Explore the Dorset Coast – The Jurassic Coast

We invite you to explore Dorset’s Jurassic Coast


The Dorset coastline runs from the sandy beaches of Bournemouth to the East Devon border. A millennia in the making, this rare coastline is dotted with dinosaur footprints and geographical marvels, earning it the title of the Jurassic Coast.

durdle door on the dorset coast

Durdle Door at sunset.

The UK boasts only 25 World Heritage Sites, and the Jurassic Coast holds the distinction of being the first ‘natural’ World Heritage Site, making it the sole coastline in the UK to receive this status. What makes this coastline so exceptional? It offers an almost uninterrupted timeline spanning the Mesozoic Era, encompassing the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous ages, totaling 185 million years of coastal history. The Jurassic Coast showcases natural marvels such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, providing laypeople with breathtaking geographical wonders, extensive sandy beaches, fossils, and a rugged coastline.

Furthermore, several internationally renowned fossil sites are part of the Jurassic Coast. Geologists and geomorphologists consider this coast one of the world’s most significant sites for teaching and research. The rocks within the World Heritage Site are arranged from oldest to youngest as you move from west to east. This arrangement is somewhat unusual, as these rock layers originally formed atop one another. If they had remained undisturbed, we would have had to drill deep into the Earth to observe them. However, around 100 million years ago, massive tectonic forces tilted the rock layers, revealing the older rocks and creating a continuous sequence along the coast—an extraordinary event that allows us to witness these layers today.

burton bradstock coastline

Burton Bradstock Beach

Dorset Coastal Cottages

thatched dorset holiday cottages

Jurassic Fossil Hunting

fossil hunting at kimmeridge

Dorset Coasts Geographical Features.


Lyme Regis & Charmouth

These closely linked areas are world famous for their fossils.

Lyme Regis has a lovely pebble beach where you can enjoy a stroll along the promenade, which is home to antique shops, crystal shops, eateries and ice cream parlours.  Parking is available in the town.  From the main car park you can walk along the coastal path, with fantastic views back to Charmouth, freshwater bay and Lyme Regis beach.

Charmouth is a lovely little village with good eating pubs and a fossil beach to explore.

Chesil Beach

Finest barrier beach in Europe.  The beach protects Weymouth Bay from the Portland race.  Its not suitable for batheing but its a great spot for fishing and walking.  The beach links Wyke Regis and Portland.

chesil beach lit up

Durdle Door

The Jurassic Coast harbors the world-famous, breathtaking natural arch, located at its heart. Visitors can walk from the car park to the beach, though there are numerous steps to navigate, and spend a leisurely day on the pebble beach. Please be aware that this beach does not have any restroom facilities. Durdle Door represents a highly unusual natural landmark. Ordinarily, limestone, which constitutes the arch, rests horizontally. However, the powerful geological forces that shaped the Alps extended to Dorset, causing the stone to become steeply vertical. Subsequently, the softer rock beneath eroded, giving rise to the arch we observe today. Kayakers also frequent this location.

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove is a quintessential location for the study of different rates of erosion in the formation of bays and headlands. It is also a beautiful and popular tourist destination.  The same forces which created Durdle Door also created the Cove with layer upon layer of Jurrasic rocks on display.

You can take a rib ride from Lulworth and take a trip along the Jurassic Coast.

lulworth cove with its jurassic rock formations

Old Harry Rocks

Brilliant white chalk has been eroded into steep cliffs and the famous collection of sea stacks known as ‘Old Harry Rocks’.  There used to be an Old Harrys wife but this has sadly been eroded away.

old harry rocks formations near swanagr

The South West Coast Path

You can walk along the vast majority of the Jurassic Dorset coast, as the South West Coast Path ranks as the longest in England. Most individuals can relish the clifftop walks, but please remember not to approach the edge. These coastal walks provide excellent opportunities for bird watching, spotting dolphins, indulging in painting, and savoring the awe-inspiring beauty of the Jurassic coast. Be mindful that the paths may become slippery after rainfall, increasing the risk of landslides. To stay safe, stick to the marked tracks and keep dogs on leashes.

You can explore the Jurassic coast by bus if you hop on the X53, you can walk sections and then go back on the bus, a perfect day out.

Dorset Coast on TV.

​The Dorset Coast has served as a backdrop for major Hollywood blockbusters and television productions.

The award-winning series “Broadchurch” filmed in West Dorset and featured David Tennant and Olivia Coleman. This gripping thriller, written by Chris Chibnall, showcases some of the dramatic cliffs that West Dorset is renowned for.

In 2015, “The Big Blue,” hosted by River Cottage favorite Hugh Fearnly Whittingstall, aired on the BBC. The show was anchored from the top of Durdle Door in Dorset.

ITV1’s “Harbour Lives” was partially filmed in Dorset, exploring life by the sea. Ben Fogle ventured along the Jurassic coast, engaging with those who live and work by the sea.

Portland Harbour provided the setting for the film “The Boat that Rocked,” featuring Bill Nighy.

Lulworth Cove appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster “World War Z,” starring Brad Pitt. One of our diligent housekeepers, responsible for ensuring the cleanliness of the sea view cottages, waited all day in the rain to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood ‘A Lister.’

old harry sunset