4 Day Sightseeing Itinerary for a Short Break in Dorset

September 17th, 2020

If you’re heading to Ulwell Holiday Park for a short break this autumn, we’ve created a handy 4-day sightseeing itinerary to use during your stay. Containing our pick of things to do, attractions to visit and places to eat in Swanage and the local area, we hope it will take the stress out of planning so you can make the most of your holiday in Dorset.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to it rigidly. Simply pick and choose the bits that suit your party best!

 

Day 1: Arrival day 

10am – Arrive in Swanage

Arrive early so you’ll have time to explore Swanage properly before checking in. If the weather’s good, head straight to the beach for a walk along the promenade. Don’t forget to pack your camera as you’ll be treated to some spectacular coastal views. Spend some time admiring the scenery before heading along the pier and then on to Prince Albert Gardens.

swanage pier

12pm – Lunch time

At lunch time stop and enjoy a bite to eat in one of Swanage’s fantastic cafés and restaurants. We highly recommend The Ship Inn if you’re in the mood for traditional pub grub. There’s also plenty of kiosks selling ice cream and fish and chips if you’d prefer to sit on the seafront and watch the world go by.

1pm – Afternoon activities

If you’ve still got time to spare take a walk around the independent shops to see if there’s anything that catches your eye. If you’re feeling adventurous a sightseeing boat trip is an excellent way to explore the Jurassic Coast. If you’d prefer to keep your feet on solid ground, a trip to Corfe Castle on Swanage’s historic steam railway is a fantastic way to pass a couple of hours! Other activities include Swanage Museum & Heritage Centre and Swanage Lifeboat Station.

things to do in swanage

4pm – Check in at Ulwell Holiday Park

After a busy day exploring, we know you’ll want some down time to relax and unwind. After checking in, take a leisurely walk around the site and see the variety of facilities on offer. If you’re camping or touring familiarise yourself with the position of the amenities block as well as the onsite shop. If you plan on making use of our indoor swimming pool during your autumn break, it’s best to book your sessions on the day of arrival because slots tend to fill up fast.

After you’ve settled in, unpacked and stocked up on any essentials you left behind, you’ll probably be hungry again! Let someone else do the cooking on your first night and treat yourself to a delicious dinner in our on-site bar and restaurant, The Village Inn. Serving a tasty menu of locally sourced produce as well as a fine selection of local ale, you can indulge in the peace and quiet of our modern restaurant before making the short walk to your home away from home.

village inn bar and restaurant

(Please note: if you wish to check in earlier, check in is 12pm for touring caravans and 3pm for statics)

Day 2: Sightseeing on the Jurassic Coast

9am – Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove

Wake up early to ensure you’ve got plenty of time to make the most of the things to do nearby. Today is all about the Jurassic Coast, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve eaten a hearty breakfast in preparation for a full-on day of sightseeing!

durdle door jurassic coast

Start your day at Durdle Door – don’t forget to prebook your parking 24 hours in advance. If you’re a particularly early riser, you could head over before sunrise to try and catch the perfect shot of the sun appearing through the door. This iconic landmark is a must visit during any trip to Dorset. Neighbouring beach Man ‘o War Bay is also well worth the walk. Follow the coast path to the right for striking views. You’ll be rewarded with far reaching views out to sea and towards Weymouth and Portland in the distance.

man o war bay

After an hour or so, head towards Lulworth Cove. You can walk if you’re feeling energetic, or take the car if you want to save some energy for later in the day. Spend some time admiring the pretty horse shoe shaped cove. Keen geologists can marvel at the rock formations and spend some time in the visitor centre. There are a small selection of cafés and pubs here, so grab yourself some lunch. If you’re still full from breakfast, treat yourself to an ice cream or piece of fudge before venturing to destination 3 of the day.

lulworth cove jurassic coast lulworth geology

Places to eat in Lulworth: There is plenty of choice when it comes to lunch. Next to the shoreline you’ll find the Boat Shed, which is in our opinion is one of the best beach cafés in Dorset. The Lulworth Cove Inn serve a wide selection of family favourites and if you’re looking for something a bit special, you can’t go wrong with Rudds of Lulworth. Again, if you’d prefer to eat on the move, there is a fish and chip and takeaway kiosk.

places to eat in lulworth

Activities in Lulworth: Lulworth Castle is a must for history lovers thanks to its beautiful park land and grounds to explore. Depending on weather, it’s often possible to take a short boat trip from Lulworth Cove.

1pm – Tyneham Village & Worbarrow Bay

Next head to Tyneham Village to explore the forgotten village’s ruins. The drive from Durdle Door offers beautiful views across the Isle of Purbeck in every direction. You’ll pass through land owned by the MOD, so you’ll see disused armoured vehicles and tanks dotted amongst the scenery.

On arrival, walk through the remnants of the houses once belonging to local families, and take some time to explore the farm. The church and school house have been lovingly restored, so you’ll see exactly what it would have been like for children attending before the Second World War. There are some really interesting information boards on display, so make sure you factor some time into your visit to read them.

tyneham village ruins

After exploring the village make the short walk to Worbarrow Bay. In our opinion this is one of the best beaches on our stretch of coastline and often much quieter than its well-known neighbours. If you’re feeling brave you could go for a dip. The less adventurous may choose to tackle one of the surrounding hills for a bird’s eye view.

worbarrow bay

Amenities: There is car parking on site (suggested donation £2). There are public toilets put there are no other amenities.

Please note: Tyneham Village is situated on military owned land. It is not always open to the public so you should check opening times before you travel.

3pm – Kimmeridge Bay

Carrying on the whistle stop tour of the top sights on the Jurassic Coast, head to Kimmeridge Bay for your final destination of the day. Kimmeridge is unlike other areas of our coastline thanks to a rugged charm. The beach is covered in slate, with shelving ledges and rocky outcrops that look spectacular on an autumn day. It’s the ideal spot for a bracing walk when the weather is cold and crisp.

kimmeridge bay

If you have little ones in tow or are simply young at heart, rock pooling and fossil hunting here is an absolute must. Many of our guests have unearthed small hidden treasures, dating back to prehistoric times. The Wild Seas Visitor Centre will help you identify any finds and teach you the steps you need to follow to explore the coast in a responsible way. There’s also a range of interactive displays giving a glimpse at the various species of marine life that call the Dorset coast home.

The Clavell Tower is perched at the end of the headland and it’s well worth the short walk to take a look at it up close. Originally built in the 1800’s as an observatory, it is now owned by the Landmark Trust and available to rent as a unique holiday let. Interestingly in the early 2,000s the decision was made to relocate the tower due to the threat of shoreline erosion. The tower was dismantled stone by stone and painstakingly rebuilt further inland!

Clavell tower

5pm – Relax!

By now you’ll be tired after such a busy day! Head back to the comfort of our luxury caravan holiday homes to relax and refresh ahead of dinner. Of course, you can make the most of our static caravans well equipped kitchens and dine in, or head to the Village Inn for a second night. If you fancy venturing a little further afield you could try Black Swann Inn or The Golden Bengal. For something special, Chilled Red in the middle of town comes highly recommended (booking essential).

 

Day 3: Studland Peninsula & Agglestone Rock

10 am – Walk to Studland Bay

Get ready for another action-packed day out in Dorset! Day 3 is mostly dedicated to exploring inland and taking in the beautiful countryside surrounding the park.

Leave the car on site and head off on foot on a scenic walk from Ulwell through Ballard Down to Old Harry Rock. The walk takes between 60 and 90 minutes and provides beautiful views along the entire route. There are some sections where it’s possible to let your dog off lead.

walks from ulwell

When you reach the coast, you’ll get an up-close look at the striking chalk sea stacks that have become synonymous with The Purbeck. They are wonderful to photograph and truly an impressive site to behold.

1pm – Lunch in Studland

Once you’ve snapped some pictures continue along the coast path to the Bankes Arms, where you can enjoy a sit-down pub lunch. If you want to push the boat out, treat yourself to a meal at the Pig On The Beach, which offers a tasty fine dining menu in a beautiful setting. You can explore the impressive grounds where much of the produce grown on site. Booking is essential.

pig on the beach

2pm – Explore the beaches of Studland Bay

Once you’ve finished a leisurely lunch, continue onto the beaches of Studland Bay. Walk along the length of the peninsula from South Beach to Shell Bay. Each of the 4 beaches you pass have a slightly different feel.

Stop for a short break and drink at Knoll beach in the Visitor Centre to refuel ahead of your onward journey. The majority of the land here is owned by the National Trust so be sure to check out their website in advance. Depending on the timing of your visit there may be an event taking place that you can join. There are often informative nature walks for adults or craft sessions for children to enjoy. In the summer there are plenty of watersports hire options here

sand dunes at knoll beach studland bat

4pm – Nature reserve & Agglestone Rock

As you round the peninsula at Shell Bay, you’ll be treated to views over Poole harbour and exclusive Sandbanks on the opposite side. Take a moment to stop and watch the impressive yachts and chain ferry.

The walk home is slightly different route, which encompasses some of the nature reserve. Keep your eyes peeled as there are lots of species of wildlife that call the area home.

As you continue through the nature reserve back to Ulwell Holiday Park, make the slight assent to Agglestone Rock. This magnificent and gigantic sandstone rock, looks striking among the otherwise barren landscape. Folklore suggests that the rock was thrown by the Devil from the needles on the Isle of Wight!

agglestone rock

Please note: If you don’t fancy walking all day you can of course bring your car. If you don’t fancy spending the whole day walking there are parking options at each of the beauty spots visited on day 3.

7pm – Relax!

After a full-on day on your feet, spend your final evening relaxing in the comfort of your caravan or holiday home. Buy yourself something tasty for dinner from our on-site shop and some treats to enjoy as you put your feet up after a strenuous day!

 

Day 4: Corfe Castle & Home 

10.30 am – Head home via Corfe Castle

Today marks the end of your 3-night break at Ulwell Holiday Park, so a lie in and leisurely start is in order. If you’ve got time to spare before heading home, we think a morning in the Village of Corfe is the perfect way to round off the trip.

The castle ruins are perched high on the Purbeck hills, creating a striking backdrop as you drive into village. The ruins are open to the public so you could spend a couple of hours exploring at your leisure and learning more about the castles fascinating history.

corfe castle

If you’re don’t fancy taking a tour of the castle, the village of Corfe is simply beautiful in its own right. Filled with quaint chocolate box cottages, pretty surrounding views and a lovely gift shop and tea room, it’s the perfect place to spend an hour or so walking around. There are a number of options if you fancy lunch before you head home. Our favourites are the Castle Inn and the Greyhound Inn.

We very much hope you find this sightseeing itinerary for a 3-night short break in Dorset. If we’ve inspired you to visit you can search touring, camping and static caravan availability and book on our website.

What our guests say

  • A gem of a place

    Sandra, Winchester

    What a find. I almost don’t want to tell you about it.

    It’s a family park with lovely, mostly new, fresh, clean spacious caravans – all set out almost in steps on the side of a small hill. The larger hill rises behind you, the sea spreads out in front and the swimming pool beckons behind the bar.

    The people are friendly, the site is clean and welcoming and the scenery unbeatable. It’s a gem of a place.

  • Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage

    David

    Always my no.1 choice when visiting Swanage. A truly wonderful location, lying under the stunning Ballard Down and surrounded by beautiful countryside. Being only a 10 min walk from Swanage and the coast means it’s conveniently located for all amenities.

    The staff are always very helpful to sort out any problems and keep the site in fantastic condition. A 5-star park.

  • Friendly, clean & well kept

    Cheshire, UK

    Stayed here as a base to tour Isle of Purbeck and go on to Air show in Bournemouth. Not the cheapest site but definitely the cleanest and well thought out.

    Swimming pool , shop and pub/restaurant all in proximity and well kept/stocked. Bus stop right outside entrance. Grass pitches have plenty of space and well drained with shower blocks water/ drain points really handy.

    Will definitely be using this site again.

  • Lovely weekend

    Tina, London

    We have just returned from a lovely weekend caravanning at Ulwell Cottage Caravan Park.
    Lovely clean site with indoor heated pool. We went in the pool around 5pm and were the only ones in there (apart from life guard) it was lovely and warm and clean.

    We walked to old Harry’s rock and then Down into Swanage itself and had fish and chips and an ice cream.
    Staff on the site were helpful and friendly. Lovely stay.

  • Our second, lovely Christmas at Ulwell

    Jane P, Cheltenham

    After the success of Christmas 2016 at Ulwell, we returned again for Christmas 2017 and had another great time. Lovely warm caravan, peaceful and relaxing on site and a fantastic carvery on Boxing Day at The Village Inn.

    Thanks to all staff who were working and made sure we had such a great break away.

All reviews

4.5

We are currently at an amazing 4.5 score at TripAdvisor, based upon 200+ reviews from verified guests.

Latest reviews

Proudly associated

Over the years the family has developed the park to award-winning standards and in a style which compliments its surroundings.

  • Camping and caravanning
  • AA
  • British Holiday & Home Parks assocation
  • Poole Tourism
  • Visit Britain

Finding us

BY ROAD

From Bournemouth via the Sandbanks chain ferry and following the B3351 into Swanage.

Please note: The Sandbanks Ferry will be out of action until at least October.

From Wareham using the A351 into Swanage, turn left along the seafront towards Studland.

BY BUS

The park is situated on the main bus route from Bournemouth to Swanage.

GPS

1 ° 58’ 16” West, 50° 37’ 34” North

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