Outdoor Escapes at Lulworth Cove
Guided Walking for guests escaping the working day
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Meadows & hills
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.
Our Outdoor Escapes are an ideal way to end the working week. Enjoy a few days away, or a longer holiday, with people on the same wavelength as you.
During the day you can enjoy our usual choice of 3 guided walks, a great way to explore the great British countryside - take it easy on our easier walks, or relish the challenge of our longer routes. In the evening relax with likeminded guests, enjoy a glass of wine at the bar, or relax in the lounge with new-found friends. For those that wish they'll also be informal evening activities on offer; perhaps a team quiz, or talk from a local wildlife ranger.
In the heart of the Jurassic Coast, snuggled above the shimmering waters of Lulworth Cove, our newly refurbished Country House is the perfect base for exploring this glorious coastline. On our Outdoor Escapes, guided walking holidays you'll visit fossil-rich beaches, lofty cliffs and the iconic arch of Durdle Door.
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.
Saturday: South Purbeck Coast
Enjoy glorious walks along a dramatic section of Dorset's Jurassic Coast. Our walks visit the headland of St Aldhelm's Head, and Dancing Ledge, before finishing in the Victorian seaside resort of Swanage.
Easier Walk: Starting from the village of Langton Matravers, in the heart of the quarrying area, we will head south to the coast at Dancing Ledge, a popular spot for rock climbers. From there we will head east along the South West Coast Path to finish our walk in Swanage. 6 miles (9.5km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: This will start in the picturesque village of Worth Matravers, heading out to the coast at St. Aldhelm’s Head. From there the route follows the South West Coast Path, passing old quarries and Dancing Ledge to reach Swanage. 9 miles (15km) with 1,200 feet (380m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: This walk starts further west in the village of Kingston and goes south to join the coast at Houns-tout. From there we follow the South West Coast Path along this dramatic section of the coast, passing Chapman’s Pool before reaching St. Aldhelm’s Head and continuing to Swanage. 12 miles (19km) with 1,800 feet (540m) of ascent.
Sunday: Lulworth Range Walks
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. Much of this area is now a military firing range, with public access permitted on selected days.
Easier Walk: This walk leaves from the house to explore part of the military ranges which contain some of the area’s most dramatic scenery and the area above and around the village of West Lulworth. 6.5 miles (10km) with 1,050 feet (320m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: This walk starts further along the coast on the military ranges, goes through the deserted village of Tyneham and follows the South West Coast Path back to Lulworth Cove. 7 miles (11.5km) with 1,350 feet (400m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: We start inland making our way to the coast at Kimmeridge. From there we follow the South West Coast Path onto the military ranges, picking up the same route as the Medium Walk at Tyneham. 8.5 miles (14km) with 1,700 feet (520m) of ascent.
Tuesday: Corfe Castle to Studland
Today's walks offer a stunning variety of inland and coastal scenery. All the walks follow the rolling chalk downland between Corfe Castle and Studland, with its panoramic views north over Poole Harbour, and south over the Purbeck Peninsula. Add in beautiful heathland, and the dramatic chalk cliffs at Old Harry Rocks and you have walks full of scenic interest.
Easier Walk: Starting at Corfe Castle village we will follow the broad crest of the chalk ridge that runs along the Isle of Purbeck to the coast, with outstanding views in all directions, finishing in the village of Studland. 6.5 miles (10.5km) with 1,000 feet (320m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: We start by following the same route as the Easier Walk but then go over Godlingstone Heath and along the beach at Studland, to reach Studland village via the Agglestone Rock. 8 miles (13km) with 1,300 feet (390m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: This walk begins in the village of Kingston looking down at Corfe Castle. The route goes over Corfe Common to reach the village, from where we follow the same route as the Easier and Medium Walks as far as Ballard Down. We continue, passing the chalk stacks of Old Harry, to reach Studland. 10.5 miles (17km) with 1,350 feet (420m) of ascent.
Wednesday: Cerne Abbas
Today’s walks give an opportunity to discover the quieter delights of rural Dorset. We head to the village of Cerne Abbas, famed for its 'giant', the figure of a naked man carved into the chalk hillside.
Easier Walk: This walk goes to the hamlet of Minterne Magna, ascends Minterne Hill and returns to the village of Cerne Abbas contouring below the carved giant. 6 miles (9.5km) with 800 feet (260m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: The Medium Walk goes through the village of Buckland Newton and picks up part of the Wessex Ridgeway, before following the same return route as the Easier Walk. 9.5 miles (15.5km) with 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: A circular walk from Cerne Abbas visiting Buckland Newton and Minterne Magna with splendid views of the Cerne and Sydling Valleys. The walk finishes with some of the best views of the Giant. 10.5 miles (16.5 km) with 1,500 feet (480m) of ascent.
Thursday: Durdle Door
All three walks follow sections of the South West Coast Path along this dramatic section of the Jurassic Coast west of Lulworth with its rollercoaster chalk cliffs. As the routes head back to Lulworth Cove they pass the iconic sea arch of Durdle Door.
Easier Walk: This starts in the hamlet of West Chaldon and heads south to join the coast path above Ringstead Bay. From White Nothe we avoid the steep switchback of cliffs by staying on a higher level path. 5.5 miles (9km) with 1,050 feet (320m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: This walk starts further west at Osmington, reaching the coast at Osmington Mills to pick up the South West Coast Path. After White Nothe the path follows the roller coaster chalk cliff paths to Lulworth Cove. 7 miles (11.5km) with 1,300 feet (400m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: This walk begins at Weymouth and follows the dramatic South West Coast Path all the way back to Lulworth Cove. 10 miles (16km) with 1,800 feet (540m) of ascent.
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.