Visiting Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door have always been high on my list of things to do and growing up only a few hours away, I wish I had visited sooner. Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are, in my opinion, some of the most dramatic and beautiful parts of England. Making up part of Dorset’s Jurassic coast they attract over 500,000 visitors every year, and it’s easy to see why. Having now visited this beautiful place countless times I’ve put together some must knows for the first time visitor.
Lulworth Cove is the closest village to Durdle Door, and worthy of a visit in itself. This small village is set around a beautiful natural cove and has retained all of it’s traditional English seaside charm. You could spend several days just pottering around this tiny village and soaking in the atmosphere, stopping for an English cream tea or a stick of rock and watching the world go by on the pebbly beach. But for the more adventurous amongst you there are a range of options.
See this dramatic coastline from a completely different perspective-the water! Jurassic Coast Activities will take you on a kayaking tour along Dorset’s World Heritage coastline under the supervision of local qualified guides, and you will even learn a thing or two about the geology of the place. Kayaks are the only things small enough to enter some of the caves and arches along the way, so you’ll get to escape the crowds and see the hidden places that you can’t access from land.
I want to ride my bicycle
Hire a bike and pick one of the many cycle routes and trails provided by the hire company. There are a range of different levels to choose from and views around every corner. You can cycle to some of the local attractions such as the Sealife Centre, Sandworld and pleasure boat trips. Or you can just stop off at any of the numerous pubs and cafes you’ll pass along the way.
For the adventurous at heart why not try coasteering at Lulworth cove and get up, close and personal with the rocks! Lulworth outdoors will have you hopping over those rocks and jumping from them into the sea. They do coasteering trips for the whole family, with a specially trained expert and all the gear you need.
Explore Lulworth castle
Unfortunately every time I have visited Lulworth castle has always been closed to the public. Lulworth Castle is in the neighbouring village of East Lulworth, a short distance inland. It was destroyed by a fire in 1929 and since then has been lovingly restored. The castle now has exhibitions showing life as it would have been at the castle.
The main attraction here has to be the view from the tower, which is apparently incredible and some even claim it is the best view in the whole of Dorset! There is plenty to do for kids as well, with a playground and countless outdoor trails. There is a cafe on site, or head into the village to the Weld Arms, a thatched pub with a massive beer garden.
We loved this seaside inn and had an amazing weekend stay here. It is located in the centre of the village and is a two minute walk down the cobbled street to the cove itself. The rooms are tastefully decorated to match the feel of the seaside village and have balconies looking out over the cove. We weren’t too disturbed by the noise, as the pub closes at 11pm, but you should be aware that the rooms do overlook the beer garden. We have eaten here in the evening several times, enjoying the food (a traditional pub menu), atmosphere and service and can definitely recommend it. An incredible buffet breakfast was included and they also gave us a pass for the village car park for the duration of our stay.
This boutique B&B is also in the village and offers a slightly more upmarket stay, with it’s own pool overlooking the bay. They also have their own restaurant offering locally sourced food, perhaps more suitable for a special occasion than Lulworth Cove Inn.
There are numerous campsites surrounding Lulworth Cove, though having a car will make your life much easier as most of them aren’t quite within walking distance. The Durdle Door Holiday Park is the closest campsite, a huge complex opposite Durdle Door itself and within walking distance of Lulworth Cove. Here you can bring your own tent or campervan, or rent a range of different camping and glamping options from them.
Further out and a little more basic, we can recommend Snelling Farm Campsite and Steeple Leaze Farm, though you will probably have to book ahead as these campsites fill up quickly in the summer months.
Durdle Door is part of the Jurassic coast which stretches ninty-five miles across the south of England. It is famous for it’s beautiful arch carved out of the limestone rock that makes up the coastline of this dramatic seascape.
The most impressive views of Durdle Door are from high up, and it is well worth coming here at sunset if you can. You can park in Lulworth Cove (something like £5 for the day) and walk up the rather large staircase from there. Once you reach Durdle Door you can either take the staircase down to the pebble beach or continue your walk along the cliffs.
Durdle Door Walks
We would highly recommend walking along the cliffs, as this is much quieter than the beach and equally, if not more, pretty. It’s good exercise, with the path taking you up and down and up and down through beautiful fields and countryside. If you have time there are numerous walking routes in this area that will take you to Durdle Door and back on a round route so you can soak in more of the views.
Beaches at Durdle Door
If you head down to the pebble beach you have two beaches to check out. Durdle Door beach will be busy in the summer, but most tourists stay near to the arch so if you want some privacy then head down the beach a bit. There are plenty of places to sit but few areas of shade so bring a sun umbrella if you plan on staying.
To the left of the staircase there is another little cove that is also worth checking out. It has very pretty views out to sea and is a great place for a dip if the weather’s good.
There is no ‘easy’ access to Durdle Door. It is one big staircase, so think through taking buggies or lugging large amounts of seaside ‘toys’ there!
Wear decent walking shoes, the steps can be slippery and are uneven and steep.
There are no facilities there. Use the car park toilets before making the climb and take food and drink with you.
There is little shade on the beach so take sun cream and sun umbrellas if you plan on staying!
What to take and when to visit Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door
Obviously this depends slightly on the time of year you are visiting! Durdle Door is impressive at all times of year, but we think it’s best in the summer months when it is more likely to be weather you want to stay outdoors in. If you can find a pleasant day to visit in the winter months then it will be much less crowded, but obviously you will need to wrap up warm. The wind here can be very strong and chilly! In the summer months we would recommend taking…
Swimsuit – There are several places to swim or paddle and lots of water sport activities for you to enjoy here.
Walking Shoes – Comfortable walking shoes are a must!
Hat, sunglasses, and sun cream.
Food and drink
Directions to Durdle Door from London
It takes about 3 hours to drive from London to Durdle Door, so it is possible to come here for day, although a long weekend would be more enjoyable. You should aim for the Lulworth Cove postcode BH20 5RQ as this is where the biggest and nearest car park is. The postcode for Durdle Door Holiday Park is BH20 5PU and this will take you to the top of Durdle Door.
Taking the train to Durdle Door from London
Taking the train from London is another option, but a bit trickier. The nearest train station to Durdle Door is Wool Station. Then you will need to take the bus to Durdle Door. Bus numbers 15 and 104 connect Wool Railway Station to West Lulworth and Durdle Door. The 15 bus operates on school days only. The 104 bus operates all year Monday to Saturday excluding public holidays.