No trip to Dorset would be complete without taking some time to explore the Jurassic Coast. This magnificent stretch of coastline is famed around the world for its beauty and geological importance. The Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction. Here’s our top 10 beauty spots on the Jurassic Coast to check out during your stay at our holiday park in Swanage.
1. Studland Bay
There are 4 beaches to choose from at Studland Bay – Shell Bay, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach. The beaches have much to offer families, especially those with young children hoping to play in the shallow water. Knoll Beach has the most going on with watersports hire available on the shoreline and a café and toilets block next to the carpark. Parking is free for National Trust members and Volunteers host a number of events here throughout the year.
The beaches are flanked by a nature reserve, with plenty of paths to explore by foot or bike. You may even choose to get the ferry across to Sandbanks peninsula during your visist.
2. Old Harry Rocks
Old Harry Rocks are within walking distance of our holiday park near Swanage. These iconic chalk sea stacks are a dramatic landmark on the Jurassic Coast and well worth a visit during your stay. When the weather’s right you can see the Isle of Wight in the distance. They’re fantastic to photograph, especially at sunrise or sunset.
Combine your trip with a bite to eat at The Pig on the Beach – one of our favourite relaxed fine dining restaurants near the park.
Things to do: walk the South West Coast Path
3. Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove is a pretty horseshoe shaped beach, not far from Ulwell Holiday Park. It’s extremely popular with visitors and a lovely place to spend a couple of hours or even the entire day. The beach itself is sheltered and a great place to swim or paddle. It’s dog friendly throughout the year, so you can bring your four-legged friend too!
Set back from beach you’ll find a small selection of pubs, restaurants and cafes. There’s also a visitor centre where you can learn more about the geology of the Jurassic coast as well as a couple of gift shops. If you fancy, something a little more adventurous, you can book a kayaking session with one of the activity providers.
Things to do: Mountain biking, coasteering and kayaking with Lulworth Outdoors
4. Durdle Door
Durdle Door is undoubtedly the most iconic natural landmark on the Jurassic Coast. The limestone arch is famed around the world and visitors flock to photograph it in their droves. The water is an impressive turquoise colour and views extend towards Weymouth Bay and Portland in the distance. It’s a fabulous spot to sit back, relax and sunbathe on a hot summers day
Durdle Door and neighbouring Man O’ War beach are situated at the bottom a steep track and winding staircase. It is not easily accessible and care should be taken when making the descent. It’s a fabulous place to swim or stand-up paddleboard. Please note there are no facilities here, so you’ll need to bring your own refreshments.
Things to do: swim, sunbathe, relax!
Places to eat: pack a picnic
5. Portland Bill
Portland Bill is one of our favourite sections of the Jurassic Coast. It is situated at the Southernmost point of the Isle of Portland and has a rugged landscape that is beautiful on a blustery day. If you’ve got a head for heights there’s no better way to admire the views than from the top of Portland Bill lighthouse. Watch the ships and fishing boats navigate the rocky outcrops and the locally renowned tidal race.
There’s plenty to explore at Portland Bill, even in the height of the winter. Take a walk around the pretty beach huts and admire the rock formations along the coast. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the expansive grounds or treat yourself to a crab sandwich and award-winning cream tea in the Lobster Pot café.
Places to eat: Lobster Pot Cafe
6. Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach stretches 18 miles from Portland to West Bay. It is one of the most iconic beaches in the country and known for its steep shingle banks and dramatic landscape. For the best views of Chesil, we recommend heading to the Isle of Portland, next to the Heights Hotel. From the elevated position you can admire almost the entire expanse and watch impressive sunsets.
If you want direct access, you can’t get much better than Chesil Cove. This sheltered section is a favourite among landscape photographers and those wanted to sit back and relax on the beach.
Things to do: Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre
Abbotsbury is a quaint village surrounded by Dorset countryside. It is situated within walking distance of Chesil Beach and the picturesque Fleet Lagoon. The village is made up of idyllic thatched cottages and a small selection of independent shops. It has a laid-back feel and almost feels like you’re stepping back in time.
There are a number of attractions to check-out during your visit. Children will love the Swannery and keen gardeners will enjoy a trip to the Subtropical Gardens. The Abbotsbury section of Chesil Beach is popular with anglers hoping to catch something for tea. There are a number of places of historical places of interests, including St Catherines Chapel at the top of the hill.
8. West Bay
West Bay is a pretty fishing village, located a couple of miles outside of Bridport. It is well-known for appearing in the acclaimed ITV series, Broadchurch and popular with visitors to Dorset. Despite its small size, it’s a hive of activity, with plenty to see and do. Take some time to explore the bustling working harbour and try your hand at seaside activities such as fishing and crabbing. Sample fresh seafood and delicious ice cream from one of the kiosks dotted around the Quay.
There are two beaches to choose from at West Bay, if you fancy a leisurely day relaxing by the water. East Beach features a shelved shingle bank with dramatic sandstone cliffs. West Beach is smaller, quieter and popular with families.
9. Golden Cap
Golden Cap is the highest point on the South Coast. From the top you can enjoy far-reaching views along the Jurassic Coast and the shoreline below. It sits on the South West Coast Path and can be accessed via a number or routes. On a clear day you can see all the way to Portland Bill in the East and Start Point in the West.
A walk along this spectacular section Jurassic Coast is well worth the effort needed to get to the top! The land is owned by the National Trust and free parking is available for members at Langdon Woods. We recommend packing a picnic and some refreshments as none are available during the walk. To reward your hard work, stop at The Anchor at Seatown on the way home. This wonderful pub boasts a delicious menu and has a popular beer garden with stunning views.
Things to do: Admire the scenery, fly a kite, family picnic
Places to eat: The Anchor Inn
10. Lyme Regis
Lyme Regis is a picturesque coastal town with a rich maritime history. It’s located in the West of the county and the ideal destination for a fun-filled family day out. Park up and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the promenade and onto the Cobb to admire the views across Lyme Bay. Grab a bench and spend some time watching the colourful fishing boats land their catch after a day at sea.
There’s an interesting mix of quaint independent shops to peruse and pick up some souvenirs to take home. If you’re into art there are a number of galleries selling handcrafted pieces by local makers. There are a wide selection of pubs, cafes and kiosks to refuel at the end of the day.
Please note: When visiting destinations along the Jurassic Coast, please exercise caution and abide by the countryside code. Keep dogs on a lead and ensure children stay well away from the cliff edge. Take extra care after severe weather, which can cause rockfall. Avoid sitting directly under the cliffs. If you feel you are in immediate danger call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Ulwell Holiday Park is situated on the outskirts of Swanage, just a short walk from the beach and town centre. There is a range of accommodation for couples and families, including caravan holiday homes, pods and touring and camping pitches. Facilities include a well-stocked shop, indoor swimming pool, children’s play park and on-site bar and restaurant.