Walking the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast in England is one of the most famous outdoor areas in England, and it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Walking the Jurassic Coast is a wonderful way to spend time, and there are plenty of jaw-dropping places to see along the coast. Truth be told, there are so many things to see in the area that you could spend a month exploring it in-depth.
From Durdle Door, a massive natural arch over the sea, to the long sandy beach of Chesil beach stretching on for miles and miles, you’re definitely in for a treat.
Where is the Jurassic Coast?
The Jurassic Coast is located in the South of England. It goes from Exmouth all the way east to Studland Bay.
The whole coast stretches over 96 miles (154km), and you can see below how it looks on the map. Walking the Jurassic Coast can be done over a week or split into several sections.
Jurassic Coast Walks
The Jurassic Coast stretches to nearly 100 miles, and as you’d expect, there are plenty of hikes you can do along the coast.
If you’re game, you can go for a massive Jurassic Coast walk from Exmouth to Studland Bay, covering the entire coast. You’ll see all of the sights on the way, and this will undoubtedly be an incredible experience.
If you don’t have a full week in front of you, or if you’re not ready for such a challenge, don’t worry. You don’t have to walk the entire coast to see interesting things. In fact, you can pick only a handful of hikes, to choose the ones that look best for you, and that will fit your schedule.
Here are the best hikes in the area:
Let’s look at these hikes in more detail, and get ready for walking the Jurassic Coast!
Durdle Door Hike
This one is probably the most famous Jurassic coast hike.
Durdle Door is a natural arch over the sea, created by water and wind eroding the rock for thousands of years. It’s one of the most famous stone arches in the world, and I bet your jaw will drop when you’ll see this natural beauty in person.
Add to this a beautiful sand and shingle beach, and you’ve got a very popular spot on the coast!
The hike to get to Durdle Door is actually pretty short: drive to the Durdle Door car park, and park your car there.
Then you simply follow the path that leads down to the sea. It starts with a steep path, all the way to the edge of the cliff. Then you’ll see steps, that will take you all the way down. It only takes around 15 minutes to reach the sea right in front of Durdle Door.
When you’re hiking down, you’ll pass in front of Man O’War Beach, a beautiful cove on the other side of Durdle Door. You can also hike down to the sea on that side, and you’ll be greeted by an incredible view, that makes for epic photos.
Once on the beach in front of Durdle Door, you can hike along the beach, and if you’re there in summer you can hike until you find a spot away from the crowds where you can sit down and chill for a while.
You can also see Durdle Door from another perspective; instead of walking down the stairs to the beach, take a right when facing the sea and take the trail that goes on top of the cliffs. This is the S W Coast Path, a trail that stretches across the whole Jurassic Coast.
From this trail, on top of the cliffs, you’ll have a different view of Durdle Door, from up top.
When you’re ready to leave, simply hike back towards Durdle Door, and climb the small hill leading to the car park.
Lulworth Cove Hike
Another great hike in the area is Lulworth Cove hike.
Lulworth Cove is, as the name gives it away, a cove on the Jurassic Coast. This white pebble beach cove is located right next to Durdle Door, furthest east on the coast.
There are 2 main hikes in Lulworth Cove: hiking from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove, and hiking from Lulworth Cove to the Fossil Forest.
Hiking from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove
One of the popular ways of walking the Jurassic Coast is to hike from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove on the S W Coast Path.
The hike takes around 30 minutes, and it’s pretty straightforward: you only have to follow the trail along the edge of the cliff.
The part of the trail from Durdle Door has collapsed in the past years, so you should start your hike from the Durdle Door car park.
As you get closer to Lulworth Cove, you’ll reach the Stair Hole, an interesting geological marvel on the other side of the cove.
Hiking from Lulworth Cove to the Fossil Forest
Once you’re in Lulworth Cove, whether you hiked from Durdle Door or simply drove there, you can keep going on the S W coast path to the Fossil Forest.
You can either go down to the beach, walk all around the cove on the beach, then climb up on the other side; or you can follow the S W coast path to go back up on the cliff, then around the cove.
When you get to the other side, the first thing you’ll notice is a truly wonderful view of Lulworth Cove, from the top of the cliff. Take a minute standing there, and take in the view.
When you’re ready to move on, keep walking on the path and you’ll soon reach the Fossil Forest.
What’s the Fossil Forest? It’s a place where you’ll find Jurassic coast fossils, all that is left from a 145 million years old forest.
Worbarrow Bay Hike
If we move further east on the Jurassic Coast, we’ll reach another of the main hikes in the area, the Worbarrow Bay Hike.
Just like for Lulworth Cove, you can either hike this Jurassic coast path from the car park, or hike from another place along the coast.
Hike from Lulworth Cove
The first option is the hike from Lulworth Cove along the coast on the S W coast path. The hike takes around 1h40 from Lulworth Cove, and 1h10 from the Fossil Forest.
It’s a long hike, but you’ll pass in front of many interesting things on the way, such as Mupe Bay beach and Arish Mell.
As you get close to Worbarrow Beach, you’ll get to Flower’s Barrow, a stone hut on top of the cliff, overlooking the entire bay. It’s the best viewpoint in all the area, and I’m sure you’ll be amazed by the view!
Once you’re getting tired of the view (more like when you need to keep going), you can hike down on the very steep trail towards the beach. When you’re at the beach, you can keep going further on the path, climb the small hill, and you’ll find a beautiful cove on the other side.
Hike from Tyneham
If you don’t want to hike too much, you can simply drive to Tyneham, a small village on the coast that is now a ghost village.
There is a big car park in the village where you can leave your car, and make your way towards the beach. It’s a nice paved path, and it only takes 20 minutes to reach the beach.
When you’re on the beach, you can get all the way to the top of the cliff to reach Flower’s Barrow if you want, but be warned that it’s a steep climb.
Old Harry Rocks Hike
Now let’s move on to another Jurassic trail, the Old Harry Rocks hike.
Unlike the previous hikes, you can’t really get there by hiking along the coast from another place. I mean technically you can, but hiking from Worbarrow Bay to Old Harry Rocks on the S W coast path will take you around 7 hours.
The best way to get to Old Harry Rocks is to drive to Studland, the eastern part of the Jurassic Coast. Park your car in the village, then head to the beach. When you’re in front of the sea, go to the right until you reach the S W coast path.
From there, it’s a short hike: it will take you around 20 minutes on a nice path to reach the edge of the cliff.
Old Harry Rocks is the name given to 3 rock formations in the middle of the sea, right off the coast. It’s a pretty impressive spot, and one of the most famous in the area.
When you get to the destination, you can keep walking down the S W coast path to discover more interesting rock formations along the coast.
And if you have some more time to spare, you can also walk in the other direction from Studland: the Studland beach is a sandy beach that goes on for miles, and it’s a good place to walk in the sand with your loved one, feet in the water.
Portland Bill Lighthouse to Chesil Beach
And finally the last hike of this guide, the hike from Portland Bill Lighthouse to Chesil Beach.
This Jurassic coast mighty hike starts at the southern tip of the Isle of Portland.
There you’ll find a beautiful red & white lighthouse, an interesting feature among this rocky landscape.
Right next to the lighthouse is the first stop of the hike, the Pulpit Rock. It’s a pretty impressive rock formation in the sea, and I could stand there for hours watching the waves crash on the massive rock.
Once you’re ready to move on, start hiking on the S W coast path to the north. The first leg of this hike will take you 45 minutes, and you’ll reach the second stop, Blacknor Fort.
Blacknor Fort is a fort built on the edge of the cliff, and it’s a great place to rest mid way on this hike.
The final leg of the hike takes 30 minutes, and will get you to the final spot: Chesil Beach. As you walk on the trail, you’ll see appear before you a huge stretch of sand, continuing seemingly infinitely in the horizon. Chesil Beach is a very long beach, going on for 18 miles (29km), and the view from the top of the hill at Tout Quarry sculpture park is sure to take your breath away.
If you want to hike some more, you can go down to the beach, and hike in the sand along the sea.
Where to Stay on the Jurassic Coast
Unless you’re planning to go full camping mode and sleep outside in your tent, you’ll need to find a place to sleep in between your hikes. I’ve included below a few recommendations for great places to stay on the Jurassic Coast, where you’ll be able to rest your legs before going for the next walk.
Driftwood B&B Weymouth: this B&B in Weymouth is right next to Chesil Beach, and it’s hard to find better quality for such a great price (oh and breakfast is included, too!). To check prices click here
Lulworth Lodge: this 4 star hotel is right in Lulworth Cove, with a view on the beach. One of the nicest places to stay for easy access to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove. To check prices click here
Swanage Haven Boutique Guest House: this boutique Guest House is a 5 star B&B, and it’s the closest you can get to Old Harry Rocks; perfect to start your hike there! To check prices click here
So there you have them, the best hikes on the Jurassic Coast! Walking the Jurassic Coast is for sure a fun experience, and whether you decide to hike the whole coast from end to end and see everything, or simply hike some of the main hikes, you’ll have a wonderful time, without a shadow of a doubt.