Butterflies & Wildflowers of the Dorset Coast
Enjoy a week with a wildlife focus on chalk downs, heathland and coast
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Meadows & hills
Butterflies and wildflowers are inextricably linked by the need for particular caterpillar food plants. During this fascinating and colourful holiday we shall give equal attention to identifying both butterflies and flowers of chalk downs, heathland and the Portland limestone.
- Visit a variety of local environments in search of wildflowers and butterflies to identify
- Small, sociable group of like-minded guests
- Enjoy leisurely walks with frequent stops to enjoy our surroundings
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
- A full programme of excursions and visits
- Guidance from a knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, to ensure you get the most from your holiday
- All essential transport on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach or other mode of transport, e.g. boat
- Entrance fees to venues included as part of your holiday’s itinerary
West Lulworth House has a wonderful elevated location just 200 yards from the sea. Its elevated location overlooking Lulworth Cove allows spectacular views from many of the rooms, the garden and the outdoor swimming pool. The house has undergone major investment with the completion of a new lounge and dining room
We have 20 newly refurbished bedrooms at West Lulworth House, many with wonderful views down to the sea.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better & best rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea.
On our Natural World holidays we spend most of the day outdoors, exploring by mini-coach or on foot, walking up to 6 miles (9.5km) each day, with plenty of stops to see butterflies and wildflowers.
Durlston Country Park
Jumping in at the deep end, we head for Swanage to one of Dorset’s finest flower and butterfly reserves. On the limestone pastures a vast range of calcicole flowers - including 9 species of orchid - grow and a dozen species of butterfly could be flying, including small blue and the gorgeous Adonis blue.
The Purbeck Heaths
The major heathland reserves of Hartland Moor and Stoborough Heath encompass acidic and alkaline soils with grassland, heath and bog, a total contrast to Purbeck’s limestone habitats with a whole different range of plants. Butterflies will be fewer but should include green hairstreak.
Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
Chesil Beach and the Portland Quarries
The unique physical feature of the Chesil Beach will give us a chance to see some of the shingle specialist plants which grow there, before we drive to the top of the Isle of Portland where old limestone quarries provide excellent sites for plants and butterflies, including ivy broomrape and silver-studded blue.
For our second heathland walk we visit Studland, the most important area of dune heath in southern Britain. Because the heath is on sand the plants are quite different from Sunday’s, being mainly salt- and drought-tolerant species. The most frequent butterflies are those of open ground such as small heath, but silver-studded blues could be out here too.
The sun-drenched south-facing chalk escarpment of Ballard Down, home to a wide variety of lime-loving plants, is considered one of Dorset’s finest sites. Butterflies abound, and the down features in the National Trust’s top twenty butterfly sites. This is the perfect place to finish our wonderful holiday, with views of Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast.
Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.
What to bring
- Outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs
- Strong, comfortable footwear with a good tread is essential
- Binoculars and (if you have one) a close-focussing monocular
- Thermos flask (optional)
- Recommended field guide (optional) – Wildguides British Butterflies and either the Wildflower Key (Francis Rose) or Collins Pocket Guide (Fitter, Fitter and Blamey)
Lulworth Cove is a justifiably popular destination, with day-trippers and holiday-makers drawn by the stunning local scenery. The Cove itself is a near-perfect circle which has been carved by the soft rocks by the waves. A 20-minute walk along the cliff path will take you to Durdle Door, the area's other geological wonder. This impressive natural sea arch is developed in more resistant limestones. The free Heritage Centre next to the public car park is well worth a visit during your stay.
Facilities in Lulworth Cove are limited to a selection of pubs, cafés and souvenir shops. The nearest towns are Wareham, Dorchester and Weymouth, which all have a good selection of banks, chemists and supermarkets.
During your visit to Dorset you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The Tank Museum
The Tank Museum at Bovington, 20 minutes' drive north of Lulworth Cove, houses a particularly impressive collection of tanks from around the world. Trace the history from the tank's origins in the First World War to the present day. www.tankmuseum.org
Situated just a couple of miles inland from the cove, Lulworth Castle is a 17th century mock medieval castle that was once the heart of an extensive estate. Having been gutted by fire in 1929 it was derelict for many years, but has since been completely renovated. www.lulworth.com/castle
The iconic ruins of Corfe Castle stand guard over a natural gap in the Purbeck Hills, about 30 minutes' drive from Lulworth. Dating from the 11th century it is now maintained by the National Trust. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle
Ride on this lovingly restored branch line through the glorious Purbeck countryside. Steam hauled trains run throughout the year. You may want to leave your car in the Park & Ride at Norden, about 30 minutes' drive from Lulworth, and use the railway to visit the attractive seaside resort of Swanage. www.swanagerailway.co.uk
Located near Wool, 20 minutes' drive north of Lulworth Cove, Monkey World is a great family attraction. Orginally set up to rescue mistreated monkeys from overseas, it is now home to a huge collection of primates of all shapes and sizes. www.monkeyworld.org
Brownsea Island is located in the middle of Poole Harbour – boats depart from Poole Quay and Sandbanks, about 40 minutes' drive from Lulworth Cove. The island is now a nature reserve, managed by the National Trust and one of last remaining places to spot red squirrels in the UK. Brownsea is also famous as the location of the world's first scout camp in 1907. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownsea-island
Weymouth is a fine Regency seaside resort with an ever-popular beach and bustling harbour.
Thomas Hardy’s Cottage
The writer Thomas Hardy was one of Dorset’s most celebrated residents who used the local towns and villages around Dorchester as the setting for many of his novels. His birthplace near Dorchester is around 30 minutes' drive away and now owned by the National Trust. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardy-country
Athelhampton House & Gardens
Located near Dorchester, about 30 minutes' drive away, Athelhampton House is a fine Tudor building dating from 1485. The surrounding formal gardens are also impressive and were built between 1891 - 1899. www.athelhampton.co.uk
This fine country house and estate is located near Wimborne Minster, about 45 minutes' drive from Lulworth Cove. Dating from 1665, and now managed by the National Trust, it houses a fine collection of antiques, with many notable examples from the Middle East and Egypt. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy
Kingston Lacey image ©National Trust Images/Chris Lacey, Swanage Railway image © Brian Robert Marshall
Travel to Lulworth Cove
Our address is: West Lulworth House, Lulworth Cove, Dorset BH20 5RJ
We recommend getting the train to Wool and then a taxi transfer to West Lulworth House. However if you are planning on driving, please note that you can only park in a public car park. Please check the process below.
The nearest railway station is at Wool. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The 5 mile journey from Wool railway station takes approximately 15 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £13 per 4 seat taxi. The taxi company will arragen shared taxis wherever possible. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the West Lulworth House Manager.
The recommended route is via Bere Regis and Wool – although slightly longer this avoids the traffic through Bournemouth and Poole. From Bere Regis follow signs to Wool. At Wool cross the level crossing and turn left following signs to Lulworth Cove and West Lulworth. Continue for a further 4 miles to Lulworth Cove. As you enter Lulworth Cove Village, there is a slip road on your left to West Lulworth House. Park on the slip road if you would like to take advantage of our bag drop off service, which is available from 10am to 6.30pm, on arrival and departure days. You can then continue to the public car park at the end of the slip road to park your car.
This car park is free for HF Holidays’ guests as long as book your car in with House staff within 30 minutes of arriving, failure to do this could result in a fine from the Lulworth Estate.
Travelling from overseas
If you're travelling from Europe the most convenient airport is at Southampton. From Southampton Airport Parkway station (adjacent to the airport terminal) there are direct trains every hour to Wool - journey time 1hr 20mins. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for details.
For most guests, travelling to either London Heathrow or London Gatwick airport is the best option. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for onward connections by train to Wool.
Russell is an experienced nature tour guide and has a great passion for all sorts of wildlife. After studying Animal Conservation at University, he was keen to offer relaxed and informative outdoor experiences that would bring people closer to the natural world. Following work as an Education Officer and Head of Education at a local animal centre and Blackpool Zoo, he now works in and around the North West running nature tours in a wide range of habitats, each with a unique cast of characters to enjoy.
Russell is an excellent leader. He is very knowledgeable on all aspects of the natural world. He knew the island and the exact areas where we were likely to find certain species. Russell was very professional, well organised and good company.
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person