England is home to so many enchanting places. And the stretch of coastline between Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door in South Dorset is no exception.
This beautiful section is part of the dramatic Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its limestone cliffs and natural arches, the 2km (1.25 mile) coastal path from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is possibly one of the prettiest short walks in the UK.
Whilst it only takes about 30 minutes to walk one way, there are so many beautiful spots along the way where you can get some incredible photos. In this guide, I’m sharing my favourite spots, tips on how to get there, and some recommendations on where to stay.
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Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door
A beautiful short walk that showcases the best of the Jurassic Coast, starting at Lulworth Cove and ending at the iconic Durdle Door.
4.1 km (2.5 miles) round trip
Easy to moderate
Walking from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door
Stretching 95 miles from Exmouth to Old Harry’s Rocks in Studland, the Jurassic Coast boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in England. Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are two of the most iconic landmarks along the Jurassic Coast.
This walk is only just over a mile but it’s packed with incredible views that will make you stop every few minutes. The walk is relatively easy and takes about 30 minutes from the car park at Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. The path does slowly ascend almost 400 feet to the top of the cliffs so there is some uphill walking.
You’ll find all of the information you need to help you plan your own trip at the end of this article. This includes how to get there, parking information, and a map with all the locations.
Lulworth Cove Beach
You can do the walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door in either direction. However, I recommend starting in Lulworth Cove as there aren’t any facilities at Durdle Door. The car park is also open 24 hours unlike Durdle Door so you aren’t restricted by opening times.
Lulworth Cove is a pretty grey pebble beach surrounded by white chalk cliffs and turquoise water. You can park in the main car park near the cove and wander down to the beach where you can get some lovely photos.
It may be a small village but there is a tourist information centre and a gift shop opposite the car park. You’ll also find some small shops where you can get an ice cream, fish and chips, and other refreshments.
Lulworth Cove Headland
The view looking out from the beach is lovely but looking down at the cove from the headland is even more spectacular. Before you turn back to take the path up to Durdle Door, make a little detour up to the headland to see the full beauty of Lulworth Cove. You can walk up the headlands on the right or the left hand side of the bay – or both if you like!
Head up the headland on the right and you’ll get a wonderful view over ‘Stair Hole’. This compact cove is a remarkable sight that showcases the geology of the area. Over time, the rocks have folded and crumpled to reveal layers of black and grey rock. This has earned the name ‘Lulworth Crumple’ as a result.
If you want to view the bay from the left headland, walk left along the beach until you come to some steps. Be careful as you climb them as they can get quite muddy and there are some steep parts.
When you reach the top follow the path to the right and continue along the trail. It is a short gentle climb to get to the top but you’ll be rewarded by a fantastic view of the cove and there is a bench where you can sit and relax. Before you walk back down to Lulworth Cove, take a look at ‘Fossil Forest’ at the top of the headland to appreciate the rock formations.
Begin the walk to Durdle Door
Head back to the car park and follow the path which heads up the cliff behind the car park. It is quite a long and steep walk so if you don’t feel it is accessible for you or your group, you may prefer to drive to Durdle Door car park instead. If you decide to walk, take some short rests along the way and admire the view looking back at Lulworth Cove.
Man O’War Cove
Continue on the South West Coast Path and you’ll reach Durdle Door car park. From here it is a 5 minute downhill walk to the iconic landmark.
A lot of people rush to see the limestone arch but make sure you stop to admire the cove on the left of Durdle Door. This pretty cove is Man O’War Cove, part of a larger bay called St Oswald’s Bay. You can get a beautiful shot of the cove on the approach to Durdle Door.
The cove is sheltered by the large rocky coastline so it’s also a great place for a swim if you’re able to brave the chilly English waters!
Durdle Door Beach
Continue down the steps and you’ll find yourself face to face with the natural limestone arch. You can get some beautiful shots of Durdle Door and the white limestone cliffs from the beach. Walk along the beach to get a lovely view looking back at Durdle Door as the waves crash in.
Other Durdle Door Walks
A lot of visitors head back to the car park after seeing Durdle Door but there is plenty more to explore. Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is just a small section of the Jurassic Coast and there are lots of other short walks you can do.
Bats Head Coastal Path
This steep short section takes you over Swyre Head and offers a spectacular view of Durdle Door and the rugged coastline. Follow the path as it dips downhill into Scratchy Bottom (yes this really is its name!) before climbing back up to Swyre Head. This is quite a steep section and may not be suitable for everyone. You can continue on this path to Bats Head which is a 30 minute one way walk.
Lulworth Cove to Lulworth Castle
This is another lovely walk that leads you to the beautiful 17th century castle. It takes just over an hour to walk one way. Lulworth Castle is steeped in history and worth a visit if you have time. If you plan to go inside the Castle, I’d recommend booking tickets in advance so you don’t arrive to find they’ve sold out for that day. You can find more information on their website.
Old Harry Rocks
Although Old Harry Rocks isn’t in this area, it would be amiss not to include this walk as it’s one of the most famous landmarks on the South Coast. Old Harry actually refers to the single rock which stands furthest away from the coast. This short walk starts at the Bankes Arm pub in Studland and takes about 30 minutes each way. If you prefer, you can extend the walk and complete a loop via Ballard Point which takes 2 hours. You can find more information on the South West Coast Path website.
Planning a trip to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door
How to get to Lulworth Cove
The easiest way to get to Lulworth Cove is by car, especially if you’re going between September and May when public transport is rather infrequent.
Hiring a car for the Jurassic Coast
If like me, you don’t have your own car, hiring one can sometimes be a dreaded task. Unfortunately, for somewhere like the Jurassic Coast it is much more convenient to drive. I personally use Auto Europe as it’s really easy to use.
You can compare all the major companies in a grid format that shows the prices for different car sizes by provider. They also clearly show what is and isn’t included in the price. If you need any help, their 24/7 customer service is very good. Click below to check prices in your home currency.
Getting there By Train
The nearest train station is Wool. If you’re coming from London it is on the London Waterloo to Weymouth line. Once you arrive, you can get one of the buses or a taxi to Lulworth Cove. If you plan to take a taxi then I would advise booking one in advance to guarantee availability.
I book all of my train tickets on The Train Line as it’s easy to compare train times, journey lengths and prices for trips like this. You can look into tickets and check if there are any planned engineering works on their website.
Getting there By bus
Buses #30, #X54 and #55 connect Wool Railway Station to West Lulworth for Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The #30 runs from 25th May until 21st September. You can check the bus timetables on Traveline’s website. Although the buses are quite infrequent during winter, there are extra services during the summer months.
Parking at Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove car park is positioned at the start of the path to Durdle Door. It’s a large car park with plenty of spaces and there is also overflow parking in the adjacent green fields. It does still get very busy in the summer months (July and August) due to school holidays. Aim to get there early or opt to use the local buses.
The car park is pay and display. You can either buy a ticket for a set number of hours or you can tap in and out with your contactless card. You can find the up to date prices here.
There is a car park at Durdle Door and tickets purchased at Lulworth Cove can be used at Durdle Door as well. So if you decide to drive rather than walk you won’t need to buy another ticket as long as you have enough time left on it.
Where to stay near Durdle Door
The walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door makes a wonderful day trip but the area is so beautiful that I recommend staying for the weekend so you can explore more.
There are some lovely options in West Lulworth but I’d personally suggest staying somewhere further afield to make the most of your weekend. Here are my top picks:
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LULWORTH COVE INN
Lulworth Cove Inn is a cute property on the doorstep of Lulworth Cove and offers spectacular views of the Jurassic Coast. It also has a great pub which serves award-winning cask ales and lagers, as well as fresh dishes made from local ingredients.
THE SMUGGLERS INN
Originally built in the 13th century, the Smugglers Inn was used as one of the main landing places for smuggled goods in the 17th century. The Inn is located in Osmington and offers beautiful views over the coast out to the Isle of Portland and has a traditional English pub.
The Redcliff WEYMOUTH
Another option is to stay in Weymouth. Located right on the seafront, Redcliff B&B is just 10 minutes’ walk from the station and the town centre. Not only is it in a great location, it’s also got a very cosy and homely atmosphere. It’s a family run B&B and is also pet friendly.
The walk is short and relatively easy but here are a few points to keep in mind before you start your walk:
- On most days, you only need a pair of comfortable shoes or trainers. However, the rain does make some parts of the trail quite muddy so check the weather forecast and take your hiking boots if it has been raining.
- The trail does ascend 400m to the top of the cliffs and the stretch from the car park to the top of the cliff is quite long and steep. If you aren’t able to walk up this section you can drive to Durdle Door car park and walk 5 minutes from there.
- You can walk the trail in either direction but the car park at Durdle Door is not open 24 hours like Lulworth Cove. It opens at 8:00am and closes between 3:00pm and 10:00pm depending on the time of year. I would recommend starting at Lulworth Cove so you aren’t restricted by the car park opening times. It also means that you’ll be walking down hill on the way back!
- You can walk along the path all year round but in the summer it gets very crowded. If you have a car then try and go out of season in April or May as the weather is usually getting warmer so you can enjoy the coastal walk without the crowds.
As tempting as it can be to go off the marked path to get the perfect photo, you should stay away from the cliff edges. Rock falls are common due to the eroding nature of the coastline and there are plenty of warning signs for a reason. You can read more about safety on the Jurassic Coast’s website.
You’ll find all of the places listed in this article on my map below. To save this map, click on the star on the right hand side of the title. This will save the map to “Your Places” in the Google Maps.
The walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is breath-taking. There are so many stunning view points where you can admire the history and the beauty of the Jurassic Coast. It’s a wonderful part of the UK and it really should be on your travel bucket list. I hope these photos inspire you to plan your own trip.
If you’re looking for more inspiration on places to visit in the UK, have a look at the following guides:
- Where to find London’s prettiest streets
- 5 Ideas for a girls getaway
- A guide to hiking the Seven Sisters
- 48 hours in Bath
If you have any questions about this walk please let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.