The Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk captures all the best bits of the Jurassic Coast. Towering limestone cliffs, natural arches and magnificent views. It’s easy too, so there’s no excuse.


As travel bloggers, we journey the world looking for great travel experiences. But sometimes it comes at the risk of missing unique places much closer to home. So, recently we headed to the Jurassic Coast on the south of England and uncovered a truly stunning destination.

After 6 days exploring there was one clear highlight: the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk – rivalling even some of our favourite hikes in the Cotswolds.

The undulating path is only just over 1 mile yet passes some of the finest scenery in the country. Below your feet, white limestone cliffs drop to golden shingle beaches and crashing oceans. Out to sea, swimmers encircle natural stone arches created by millennia of erosion. Inland, sheep and cows graze in the patchwork of green fields and rural farmhouses.

While the walk only takes 30 minutes (one way) it’s worth exploring the area further and you could easily spend a few hours or a whole day. Here’s how to see all the best bits, some tips on where to stay and information about Lulworth Cove parking.

LULWORTH COVE WALK - FIRST, A PITSTOP

A trip to Lulworth Cove one of the best days out in Dorset.

It’s an almost perfect circular bay, its calm blue-green waters are surrounded by a sweep of grey shingle. Before starting the walk to Durdle door it’s worth spending some time exploring the area.

The view from the shore is pretty enough. Old wooden fishing boats bob up and down as day-trippers (feasting on ice-cream) paddle in the gentle waves or search for strange animals in the rock pools. But it’s even better from above. Head up to the small headland that sits above nearby ‘Stair Hole. As the coastal cliffs rise around you the full beauty of the bay becomes apparent.

But there are more than just stunning views up here. Behold the great geological surprise: the ‘Lulworth Crumple’ – something that would have my father effusing over for hours. Layers of black, grey and white rock have folded and ‘crumpled’ under gravity. They are a remarkable sight as they slowly melt into the crashing seas.

The quick loop from Lulworth Cove car park down to the bay, over the headland, past the Lulworth crumple and back to the car park takes only 15 minutes (see map at end of the article). Do it, then come back and tell us all about it on Instagram.

LULWORTH COVE TO DURDLE DOOR WALK

As an excellent hike on a weekend break in the UK, the 1.25-mile walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door begins out the back of the Lulworth Cove parking. A wide well-marked path slowly rises almost 400 feet to the top of the cliffs.

Over the course of the next mile the path passes secret beaches tucked into coves, cows grazing in a patchwork of fields and sheer drops that make the heartbeat a little faster. Everywhere you look the views are amazing as the rising and falling white limestone cliffs undulate into the distance. There is nowhere else quite like it.

After only 30 minutes, the walk ends at Durdle Door. The iconic image of the Jurassic Coast, this natural arch reaches into the sea from a shimmering shingle beach. Formed by erosion of the wind and sea over millennia, on warm days it is now the playground of excited (but chilly) swimmers and awed hikers.

OPTIONS FOR FURTHER DURDLE DOOR WALKS

Once you have completed the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk you could just head back the way you came (another 30 minutes to return). However, there is no need to rush as there is a lot more to explore here.

MAN O’WAR BEACH / Take the steps down to Man O’War beach and explore this excellent arc of golden shingle. The water here is protected by a large rock sat just out to sea so it’s not only an excellent beach to stroll but a great place for a swim. If you happen to get here on a nice day pack your swimmers. If not, maybe a wetsuit?

DURDLE DOOR BEACH / This golden shingle beach is easily reached down a short staircase and offers fine photo opportunities of Durdle Door. But take the time to head further west along the beach and you can stare up at the vertiginous 300ft white limestone cliffs from below.

BATS HEAD COASTAL PATH / Another option is to continue further west along the coastal path that clings to the top of the cliffs. There’s a short steep section over Swyre Head before it drops back down to Bat’s Head for more excellent coastal views (add another 30 minutes for the one-way walk to Bat’s Head)

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TIPS FOR THE LULWORTH COVE TO DURDLE DOOR WALK

1 / The path is clear and easy to follow and takes about 30 minutes (1-hour return) but allow longer to explore and soak up these views.

2 / The walk is short and although it is relatively easy, it does have almost 400ft of ascent. So, if you’ve tasted too many of those local craft ales at lunch, take your time.

3 / On dry days it can easily be walked in trainers or comfortable shoes, but after a few days of rain sections can get muddy. We’d suggest walking boots if this is the case, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting wet.

4 / Take a camera (because it’s beautiful) and swimming trunks for a (refreshing!) swim amongst beautiful scenery.

5 / Lulworth Cove has a visitor centre (open every day 10am to 4pm except Christmas day), toilets, a couple of restaurants and a small shop.

6 / Durdle Door has a kiosk for snacks (10 am to 4 pm) and toilets in the car park. So there is no need to bring supplies, but on warm days the beaches are a great place for a picnic, so why not bring a blanket and chill out for a while.

LULWORTH COVE PARKING

Lulworth Cove car park is conveniently positioned right on the path and opens 24 hours a day every day of the year. A large paved car park that overflows into green fields, it nevertheless gets very busy in the summer holidays (July/Aug) and on warm weekends. So, if you plan to visit at these times then try to get there early or late in the day.

You can either buy a parking ticket for a set number of hours or you can tap in and tap out with a contactless card. The Lulworth Cove parking charges are here. If you buy a ticket for a set number of hours then it is also valid for the Durdle Door car park.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO LULWORTH COVE

If you don’t have a car or want to avoid the traffic on busy summer days then you can use public transport. It is rather infrequent in winter but extra services are run during the busier summer months.

The nearest train station is in the town of Wool on the London to Weymouth line. Three bus services (numbers 30, X54 and 55) run the short distance from Wool to West Lulworth (Lulworth Cove). Please keep in mind that the number 30 bus only operates from late May until late September.

You can plan your journey on public transport using this website.

RENTING A CAR

Our preferred partner when hiring a car is Auto Europe. They have access to cars from most of the major companies at very competitive rates which are compared on a grid format that clearly displays the prices for different sizes and options.

With 24 hour customer service and some cost-effective insurance options, they’re a good choice if you’re looking to hire a car for your trip.

Check car rental prices below based on your home location.

EUROPE CUSTOMERSUSA CUSTOMERS

RENTING A CAR

Our preferred partner when hiring a car is Auto Europe. They have access to cars from most of the major companies at very competitive rates which are compared on a grid format that clearly displays the prices for different sizes and options.

With 24 hour customer service and some cost-effective insurance options, they’re a good choice if you’re looking to hire a car for your trip.

Check car rental prices below based on your home location.

EUROPE CUSTOMERSUSA CUSTOMERS

IN WHICH DIRECTION?

You could park at Durdle Door car park and do the walk in reverse, but we recommend you start at Lulworth Cove where the facilities are better. If you want to grab something for lunch, have a sneaky ice cream or a cheeky pint before you start the walk, you have options.

But, the main reason you should do the walk in the direction we suggest, is due to the car park opening times. Lulworth Cove car park is open 24 hours, where as Durdle Door car park only opens at 8am and closes at 4pm, 7pm or 10pm (depending on the time of year). This means you’re a bit restricted if you start at Durdle Door.

Additionally, the uphill part of the walk comes at the beginning if you start at Lulworth Cove, so it’s all downhill on the way home.

WHERE TO STAY

While Lulworth Cove is a great day trip from London, it’s also a great place to spend a couple of days. There are a number of sleeping options at the beginning and end of the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk but in our opinion it’s better to head a bit further afield.

That way you can choose from a cosy English pub, a classy, sophisticated B&B or a facility-packed friendly hotel. Here are our recommendations:

OLD ENGLISH LUXURY

PRIORY HOTEL, WAREHAM


Nestled in 4 acres of English cottage gardens by the River Frome, this 16th century hotel is a classy choice in a lovely town. Think old English luxury, stylish well-decked out rooms and a beautiful setting. It’s the perfect for a bit of downtime after a hectic week.

CHECK PRICES

OUT IN THE WILDS

SMUGGLERS INN, OSMINGTON


If you want an old English pub in a tiny village away from everywhere then this is the place for you. Just meters from the Dorset Coast you can stay here and go nowhere else. Walk east and you’ll find yourself at Durdle Door, west and you’ll be at the lovely Bowleaze Cove.

CHECK PRICES

CLASSY B&B

BEGGARS KNAP, DORCHESTER


The market towns a few miles inland from the Jurassic Coast can be a good place to spend the night. Dorchester is a charming town and Beggars Knap is the pick of the B&Bs. A slice of Victoriana right in the centre of town, staying here is like stepping back 100 years.

CHECK PRICES

OLD ENGLISH LUXURY

PRIORY HOTEL, WAREHAM


Nestled in 4 acres of English cottage gardens by the River Frome, this 16th century hotel is a classy choice in a lovely town. Think old English luxury, stylish well-decked out rooms and a beautiful setting. It’s the perfect for a bit of downtime after a hectic week.

CHECK PRICES

OUT IN THE WILDS

SMUGGLERS INN, OSMINGTON


If you want an old English pub in a tiny village away from everywhere then this is the place for you. Just meters from the Dorset Coast you can stay here and go nowhere else. Walk east and you’ll find yourself at Durdle Door, west and you’ll be at the lovely Bowleaze Cove.

CHECK PRICES

CLASSY B&B

BEGGARS KNAP, DORCHESTER


The market towns a few miles inland from the Jurassic Coast can be a good place to spend the night. Dorchester is a charming town and Beggars Knap is the pick of the B&Bs. A slice of Victoriana right in the centre of town, staying here is like stepping back 100 years.

CHECK PRICES

WHERE NEXT?

If you found this guide useful, please head over to Instagram and follow us to stay up to date with our adventures.

For some great short walks in the area, we have a selection of short walks on the Jurassic Coast which are equally as stunning. All the information you need for a trip down this beautiful area are covered in our guide to visiting the Jurassic Coast.

As another day trip option, we highly recommend spending one day in Oxford.

Mark Barnes

After 20 years in the markets, Mark completed a Masters in Philosophy and Public Policy and London School of Economics before working for organisations trying to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet.

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Mark Barnes

After 20 years in the markets, Mark completed a Masters in Philosophy and Public Policy and London School of Economics before working for organisations trying to improve the lives of the poorest people on the planet.

All articles

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The Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk captures all that is best of the Jurassic Coast. Towering limestone cliffs, natural arches and magnificent views. It’s easy too, so there’s no excuse. #visitdorset #durdledoor #lulworthcove #jurassiccoast #visitengland
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