What’s reopening in Swanage as Covid restrictions ease?

From Monday 17th May 2021, there are changes to the Covid lockdown rules across the country which will give a significant boost to tourism in Swanage.

Primarily for Swanage, hotels and B and Bs can reopen which will see an increase in visitors. The newly refurbished Grand Hotel, the Pines Hotel and the Purbeck House Hotel in Swanage are all opening their doors to guests.


Up to now, tourists could only stay in self contained accommodation that didn’t share facilities. While most holiday cottages could take guests, it meant that many flats couldn’t be rented out. However this rule has now gone, opening up all holiday accommodation in the town to visitors.

Outside of Purbeck House Hotel

Purbeck House Hotel in the High Street, Swanage

Overnight stays are now allowed

Overnight stays are now allowed with people not in your household or bubble, so friends and family will be able to visit. The rules on social distancing between friends and family has been updated meaning that hugs are allowed but people are reminded that the risks still remain.

People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors (increased from six) and now six people or two households are allowed to meet indoors.

Exterior of the Red Lion pub

At the Red Lion, customers will now be allowed indoors as well as in the pub garden

Indoor hospitality now allowed

Tourists and residents in Swanage will no longer need to huddle on the seafront with takeaways, as pubs, cafes and restaurants are now allowed to seat customers indoors.

However Covid-secure measures remain in place.

Exterior view of the Mowlem entrance

The Mowlem is the theatre and cinema in the heart of Swanage

The Mowlem is not reopening at the moment

Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres and cinemas can open, however in Swanage, The Mowlem theatre is choosing not to reopen at the moment. On its website it says:

“We are not certain of a reopening date but are hopeful it will be this summer. Details of our reopening will be on our website, Facebook, and Instagram, together with our mailing list. Subscribers will be notified of the opening date and our programme.

“As ever funds are limited whilst we are closed and any donations are very appreciated. Thank you for your continued support.”

Inside Swanage Pier museum
Swanage Pier

Inside Swanage Pier’s museum and learning centre

Swanage Pier museum is reopening

The Swanage Museum is also delaying its reopening so that it can complete its refurbishment, however the museum and learning centre on Swanage Pier is opening.

The grounds of Durlston Country Park have remained open throughout lockdown and the shop was able to open on Monday 12th May 2021 along with the outside tables at the Seventh Wave restaurant but now the indoor seating area will be open to diners.

The Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle is also reopening with a new exhibition called the Woodland Clan featuring the original artwork of the children’s book by Annie Herridge and Mark Page.

Further afield, The Tank Museum in Bovington is opening but visitors need to prebook tickets, as numbers are still limited.

Performances and large events can restart, with limits on audience numbers, as can adult indoor group sports and exercise classes.

Up to 30 people can attend weddings and more than 30 can attend funerals (if the venue can accommodate this safely)

The exterior of The Swanage School

The Swanage School

Hands, face, space and fresh air still applies

In schools, face coverings are no longer recommended for pupils in secondary schools, although some are still asking students to wear masks when they are not in classrooms.

Holidays abroad to green list countries are allowed but the list is very limited and the rules on Covid testing mean that most people are still expected to holiday at home this year, making seaside towns like Swanage very popular.

Overall the guidance is to remain cautious and the advice on hands, face, space and fresh air still applies.

Next date for more lifting of restrictions

The date for further easing of lockdown restrictions is 21st June 2021, when it’s hoped at all legal limits on social contact will be removed, including social distancing.

This will mean that hospitality venues will be able to have more people seated indoors. Also, this is the date that nightclubs may be able to reopen.

However with the Indian Covid-19 variant now spreading in some parts of England, the government is urging everyone to act cautiously and has warned that this date is by no means certain.

Further information

Full guidance is on the UK government’s website

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