Dorset Coast Path Guided Trail
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Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Enjoy dramatic scenery and fossil-filled beaches as you journey along England’s first Natural World Heritage Site – the spectacular ‘Jurassic Coast’ in Dorset. Our route follows the final section of the South West Coast Path, from the Golden Cap to Studland Bay, and you’ll stay at the stunning horseshoe cove at Lulworth.
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.
Day 1: Arrival Day
Day 2: Golden Cap to West Bexington
We start from Golden Cap, the highest point on the South Coast of Great Britain (626ft). On a clear day we can enjoy views across Lyme Bay and as far as Dartmoor. We will walk along the famous Jurassic Coast into the pretty village of Seatown, before the next hill takes us over to West Bay. Beaches and sandstone cliffs take us past Burton Bradstock to the start of the 18-mile long Chesil Beach at West Bexington. 11 miles (18km), with 1,350 feet (420m) of ascent.
Day 3: West Bexington to Upwey
From West Bexington we take the Inland Coast Path section (also known as the South Dorset Ridgeway) via Abbotsbury with views out towards Chesil Beach and a chance to explore one of the UK’s most important ancient ceremonial landscapes. Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age remains and constructions line our route. We pass the National Trust monument to the Battle of Trafalgar hero, Vice-Admiral Hardy, on its exposed setting above Portesham. We finish at the village of Upwey, north of Weymouth. 11 miles (17.5km), with 1,300 feet (400m) of ascent.
Day 4: Weymouth to Lulworth Cove
We start this section from the outskirts of this seaside resort made popular by regular visits from King George III. The path goes over grassy cliff tops to reach the old smugglers’ haunt at Osmington Mills. From there we continue to Ringstead Bay and ascend to White Nothe cottages, the highest coastguard cottages on the Dorset Coast. The landscape becomes more dramatic as the path descends and ascends steeply three times before passing the famous arch of Durdle Door and finally descends with wonderful views into Lulworth Cove. 10 miles (16km), with 1,800 feet (550m) of ascent.
Day 5: Lulworth Cove to Kingston
Walking from Lulworth around the Cove we ascend on to the Lulworth Army Ranges. Access to the path here is restricted to when there is no live firing. We pass above the Fossil Forest and the attractive bay at Mupe and then follow a dramatic and scenic section of steep cliffs to Warbarrow Bay and Tyneham, the deserted village, leaving the Ranges at Kimmeridge Bay. We then follow the Kimmeridge Ledges towards the picturesque village of Kingston, with its fine church and traditional pub. 12 miles (20km), with 2,500 feet (750m) of ascent.
Day 6: Kingston to Durlston
From Kingston, we rejoin the South West Coast Path to take us first to the beautiful headland of St Aldhelm’s Head – a stunning start to the day. We reach the cliffs of Dancing Ledge, interspersed with caves. Our route then progresses along white cliffs to Durlston Head and the Visitor Centre. 9 miles (15km), with 1,450 feet (440m) of ascent.
Day 7: Durlston to South Haven Point
From Durlston we continue to Peveril Point and into the Victorian resort of Swanage. After following Swanage Bay and ascending on to the Downs, the iconic sea stacks of Old Harry mark our final stretch of the coast path past Studland and on to South Haven Point, the end of the South West Coast Path. 9 miles (14.5km), with 925 feet (280m) of ascent.
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors.
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.
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