England is home to so many enchanting places. One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to explore more of my own country and walking from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door was top of my list. Located in South Dorset, this beautiful stretch of coastline is part of the dramatic Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stretching 95 miles from Exmouth to Old Harry’s Rocks in Studland, the Jurassic Coast boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in England, including Durdle Door, one of England’s most iconic landmarks.
There are lots of pretty towns and natural sites to explore along the coast. We spent many holidays on the Western part of the Jurassic Coast when we were younger but we had never gone further than Lyme Regis. So in March my sister and I decided to book a short break in Dorset to explore more of the coast. The coastal path from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is especially beautiful and a great place for photography. There are so many wonderful view points along the way but here are the best photography spots where you can capture some truly beautiful photos.
Walking from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door: What you need to know
The best way to see this part of the coast is to walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door via the South West Coast Path (or vice versa). It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the car park at Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. The stretch from the car park to the top of the cliff is quite long and steep and can be challenging. If you aren’t able to walk from the car park to Durdle Door then you can drive from Lulworth Cove car park to Durdle Door car park and walk 5 minutes down to Durdle Door from there.
You can walk along the path all year round but in the summer it gets very crowded as Durdle Door attracts visitors from all over the world. I would recommend going out of season in April or May as the weather is usually getting warmer so you can enjoy the coastal walk without the crowds. If you do go in the summer months then try to go early in the morning to avoid 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.
1. Lulworth Cove Beach
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. 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. There are some nice places to eat but there are also plenty of picnic tables if you have brought your own lunch.
2. 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 and allows you to appreciate the rock formations. To get onto the cliff, 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.
The view looking through the entrance to the cove and out to sea also makes a beautiful shot as you can capture the detail of the rocks that form the head of the cove.
NB: It can be very windy at the top so be careful and don’t get to close to the edge as the cliff is unstable in places.
3. The Top of the Steps
Head back to the car park and follow the path which heads up the cliff behind the car park. As I mentioned earlier, it is quite a long and steep walk so you may prefer to drive to Durdle Door car park instead and skip this view point. If you decide to walk, take some short rests along the way and admire the view looking back at Lulworth Cove. The view gets better as you climb higher and at the top of the path you will get a stunning panoramic view of the cove and the rolling green hills.
4. 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 beach is currently closed as they are repairing the stairs but if you head down the steps to Durdle Door beach you will find a viewing platform half way down which offers a lovely view of the bay and the Man O’War Rocks.
5. 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. For the best photos, walk along the beach to get a lovely view looking back at Durdle Door and the waves crashing in.
6. Swyre Head
A lot of visitors head back to the car park after seeing Durdle Door but if you are able to, carry on walking along the coastal path towards the steep hill. The top of this cliff is called Swyre Head and it 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. There are some small potholes in the grass which act as steps so try to use these when walking up and down as it makes it a lot easier. The view from the top is stunning and it’s a great spot to watch the sunset away from all the crowds.
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.
Love from Steph
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