wareham BH20 5AR.

Friday 10th

Five Star Swing at Christmas show at The Mowlem in Swanage. Featuring Simone from the Ivy Benson Orchestra, and Chris Smith jnr composer and arranger for the BBC Radio Big Band, Herb Miller Big Band (Glenn’s brother), plus Tony Bennett’s trombonist! Performance time 7.30 pm. Tickets £17.

Christmas quiz at 7 pm at Corfe Castle Community Library.

Saturday 11th

Christmas at Hartland from 2 pm to 10 pm at Hartland Stud on Soldiers Lane near Wareham BH20 5DU. Hot food, mulled cider, live music and artisan gifts.

Wednesday 15th

Swanage Town Band at Swanage Bandstand. Sing carols and enjoy seasonal music from 6.30 pm at the bandstand on the Recreation Ground.

Swanage Town Band poster

Saturday 18th

Rudolph’s reindeer roundup children’s trail at Durlston Country Park. Follow the paths to find Santa’s reindeer throughout the grounds from 10 am to 3 pm until 3rd January. Cost £3 and a prize at the finish.

The Snowman Live Score with The Cabinet of Living Cinema at Durlston Country Park. An interactive acoustic event with a mince pie on arrival. 3.30 pm to 5 pm.

Sunday 19th

Festive Family Fun Run at Durlston Country Park. Join the rangers for a 3K run and earn a festive treat! Christmas outfits are encouraged for this fun run, jog, walk, plod or preamble for all ages. Registration from 9.15 am for a 10 am start. Booking highly advisable. Cost £3 per person with under 5s free.

Tuesday 21st

Winter Solstice at Studland. Join the National Trust rangers for a morning walk from 7 am to 10 am to view the sunrise from Old Harry Rocks on the shortest day of the year followed by a full English breakfast at Knoll Beach Cafe. Booking is essential. Cost £22 for adults and £15 for children.

Thursday 30th

Christmas rocket launch 11 am at Durlston Country Park. Design and build your own Christmas rocket, then launch it into the sky! Cost £3 Booking advised.

Steam and Lights train at Swanage Railway Station

Swanage Railway Station all lit up for Christmas in 2020

More events

If anyone wishes their Christmas event to be added to the list, they can email the details to info@swanage.news

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