A day out at Durlston Country Park

September 10th, 2018

Situated on the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking Swanage Bay, Durlston Country Park comprises of 320 acres of land, perfect for exploring. Just a short drive from Ulwell Holiday Park, this fun, family friendly day out is a great way to discover the Dorset coastline and the wildlife that inhabits it.

Victorian Castle

Durlston Castle is an imposing Victorian building with impressive views out to sea. It is has recently undergone major refurbishments and is now home to a visitor centre, gift shop and a number of interactive displays and exhibits, which will help give you an insight into the local area and the history of the park itself. The Fine Foundation Gallery exhibits collections from local Dorset artists and host’s performances throughout the year.

Beautiful plants and flowers

Thanks to its unique position, geology and the hard work of the parks dedicated team of rangers; Durlston is a haven for plants and flowers. As you walk along the coastal path during the spring and summer months you will be greeted by a carpet of wildflowers, which flourish in the area and boast an array of vivid colours. If you look carefully enough, you may spot one of the 9 species of orchid hidden amongst the grass! As the seasons change, so do the flowers and fauna, meaning there is a constantly changing view to greet you.

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Wonderful wildlife

Durlston is home to an abundance of wildlife, some of which is extremely rare. Over 270 species of species of birds have been recorded in the park, with many choosing the area as a nesting site. Migrating species can also be found resting on the rocky outcrops and a chorus of birdsong can be heard as you walk around the park. From the visitor centre it is possible to get an up close look at the birdlife from cameras positioned along the cliffs.

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A vast array of other wildlife including butterflies, reptiles, foxes and deer can also be found wandering through the grounds, depending on the weather conditions and time of year. It is sometimes possible to spot seals and bottlenose dolphins diving beneath the waters below the park from the elevated position along the cliffs.

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Walks and trails to explore 

Follow one of four trails from the castle through the grounds of Durlston Country Park using the trail guide, to discover some of the parks hidden corners. Explore wood and heathland and enjoy far reaching views out to see. The park also lies on the South West Coast Path and can be incorporated into longer walks to Anvil Point and more strenuous walks along the length of the Jurassic Coast.

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To keep children entertained during a walk, there are family explorer rucksacks available to hire from the visitor centre, which contain fun activities to complete in the woods.

Astronomy and stargazing 

Durlston Country Park is also well worth a visit during the hours of darkness to indulge in a spot of stargazing. The remote position away from light pollution affords visitors beautiful views of our solar system, thanks to a new telescope and observatory. Throughout the year there are a number astronomy events open to public, which give visitors the opportunity to learn more about our skies and use some of the centres telescopes.

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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


    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


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


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

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


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


1 ° 58’ 16” West, 50° 37’ 34” North



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