Dorset Coast Path
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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 use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. 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.
Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available at no extra charge.
You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £10 extra per person per night.
All our Country Houses are tailored to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms.
West Lulworth House has recently been extended to provide a new lounge and dining room opening up onto a terrace with views over the cove. Free WiFi is available in the public rooms.
The house has a sunny south-facing garden and outdoor swimming pool (open in summer).
Complimentary parking for guests is available in the public car park opposite the house.
All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.
Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.
Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.
Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).
The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.
All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on local history from a local speaker or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.
Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.
Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.
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.
West Bexington to Elwell
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 Elwell, north of Weymouth. 12 miles (20km), with 1,300 feet (400m) of ascent.
A day without any walks programmed, giving you the opportunity to explore the local area independently
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.
Lulworth Cove to Worth Matravers
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 abandoned village, leaving the Ranges at Kimmeridge Bay. We then follow the Kimmeridge Ledges towards the picturesque village of Worth Matravers, with its village pond and traditional pub. 13 miles (21km), with 2,600 feet (800m) of ascent.
Worth Matravers to Studland Bay
From Worth Matravers, our final stretch around the Isle of Purbeck takes us first to the beautiful headland of St Aldhelm’s Head – a stunning start to the day. We reach the sheer cliffs of Dancing Ledge, interspersed with caves. Our route progresses along white cliffs then around Durlston Head and Peveril Point, into the Victorian resort of Swanage. After following Swanage Bay, the iconic sea stacks of Old Harry mark our final stretch of the coast path to Studland, with views towards Poole Harbour. 13 miles (21km), with 1,900 feet (580m) 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 waves into the soft rocks. 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 has been carved from the harder chalk rocks. 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
The nearest railway station is at Wool. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
The 5 mile journey from Wool railway station takes approximately 10 minutes. Pre-booked taxis cost approx £13 per taxi. 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. Pick up a parking permit from West Lulworth House.
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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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
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person