Lulworth Cove To Durdle Door Walk – A Complete Guide
The Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk captures the best of the Jurassic Coast; towering limestone cliffs, natural arches and magnificent views. It’s an easy and stunning short walk in England.
After exploring the scenic delights of the Jurassic Coast, there is one clear highlight: the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk.
The undulating path is just over 1 mile, yet passes some of the finest scenery in the country. Below your feet, white limestone cliffs drop to golden shingle beaches and crashing oceans. Out to sea, swimmers encircle natural stone arches created by millennia of erosion. Inland, sheep and cows graze in the patchwork of green fields and rural farmhouses.
While the walk only takes 30 minutes (one way) it’s worth exploring the area further and you could easily spend a few hours or a whole day. Here’s how to see all the best bits, some tips on where to stay and information about Lulworth Cove parking.
For more breathtaking natural scenery in the area, read our guide to visiting the Seven Sisters cliffs.
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LULWORTH COVE TO DURDLE DOOR WALK
An easy walk along spectacular coastal scenery
2 kilometres (1.25 miles) one way
100 metres (+/-)
Late-May to mid-July
BEFORE THE WALK – EXPLORING LULWORTH CRUMPLE
Lulworth Cove is a beautiful part of England and a great base for a weekend break in the UK. An almost perfect circular bay, the calm blue-green waters of the bay are surrounded by a sweep of grey shingle.
The view from the shore is pretty enough. Old wooden fishing boats bob up and down as day-trippers (feasting on ice cream) paddle in the gentle waves or search for strange animals in the rock pools. But it’s even better from above.
Before starting the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk, head up to the small headland that sits above nearby ‘Stair Hole’ to see the full beauty of the bay from the great geological surprise of Lulworth Crumple. Layers of black, grey and white rock have folded under gravity creating a remarkable sight as they slowly melt into the crashing seas.
The loop from the Lulworth Cove car park over the headland, past the Lulworth crumple and back to the car park takes only 15 minutes (see map at end of the article) and it’s well worth inspecting before the walk.
LULWORTH COVE TO DURDLE DOOR WALK
As an excellent hike on a weekend break in the UK, the 1.25-mile walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door begins out the back of the Lulworth Cove parking. A wide well-marked path slowly rises almost 400 feet to the top of the cliffs.
Over the course of the next mile the path passes secret beaches tucked into coves, cows grazing in a patchwork of fields and sheer drops that make the heartbeat a little faster. Everywhere you look the views are amazing as the rising and falling white limestone cliffs undulate into the distance. There is nowhere else quite like it.
After only 30 minutes, the walk ends at the top of the cliffs above Durdle Door. The iconic image of the Jurassic Coast, this natural arch reaches into the sea from a shimmering shingle beach. Formed by erosion of the wind and sea over millennia, on warm days it is now the playground of excited (but chilly) swimmers and awed hikers.
Read Next — The best coastal walks in Dorset
IN WHICH DIRECTION?
You could park at Durdle Door car park and do this walk in reverse, but we recommend you start at Lulworth Cove where the facilities are better. If you want to grab something for lunch, have a sneaky ice cream or a cheeky pint before you start the walk, you have options.
But, the main reason you should do the walk in the direction we suggest is due to the car park opening times. Lulworth Cove car park is open 24 hours, whereas Durdle Door car park only opens at 8am and closes at 4pm, 7pm or 10pm (depending on the time of year). This means you’re a bit restricted if you start at Durdle Door.
Additionally, the uphill part of the walk comes at the beginning if you start at Lulworth Cove, so it’s all downhill on the way home.
Read Next — Seven Sisters walk
HOW TO GET TO LULWORTH COVE
A trip to Lulworth Cove is one of the best days out in Dorset. The best way to get to Lulworth Cove to start the walk to Durdle Door is to drive, which also allows you to see some of the other stunning attractions on the Jurassic Coast.
Lulworth Cove is 126 miles from London, which will take around 2 hours, 30 minutes, longer in peak times.
If you are looking to hire a car for your Dorset trip, we recommend RentalCars.com who compare prices across all the main car rental providers.
LULWORTH COVE PARKING
Lulworth Cove car park is conveniently positioned right on the path and opens 24 hours a day every day of the year. A large paved car park that overflows into green fields, it nevertheless gets very busy in the summer holidays (July/Aug) and on warm weekends. So, if you plan to visit at these times then try to get there early or late in the day.
You can either buy a parking ticket for a set number of hours or you can tap in and tap out with a contactless card. The Lulworth Cove parking charges are here. If you buy a ticket for a set number of hours then it is also valid for the Durdle Door car park.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO LULWORTH COVE
Unfortunately, public transport is rather infrequent in winter but extra services are available during the busier summer months.
The nearest train station is in the town of Wool on the London to Weymouth line. Three bus services (numbers 30, X54 and 55) run the short distance from Wool to West Lulworth (Lulworth Cove). Please keep in mind that the number 30 bus only operates from late May until late September.
You can plan your journey on public transport using this website.
LULWORTH COVE TO DURDLE DOOR MAP
We marked all the best photography spots, parking, restaurants and sights on our Durdlor Door Map.
How to use this map / Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. Click on the top right corner of the map to open a larger version in a new tab or the star to save to your Google Maps.
MORE DURDLE DOOR WALKS
Once you have completed the walk from Lulworth Cove to the cliffs above Durdle Door you could just head back the way you came (another 30 minutes to return). However, there is no need to rush as there is a lot more to explore.
MAN O’WAR BEACH
Take the steep steps down to Man O’War beach and explore this excellent arc of golden shingle. The water here is protected by a large rock sat just out to sea so it’s not only an excellent beach to stroll but a great place for a swim. If you happen to get here on a nice day pack your swimmers. If not, maybe a wetsuit?
DURDLE DOOR BEACH
This golden shingle beach is reached down a short but pretty steep staircase (which requires a bit of care) and offers fine photo opportunities of Durdle Door. Once at the bottom, head further west along the beach and you can stare up at the vertiginous 300ft white limestone cliffs from below.
BATS HEAD COASTAL PATH
Another option is to continue further west along the coastal path that clings to the top of the cliffs. There’s a short steep section over Swyre Head before it drops back down to Bat’s Head for more excellent coastal views (add another 30 minutes for the one-way walk to Bat’s Head)
TIPS FOR THE LULWORTH COVE TO DURDLE DOOR WALK
1 – The path between Lulworth Cove and the cliffs above Durdle Door is clear and easy to follow. It requires about 100m of ascent and takes about 30 minutes (1-hour return). But allow longer to soak up those views.
2 – If you take the steps from the cliffs above Durdle Door down to the beaches, then take care as they are quite steep. So, if you’ve tasted too many of those local craft ales at lunch, take your time.
3 – On dry days it can easily be walked in trainers or comfortable shoes, but after a few days of rain sections can get muddy. We’d suggest walking boots if this is the case, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting wet.
4 – Take a camera (because it’s beautiful) and swimming trunks for a (refreshing!) swim amongst beautiful scenery.
5 – Lulworth Cove has a visitor centre (open every day 10am to 4pm except Christmas day), toilets, a couple of restaurants and a small shop.
6 – Durdle Door has a kiosk for snacks (10 am to 4 pm) and toilets in the car park. So there is no need to bring supplies, but on warm days the beaches are a great place for a picnic, so why not bring a blanket and chill out for a while.
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA
The Jurassic Coast – where Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door is located – is a 95 mile stretch of beautiful scenic coastline. With windswept walking paths, golden beaches, crumbling coves and some of the best pubs in the country, it’s an excellent choice for a getaway in the UK. Here are some more options in the area.
OLD HARRY ROCKS
Old Harry Rocks are towering limestone stack stranded out at sea as a result of the forces on nature. It’s a beautiful, photogenic spot to visit with several great way to explore the area. Read our guide to visiting Old Harry Rocks for more information.
The Jurassic Coast in Dorset has some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. Natural arches, limestone stacks and towering cliffs provide breathtaking natural views. We’ve put together 6 of our favourite walks in Dorset that capture the best of the area.
For more ideas on the coast, read our guide to the best things to do on the Jurassic Coast. Visit charming seaside towns, try some local craft beer and explore scenic coves and beautiful beaches.
SEVEN SISTERS CLIFFS
A little further afield, but packed with similar iconic scenery, the Seven Sisters Cliffs are a beautiful stretch of coastline in southern England where glistening white cliffs drop into the azure ocean. There’s a very popular route to take, but we think there’s a better way. Find all the details in our Seven Sisters walk guide.
WHERE TO STAY
While Lulworth Cove is a great day trip from London, it’s also a great place to spend a couple of days. There are a number of sleeping options at the beginning and end of the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk but in our opinion, it’s better to head a bit further afield.
All our recommendations for hotels, huts & B&Bs are on our guide to accommodation on the Jurassic Coast, but here are some of our picks.
OUT IN THE WILD
SMUGGLERS INN, OSMINGTON
If you want an old English pub in a tiny village away from everywhere then this is the place. It’s just meters from the Dorset Coast.
The south coast of England is a great part of the world to explore. With scenic coastal hikes, a vibrant craft beer scene and some very cool places to stay, it’s the perfect location for a weekend from London. But there are plenty more adventures to be had in the UK.
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