England is home to so many enchanting places. One of my new year’s resolutions last year was 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. 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 photo spots, as well as the practical information to help you plan your own trip.
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
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.
The best way to see this part of the coast is to walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. 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.
There are so many wonderful photography spots along the way but I’ve listed my personal favourites below. 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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. The view from the top is stunning and it’s a great spot to watch the sunset away from all the crowds.
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.
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. However, if you do want to use public transport there are a few options:
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.
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.
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.
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, I’ve written about my five favourite destinations for a weekend away in the UK, with suggestions on what to do and where to stay.
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Love from Steph