One of the highlights from my English summer was a long weekend roadtrip with my friend Caro at the end of July. Each time we met at the pub I would always end up talking to her about the Jurassic Coast. It had been in my mind for yeeears and I'm so glad that I finally made this trip happen with my friend.
By the way, in case you're wondering what the Jurassic Coast is, here is a map:
It's basically a stretch of coast in South West England between Old Harry's Rocks near Swanage and Exmouth in East Devon. This section is 96 miles long which is about 155 kilometres. You could easily drive the Jurassic Coast in a day or two but this is really not the point, you should definitely take as much time as you can and get out there to do some walks. Here are few small hikes recommendations which were the highlights of this roadtrip. Are you ready?
Off we go in the Miniiii!
Old Harry's Rock circular walk
One of your first stops if you come from Bournemouth should be Studland where you can start a great circular walk. You can leave your car in South Beach carpark. This 1.5-2 hours walk will take you along the coast and give you spectacular views on white rocks and chalk formations rising from the water.
The first rocks you will encounter are called Old Harry Rocks. You might have seen impressive drone pictures of those three rock formations as they are all over Instagram these days! It would definitely be an ideal spot for a picnic.
The gorgeous Old Harry's Rocks
Then if you continue walking along the cliff you should soon see The Pinnacles which are two chalk formations just as impressive as Old Harry. The views there are quite spectacular, you will find some great photos ops... if unlike me you're not too scared to get close to the edge of the cliff !
A nice shot of the Pinnacles as the sun started to set
You need to keep walking straight through a fields with some fine views of the charming little town of Swanage on your left.
Some fine views of Swanage
When you reach a stone bench you should turn right down the hill towards Studland. There should also be a signpost but we completely missed it as it was on the ground! No panic!There seems to be quite a few locals walking along those cliffs so if you're unsure don't hesitate to ask them the way. Also this map was extremely helpful:
Old Harry's Rocks circular walk
In Studland you have the option to go for a drink at the authentic Bankes Arms pub once you complete your walk. It's a gorgeous little pub that also serves food just a few meters away from the South Beach car park.
Walk from the Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door
This is probably one of the most scenic parts of the Jurassic Coast but therefore the most touristic section so expect to come across more people especially in the peak season (between June and September.) Though I imagine it would still be really nice to explore during the colder months.This is a fairly easy walk which starts at Lulworth Cove car park.
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk
It should take you 30 minutes each way though you should really take your time to enjoy the spectacular scenery and you could even spend the whole day there exploring some hidden beaches. Before you start your walk towards Durdle door, make sure you take some time to walk on top of the cliffs all around the Lulworth Cove to admire the views.
The popular Lulworth Cove
We were really impressed with this landform and the beautiful beach. On top of that we were very lucky as the sun was shining – which didn't happen much in England this summer sadly! Once you've taken the scenery in head towards Durdle Door which is clearly indicated with a path quite easy to follow. There is a bit of an ascent just behind Lulworth Cove car park so just take it easy. The views are very spectacular especially on a sunny day with limestone cliffs all around.
The amazing way leading to Durdle Door
After 1.25 miles/2 kilometres, you will reach the iconic Durdle Door which is a natural limestone arch. A true beauty with awesome incredible all around.
The iconic Durdle Door attracting the crowd
The beach at Durdle Door was very busy but we walked passed the arch and the crowd along the beach and it became much quieter with this section of the beach pretty much for ourselves. We were very surprised at how clear the water was, none of us had seen such a beautiful beach in the UK before.
A fisherman at the end of the beach past Durdle Door
Unfortunately this is not a circular walk so once you enjoyed the beaches and cliffs around Durdle Door, time to head back to the car park and get to your next destination!
Circular walk West Bay to Hive Beach cafe
To be honest, we didn't have any expectations when we started this walk from West Bay in the middle of our Jurassic Coast roadtrip but it was actually a really beautiful one.
Lovely view on West Bay and its pretty beach
It's great because this is a circular hike which takes you through a variety of landscapes. It's 8 kilometers (5 miles) and it should take you a couple of hours to complete.
Circular walk between West Bay and Hive Beach Cafe
You will start at West Bay's charming harbour. You need to walk right out of town on Station Road and walk up the hill that will take you to a golf course – watch out for the golf balls!
Btw, on the way, mind the snakes!
The way is quite clear throughout. Once you get to the village of Burton Bradstock you need to start walking towards the sea and you will finally arrive at Hive Beach cafe, a lovely place to have a break with a coffee or/and a swim! The great thing is that you can walk back to West Bay walking all the way along the beach. Make sure you do it! The golden cliffs there are very different than the ones we got to see before.
Unique Bridport Sand Formation between Burton Bradstoke and West Bay
The sandstone there is very famous apparently and is called Bridport Sand formation which was formed during the early Jurassic Age!