7-Night Dorset Coast Gentle Guided Walking Holiday

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Duration: 7 nights
Type: Gentle Walks
Walking Grade: 1 & 2

This easier variation of our best-selling Guided Walking holidays is the perfect way to enjoy a gentle exploration of the Dorset Coast. The choice of three guided walks includes a gentle easy walk of 3 or 4 miles. Explore the very best of the Dorset on our gentle guided walks. The coast is never far away, with the remarkable coastal path providing access to iconic limestone cliffs, rugged headlands, hidden bays and the famous arch at Durdle Door. Soak up the sea air and delight in the sweeping panoramas over the rolling Dorset hills. Join our friendly and knowledgeable guides who will bring this beautiful landscape to life.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy the remarkable coastal path and views of the iconic limestone cliffs, rugged headlands and hidden bays
  • Soak up the sea air and delight in the sweeping panoramas over the rolling Dorset hills
  • Let our knowledgeable leaders bring the surroundings to life
  • Spend the evenings enjoying the spectacular views from the terrace and outdoor swimming pool

What’s included

Whats Included:

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our Country House
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 5 days guided walking
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Herston Quarries to Swanage

Distance: 4 miles (6.5km)

Ascent: 560 feet (170 m)

In Summary: Starting from upper Herston we walk through the historic quarrying area on the outskirts of Swanage to visit Durlston Country Park which was originally created from the wealth deriving from the quarries. We walk on into Swanage with time to explore or take refreshment before regrouping for a further short walk to our coach.

Highlight: Durlston Castle (now the Jurassic Coast Visitor Centre) and the traditional Victorian seaside resort of Swanage with its beach, pier and steam railway.

 

Option 2 - Dancing Ledge

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 800 feet (240m)

In Summary: Walk from the village of Langton Matravers to the coast at Dancing Ledge, a popular spot for rock climbers. From here we head east along the South West Coast Path to the Swanage.

Highlight: There's time to explore the traditional seaside resort of Swanage with its beach, pier and steam railway.

Option 3 - St Aldhelm's Head

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Ascent: 1,200 feet (400m)

In Summary: Walk from the picturesque village of Worth Matravers to the coast at St. Aldhelm’s Head. From here the route follows the South West Coast Path, passing old quarries and Dancing Ledge to reach Swanage.

Highlight: With fine coastal walking throughout, there's much to enjoy on this stretch of the Jurassic Coast.


Option 1 - West Lulworth and the Bird’s Eye View

Distance: 2.8 miles (4.4km)

Ascent: 450 ft (135m)

In Summary: Walking from the house we explore West Lulworth village before a steady ascent of Bindon Hill to view Lulworth Cove from above, so that we can appreciate its scalloped shape and the wave action in the Cove.

Highlight: The “bird's eye view”.

Option 2 - Daggers Gate & the Top of Lulworth Cove

Distance: 5.25 miles (8.5km)

Ascent: 850 feet (260m)

In Summary: A circular walk that leads us past Daggers Gate, with its legendary tale. From here we head East along an inland ridge and hopefully are gifted with expansive views. We then ascend Bindon Hill for a Bird’s Eye View of Lulworth Cove, then back into West Lulworth.

Highlight: We hope to have stunning views above Lulworth. To the west the Isle of Portland and east to Worbarrow Tout and St Aldhelm’s Head.

Option 3 - Winfrith and Chaldon Herring

Distance: 9miles (15km)

Ascent: 1100ft (330m)

In Summary: Walking from the house we walk to Daggers Gate and continue North West across peaceful countryside to the quiet village of East Chaldon (sometimes called Chaldon Herring) then to the hamlet of West Chaldon. From there we turn South ascending steadily to the inland track that runs parallel to the coast but offers superb views out to sea.

Highlight: Stunning views from Portland to St Aldhelms Head.



Option 1 - Studland and Old Harry Rocks

Distance: 4 miles (6km)

Ascent: 500 feet (160m)

In Summary: On this circular walk from Studland we ascend steadily to the summit of Ballard Down from where we will have views over Swanage Bay before we turn towards Old Harry with views over Poole Harbour and (on a clear day) across to the Isle of Wight.  From Old Harry we return to Studland with opportunities there to explore or take refreshment. 

Don't miss: Stunning panoramic views of Poole Harbour and the opportunity to explore Studland.

Option 2 - Corfe Castle To Studland

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,050 feet (320m)

In Summary: Enjoy a stunning variety of inland and coastal scenery. Our walk from Corfe Castle to Studland follows the glorious chalk ridge along the spine of Purbeck peninsula, with the views getting ever more impressive as we near our destination.

Don’t miss: Walking atop the Downs is a real delight with panoramic views north over Poole Harbour, and south to the English Channel.

Option 3 - Chalk Downs & Heath

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m)

In Summary: Follow the chalk ridge from Corfe Castle heading towards the coast. Towards the end of the walk we cross the beautiful Godlingstone Heath, past the curious Agglestonne Rock, with the final stretch along the beach to Studland.

Don’t miss: Godlingstone Heath is a fascinating scenic contrast, and an excellent place to spot rare butterflies and lizards basking in the sand.


Option 1 - Kingston to Corfe Castle

Distance: 3 miles (5 km)

Ascent: 200 feet (55m) 

In Summary: After visiting “the cathedral of the Purbecks” we take a gently undulating route from Kingston, across Corfe Common to Corfe Castle where we should have time to explore the Castle (National Trust), the railway station or any of the other attractions before walking to the Castle Visitor Centre to board our bus.  

 

Don't miss: Time at the end of the walk to explore Corfe Castle.

 

Option 2 - Worth Matravers to Corfe Castle via Kingston

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Ascent: 600 feet (180m)

In Summary: 

This walk begins in Worth Matravers with it's picturesque duck pond, the opportunity to learn about Benjamin Jesty and to visit his grave. We then head west to the coast above the beautiful Chapmans Pool before turning inland to Kingston, from where we will have our first views of Corfe Castle. From here we walk across Corfe Common and into Corfe’ village.

Don't miss:

Worth Matravers, a quintessential Purbeck village and spectacular views of Chapman's Pool and Corfe Castle.

Option 3 - Langton Matravers via the Priests way to Corfe Castle

Distance: 9 miles (15km)

Ascent: 920 feet (280m)

In Summary: : This walk begins in Langton Matravers and uses part of the historic Priests Way. We turn south for superb coastal views joining a permissive path which leads us to an inland balcony route heading to Worth Matravers.

Highlight: Stunning coastal views along the way with the opportunity to explore Corfe Castle at the end of the walk.


Option 1 - Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove

Distance: 3.5 miles (5.5km)

Ascent: 680 feet (210m)

In Summary: We walk from the House, taking the quieter path West behind Hambury Tout before gently descending the hidden valley (and film location) that is Scratchy Bottom. Reaching the coast just beyond Durdle Door enables us to get the best views before we encounter day visitors to this iconic landform. We then follow the South West Coast Path back to Lulworth Cove.

Highlight: Admire the stunning views of Durdle door before returning, to explore Lulworth Cove

Option 2 - Above Lulworth and Durdle Door

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km) 

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In Summary: This walk leads us into the village of West Lulworth and gradually up into the hills. From here we head west towards Scratchy Bottom. We then join the South West Coast path and make our way back to Lulworth via Durdle Door.

Highlight: Aside from the potential for glorious views along the Coast Path. Scratchy bottom, although noted for its rather unusual name is a lovely chalk valley surrounded by farmland.

 

Option 3 - Dorset Coast Path

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,450 feet (440m)

In Summary: After a fairly level walk West, on the inland track, to reach Burning Cliff and St Catherine’s church, we have a fabulous walk along a section of the Dorset Coast Path as we return.

Highlight: The tiny church with its view over Weymouth Bay.

 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. 


West Lulworth House

Set just 200 yards from the sea, West Lulworth House has a highly coveted location just above the lake-still expanse of Lulworth Cove on Dorset’s iconic Jurassic Coast. Built in 1881 by the then Mayor of Weymouth, it has been perennially popular with walkers, twitchers and fossil hunters. As well as 22 delightful bedrooms, there’s a south facing garden and elevated terrace with cracking views, an outdoor heated pool and a pair of lovely lounges, perfect for a relaxing walking holiday exploring the Jurassic Coast. Step out the front door and on to the coast path. To the west lies Middle Beach and the picture perfect Durdle Door, with its massive rock arch and gently sloping beach. East lie the beaches of Mupe Bay and Arish Mell. But you’re here for the walking and what adventure you’ll have on the coast path or exploring the interior. Then there’s Lulworth Castle and the famous ruins of Corfe Castle standing guard over the Purbeck Hills to explore.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. All of our swimming pools are open, except for Glen Coe, which will not re-open this year. Swimming Pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the adjoining cottage. With 22 bedrooms, West Lulworth House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic, Premium and Superior Rooms to choose from: each room has an airy feel and the same cosy style. Opt though for Room 4 on the first floor of the main house for its weathered, pastel-painted wood panels and the lovely view looking over the cove, or squirrel yourself away in Room 23 in the cottage to the side of the main house for a large room with more sumptuous views to soak up.

All ‘Classic’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ and ‘Superior’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on the Dorset Coast or hunting for fossils, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the sunny south facing gardens or take a table on the terrace with matchless views of the cove below. Slip in to the heated outdoor pool (currently closed) then surface in time to retire to the cosy lounge and its squishy sofas and seafaring decorations to read up on the area or the attractive bar with its pretty tiled insets for a sundowner.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at West Lulworth House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might tuck in to flavours such as Dorset blue Vinney, pork fillet with Purbeck Cider and apple sauce and New Forest wild mushroom tagliatelle. Settle in under the large roof lantern or beside the panoramic double doors to dine in style – if the sun’s out they’ll even throw the doors open to let the outside in.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for West Lulworth House

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Getting to West Lulworth House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

What to bring:

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT

  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner,
  • Thermos flask for hot drink,
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed)

OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents
  • Insect repellent,
  • Sun hat,
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Camera

Guest Reviews

Duration:
7 nights
Type:
Gentle Walks
Walking Grade:
1

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

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