Geology of the Dorset Coast

Sunburst Sky at the Jurasic Dorset Coastline
Duration: 4 nights
Interests: Explore Nature
from £495pp £460pp

The rocks in Dorset record a staggering 185 million years of the Earth’s history across 95 miles of coastline – a genuine ‘Jurassic Park’. Every part of the coastline has a different story to tell from the folded anticline at Stair Hole to the wonderful result of erosion at Lulworth Cove. Then there’s the Jurassic oil-rich shale cliffs and bands of Purbeck limestone exposed at Kimmeridge Bay and the iconic chalk arch at Durdle Door which will one day collapse to form a sea stack. You’ll learn about the fascinating geology of The Isle of Portland and how the amazing 18-mile long pebble and shingle tombolo that is Chesil Beach was formed.

Holiday Highlights

  • Spend your days with like-minded geology enthusiasts
  • Gain an understanding of the region through its rock formations and features
  • Explore the area with your expert HF Holidays Leader

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
  • 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

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (better & best rooms from 1pm). Please join us for afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.

After a hearty breakfast we begin by examining a wonderful local landform, the picture-perfect Lulworth Cove with its crumpled rocks. Then we head for the iconic sea arch that is Durdle Door, followed by a visit to Kimmeridge Bay where there will be an opportunity to visit the newly opened fossil museum and look at the rocks along the coast.

Armed with a tasty picnic lunch, we head west to a high point on the Isle of Portland where we’ll soak up the excellent coastal views. We’ll then walk around a sculpture park that is set in a series of abandoned stone quarries with many interesting geological features, before visiting Portland Bill. Later in the day we’ll look more closely at the Chesil Beach tombolo, before ending at the spectacular golden-yellow cliffs close to Bridport.

Today we’ll search for fossils at Lyme Regis, and depending on the state of the tide and the cliffs, other localities along the coast. There is always plenty of interest to see in the rocks that have been freshly exposed by the winter storms, so this day is a voyage of discovery and a perfect finale to a brilliant holiday.

Depart after a leisurely breakfast

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.



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 3 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 22 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, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 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 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

Lulworth Cove.jpg

Getting to West Lulworth House

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

More Information

What to Bring

On Explore Nature holidays, you will be outdoors for the full day, so be sure to bring outdoor clothing appropriate to the season, including waterproofs. You will also need strong and comfortable footwear with good tread. If there's warm weather, a sun hat, suncream and sunglasses may be useful.

You may also wish to bring a camera, water bottle or a thermos flask.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.
Non-member associate fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Version Price Status Trip Notes Book
21 Oct - 25 Oct Geology £495 £460 Save £35 Per Person Book Now
01 Jun - 05 Jun Geology £599 £574 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
17 Aug - 21 Aug Geology £599 £574 Save £25 Per Person Book Now
4 nights
Explore Nature

4 nights from £495pp £460pp

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