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Holiday cottages in South East Dorset

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The Isle of Purbeck is tucked away in South East Dorset, and almost surrounded by water. Right in the middle of this area, between Wareham and Swanage, is Corfe Castle. Towering dramatically over the little village of Corfe, the castle is over 1000 years old and has suffered a turbulent history. Now owned by the National Trust, Corfe Castle has a visitor's information centre where you can find out more about the lives and deaths of its residents through the ages. Climb up to the ramparts of the castle and you'll enjoy wonderful views of the Purbeck countryside and coast.

The Swanage Railway is a good way to get around this part of Dorset. The steam train runs from Norden where there's a 'park and ride' facility for car owners, stops off at Corfe Castle and ends up at Swanage on the coast. You can take in beautiful views on the way, and if you fancy a bit of luxury travel then book a seat in one of the dining trains where you can enjoy wine and a meal as you watch the sun set over the Purbeck countryside.

Swanage is another of Dorset's pleasant coastal towns, lying at the foot of the Purbeck Hills. It has a gently shelving sandy beach which is clean and safe; it has won several blue flag awards and the 'Tidy Britain' Seaside award. The bay here is a popular spot for watersports, and you can sign up for lessons in scuba diving or waterskiing. In the summer months, there are also lots of pleasure cruises setting off from the Stone Quay. Swanage also has an interesting history, with literary connections including Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton.

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