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    Brownsea Island
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    Corfe Castle
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    Durdle Door

Sandbanks and the Dorset Coast

Dorset, UK

  • A plate with a knife and fork Half board

Enjoy the history and mystery of the Jurassic Coast

Immersed in the affluence and beauty of its surroundings, The Sandbanks Hotel is certainly a crowd-pleaser. Boats drift into Poole’s natural harbour and life seems to move at a more relaxed speed. During your stay, you will be treated to the delights of the Dorset Coast. 380 million years ago (give or take), the landscape was continually changing and inhabited by strange creatures only found in museums and fossilised in places like Lulworth Cove today. The cove is neighboured by Durdle Door, undoubtedly one of the region’s most iconic sights.

You are also invited to explore Brownsea Island to see its abundant wildlife. For literary genius, look no further than Corfe Castle, which captured the imagination of author Enid Blyton in 1941 when she took a trip on the Swanage steam train. You too can become captivated by these sites during your discovery of Dorset’s coast.


Bed4 nights in the hotel

Dinner plate8 meals: 4 breakfasts (B) and 4 dinners (D)

PersonDedicated Saga Host


  • Cancellation rights
  • Hosted drinks reception
  • Guided orientation walks
  • Tea and coffee-making facilities in your room
  • Free hotel Wi-Fi and safe
  • Porterage at your hotel

MapExcursions and visits

  • Swanage Railway and Corfe Castle (full day)
  • Brownsea Island (full day) (for departures from March 13-April 3 visit Beaulieu instead)
  • Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door with cream tea (full day)

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 Sandbanks

Sandbanks Hotel

Settle in to your hotel and join your host for a welcome drink before dinner. D

Day 2 Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Lulworth Cove on the Dorset coast

185 million years of natural history is evident along the Jurassic Coast. In this time creatures became fossilised and dramatic rock formations were erected, shaped and changed. Few sites display the coastline’s extensive past better than Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

Your coach journey to the two sites will wind through pretty scenery. At Lulworth Cove, keep your eyes peeled for fossils - perhaps an Ammonite within the rocky headland or a bullet-shaped ‘Belemnite’ within the pebbles on the shore. At Durdle Door, capture this iconic limestone archway on your camera, created by the erosion of less resilient rock. On calm days, boats pass through the door.

During your day, stop for a cream tea in a local venue, to reflect on the first day of your Stay and Discover experience. B, D

Day 3 Swanage and Corfe Castle

Steam train on the Swanage railway

It was the summer of 1941 and despite the ever-present headlines of war, author Enid Blyton stepped off a puffing locomotive at Corfe Castle. She, like so many visitors before and after, became captivated by the dramatic ruined Norman castle that occupied the hill above. It became fictionalised as Kirrin Castle in Five on a Treasure Island.

Today, you are invited to take a similar steam train journey along the Swanage Railway from the station sharing the same name as the route, to Corfe Castle. The station is located just outside of the castle’s surrounding village. B, D

Day 4 Brownsea Island

Beaulieu Palace House

Brownsea Island has quietly observed everything from the English Civil War to the formation of the Boy Scouts. Located just one kilometre from Sandbanks’ affluent shoreline, Brownsea Island was first recorded as a human settlement in the early ninth century.

Well before William the Conqueror was born, the island was home to a hermitage of monks who used the island for simple living and solitary prayer. Henry VIII recognised the island’s strategic position - located at the entrance to Poole Harbour - and built the fortification known as Branksea Castle, which still stands today.

During the English Civil War, Parliamentarian forces regularly stomped across the island and in 1908 Robert Baden-Powell used what he had learned in the military during his time in South Africa to establish the boy scouts. As you can tell, the island boasts an abundance of history, but its wildlife is equally impressive.

During your visit, look out for red squirrel and sika deer - introduced at the end of the 19th century from Japan. Spend a full day on the island before returning to your hotel. B, D

Please note that departures from March 13-April 3 will visit Beaulieu instead of Brownsea Island because the island is closed during this period.

Day 5 Farewell

Having enjoyed this remarkable area, check out of your hotel and return home. B

On day two you will be treated to views of Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. Both are spectacular natural sites, but we suggest impressing your fellow travellers by looking out for Man of War Beach, not quite so well known but impressive nonetheless.

Sandbanks Hotel (4Q)

This 4-star hotel has an excellent location beside the beach on the narrow strip of land that divides the Sandbanks peninsula from the mainland. The Sandbanks Peninsula is home to the most expensive stretch of coastal real estate in the world. Your hotel’s advantageous location means that you can admire views over the English Channel and the Isle of Wight on one side, and the islands of Poole Harbour on the other.

Your stay is on a halfboard basis, with meals served in the Seaview Restaurant. Breakfasts are buffet style while you'll enjoy three-course dinners from a contemporary British menu with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. You can also purchase afternoon tea, served every day between 3pm and 5.30pm. 

Other facilities at the hotel include a bar, a ten-metre indoor pool, gym and sauna. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout. There are 105 rooms at the hotel, with lift access to the first and second floors where Saga rooms have been allocated. Each room has a television, telephone, hairdryer and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Sandbanks and the Dorset Coast

Dorset, UK