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.
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.
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.
(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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.