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Before going to London for the Olympic Games, we stopped by Bournemoth in the south of England to visit V.

The Purbeck Breezer is a bus service that runs from Bournemouth to Swanage, a seaside town on the southern coast. The Breezer is operated with a fleet of double decker buses some of which have an open top. We first saw the Breezer (No. 50) when we arrived at Bournemouth’s main bus station by National Express after we landed at Heathrow airport.

We and V, the three of us caught the bus at Westbourne and sat on the top deck. The bus winded its way through the leafy suburbs of Bournemouth (the top deck hitting and snapping a few tree branches along the way) to Sandbanks. According to Wikipedia, Sandbanks has the highest concentration of expensive real properties in the UK outside London and the beaches there are the best in the UK.

Geographically, Sandbanks is a small peninsula of 0.4 sq miles that lies at the mouth of Poole Harbour on the English Channel coast at Poole in Dorset. Sandbanks is connected to Studland by a chain ferry, the Sandbanks Ferry, which runs across the mouth of the harbour. It avoids a 25 mile loop around Poole harbour to reach Studland.

The channel used by leisure boats and ferries to France is generally very busy.

It was fun to cross the channel sitting on top of an open-top double decker bus while sailboats cut across swiftly. A sandy beach and nature reserve awaited on the other side.

Studland heath behind the beaches and the cliffs.

This was the best part of the ride – the bus was going quite fast as there was little traffic, it was breezy, and being high up on the bus, we could see the open fields beyond the fence or hedge.

Including the wait for the Sandbanks Ferry, we reached Swanage after about 30 minutes. Swanage is a seaside resort with a sandy beach and a large number of hotels. In the past, it was a fishing village and then a quarrying port – marble from the area were used to build many churches in London in the 1700’s.

It was a summer day with some clouds which were welcomed as we did not want to be fried. We did not go into the water but noticed that it was low tide. This man was standing in shallow water although he was quite far from the beach.

The main part of town is just behind the beach.

Looking back across the beach towards the edge of the town. Swanage is the easternmost entry point to the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site which consists of cliffs and landforms documenting millions of years of geological history.  I would love to do some hiking in this site on the Southwest coast path.

We strolled along the beach and came across a traditional British seaside attraction – Punch and Judy  – a puppet show for kids.

It was lunch time when we arrived – so we went around looking for a Fish and Chip shop – and luckily found a table on the second floor of The Parade.

The Fish Plaice was located just around the corner but it was so crowded that we did not even bother to try.

After lunch we strolled through the small town center, and checked out some souvenir shops.

By chance, we came across a restored train station for steam trains which run between Swanage and Wareham. We will do a post on our antique train ride through the Isle of Purbeck – as this area is known in Dorset.

We highly recommend any one staying in Bournemouth to visit Swanage via the Purbeck Breezer (route details are here).


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