5-Night Dorset Coast Christmas & New Year Guided Walking Holiday

Serene South Dorset Beach and Sea at Sunset
Duration: 5 nights
Type: Guided Walking
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £869pp

The Dorset Coast is beautiful all year round but there are some even more spectacular sights around winter. Spend the festive season on the Dorset Coast, socialising and walking in this beautiful place. There’s something magical about walking in winter. Whether it’s the frosty footsteps, the clear crisp air, or the breathtaking views, it’s a wonderful time to go walking. Join our festive breaks and choose from a guided walking holiday in the company of one of our knowledgeable leaders. We pull out all the stops on our festive holidays, with fabulous food, lots of seasonal entertainment and great walks and activities. The walks are tailored to the time of year and will remain flexible to suit the weather conditions. Each day three grades of walk will be offered. So wrap up warm, lace up your boots and go for an invigorating walk.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy Christmas or New Year at our new Country House at Lulworth Cove
  • Plenty of exercise to walk off the festive excesses
  • A choice of guided walks along the spectacular Dorset Coast
  • Just relax, soak up the party atmosphere, enjoy wonderful festive fare and leave all the organising to us
  • Evening activities include dancing, quizzes and carol evenings 

What’s included

  • Wonderful meals – full selection at breakfast, your choice of picnic lunch, an excellent evening meal and plenty of festive treats
  • A programme of organised walks and activities
  • The services of experienced HF Holidays’ guides
  • A packed programme of evening activities offering something festive for everyone, including some old HF favourites
  • Any transport to and from the walks

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.

Option 1 - The Priests' Way

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 650 feet (200m)

In Summary: Beginning in Langton Matravers we follow the medieval Priests' Way to Durlston Country Park, a cliff top nature reserve. We also follow part of the South West Coast Path to Swanage. Why not warm up with coffee and cake at Durlston? 

Highlight: Industrial heritage of stone quarrying and The Great Globe in Durlston Country Park.


Option 2 - Dancing Ledge

Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)

In Summary: We walk from the picturesque village of Worth Matravers down to the coast and along the famous South West Coast Path to Dancing Ledge. We then go on to follow the Priests' Way to Durlston Country Park and on to Swanage.  

Highlight: The delightful village of Worth Matravers and the old quarry at Dancing Ledge.


Option 3 - Purbeck Coast

Distance: 10½ miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 1,400 feet (440m)

In Summary: Walking out towards the coast above Chapman's Pool from the village of Kingston we take in the highlights of the South Purbeck Peninsula including Dancing Ledge, the Priests' Way and Durlson Country Park. We will be ready for a warm coffee or a pint once we reach Swanage. 

Highlight: The “Cathedral of the Purbecks” at Kingston and the spectacular views over the Encombe estate.


Option 4 - 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 1 - West Down, Scratchy Bottom and Durdle Door.

Distance: 5 miles (8 km)

Ascent: 900 feet (280m)

In Summary: This walk leads us up 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 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 - Above West Lulworth and St Catherine's Church.

Distance: 9 miles (15km)

Ascent: 1,600 feet (480m)

In Summary: A circular walk that leads us past Daggers Gate and then further west before we join the undulating South West Coast Path on our way back towards Durdle Door and West Lulworth.

Highlight: Spectacular coastal traverse with far reaching views out over the English Channel.

Option 1 - Swyre Head

Distance: 6.5 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 650ft (200m)

In Summary: Walk from Kingston villlage to the viewpoint of Swyre Head. We then head inland through the village of Church Knowle and along the chalk ridge to Corfe Castle.

Highlight: Explore the village of Corfe Castle and its iconic ruined 11th Century namesake. Seek out the quaint pubs and sweet shop, or visit the restored railway.

Option 2 - 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 3 - Kingston to Corfe Castle

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,020 feet (320m)

In summary: We will also start from Kingston, but we first head out towards Kimmeridge to take in Swyre Head and on to Steeple to take advantage of the views along Ridgeway Hill before descending to Corfe Castle.   

Highlight: The impressive Ridgeway Hill from Steeple to Corfe castle.


Option 1 - 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 2 - Above Kimmeridge To Lulworth

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (400m)

In Summary: Descend from the chalk downs to the remains of the village of Tyneham. Our walk to Lulworth Cove has two steep ascents as we cross the high cliffs of the military ranges.

Highlight: The atmospheric, deserted village of Tyneham, requisitioned in 1943 to make way for the military training range.


Option 3 - Kimmeridge to Lulworth

Distance: 8½ miles (14km)

Ascent: 1,700 feet (520m)

In Summary: Follow the coastal path from Kimmeridge to Tyneham, then on over the dramatic cliffs of the military ranges back to Lulworth Cove.

Highlight: The coastline to the east of Lulworth Cove is particularly impressive. Expect some steep ascents and descents as you follow the undulating coastal path over the chalk cliffs.


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.

In Scotland and Wales physical distancing is still in place so this will be adhered to indoors and outdoors. Guests will need to wear face masks in public areas except when eating and drinking. The Scottish and Welsh governments are reviewing their guidance in August and we will adapt our measures in line with any updated guidance at this time.

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.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. 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).

At this time the evening social programme has been replaced by individual or small group walks talks which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options with leaders. All of our swimming pools have opened as planned, except for Brecon and Glen Coe, which have delayed pool re-openings. Guests may need to book a time when they wish to swim (30-minute slots) if the number of guests exceeds the pool capacity. 

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


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 Good, Better and Best 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 ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ 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.


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.


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

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.


  • Walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)


  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner
  • Sun hat and sunscreen (we may just get lucky and have some festive sunshine!)

Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
23 Dec - 28 Dec 2021
5 Christmas £925 Available Trip Notes Book Now
28 Dec - 02 Jan 2021
5 Christmas £869 Available Trip Notes Book Now
23 Dec - 28 Dec 2022
5 Christmas £1,019 Available Trip Notes Book Now
28 Dec - 02 Jan 2022
5 Christmas £929 Available Trip Notes Book Now
5 nights
Guided Walking
Walking Grade:

5 nights from £869pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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