The Charming Café on the Pier in Swanage

UK Hotels and Reviews
The Charming Café on the Pier in Swanage

Sometimes during my wanderings around the UK, I find a real gem and the 1859 Pier Café and Bistro is definitely one for the jewellery box.

This delightful little 1859 Pier Café and Bistro occupies the Marine Villas on the restored Victorian pier at the far end of the seafront of Swanage in Dorset. It shares the buildings with a small exhibition detailing some of the history of Swanage and the pier. There are also tables in a conservatory with views of the Jurassic Coast and outside on the pier.

COVID-19 Safeguards at the 1859 Pier Café and Bistro

On arrival at the café, patrons are requested to sanitise their hands (gel provided) and wait outside until invited inside. I had reserved a table so I only had to wait until I was next in the queue before being taken to my table in the conservatory. This café is the first place I have eaten during lockdown where screens have been placed between the tables. It felt very safe. And I felt very welcome as, despite the face mask, I could appreciate the warmth of my young waitress’s smile. I removed my face mask and relaxed. I felt I could take my time perusing the menu, enjoying the ambiance, and chatting to the friendly staff.
The Conservatory at the 1859 Pier Café and Bistro

Food and Drink at the 1859 Pier Café and Bistro

I had already walked through the town of Swanage and was intending to walk to Durleston Park a short distance along the coast. The Pier Café is ideally placed at the start of this walk and coffee and cake the perfect refreshment. I was in Dorset so a slice of Dorset Apple Cake was the best option. My waitress agreed with me and suggested I take it warm with clotted cream or vanilla ice cream. I had it warm with vanilla ice cream and it was delicious. And lived up to its promise of good home-cooking with a hint of spice. My coffee was excellent – so the café also ranks very highly on my list of best places for a good coffee. I have spent many years working in Italy so when it comes to coffee I am very hard to please.
Dorset Apple Cake at the 1859 Pier Café and Bistro

My coffee break at the Pier Café was a very happy experience and so was my visit to Swanage. I will certainly be re-visiting both places.

Valery Collins is the Experienced Traveller
Valery Collins the Experienced Traveller An excellent raconteur, Valery has been writing about her experiences on the road since she started travelling 25 years ago. After publishing 4 books she turned to online travel writing and photography. Today she is editor, features’ writer and reviewer for and regularly contributes guided city walks to