The Dorset Coastline: 6 Must See Locations
Did you know that the Dorset Coastline is considered one of the natural wonders of the world?Otherwise known as the Jurassic Coast, the Dorset coastline stretches 95 miles, from Exmouth in east Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Studland Bay. It was crowned Englands first natural UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its amazing geology in 2001, ranking alongside The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and The Grand Canyon in Nevada in the USA. With such an incredible landscape, it's little surprise that this magnificent coastline boasts so many must-see locations along the way.
The Dorset Coastline - Popular Locations
Lyme RegisIts the geology of the area that makes Lyme Regis the destination for budding Indiana Jones fossil hunters! For aspiring archeologists of any age who are eager to contribute to the collection of discoveries made on the Dorset coastline, Lyme Regis is the place to be. Over the years, hundreds if not thousands of specimens have been unearthed from its cliffs and beaches. Lyme Regis is located where West Dorset meets East Devon, and as well as being the fossil hunters mecca, its also the birth place of Mary Anning - one of the UKs most prolific and well known palaeontologists. If any of the younger members of your family are going through their 'dinosaur phase' now might be the perfect time to enjoy a holiday to Dorset, where they can join one of the many regular walks and fossil hunts in the area.Where to stay: Lyme Cottage is a former coastguards cottage and is the perfect seaside bolthole, sleeping 4 6. Sit and enjoy the property's south-east facing terrace high above Lyme Regis' well-known harbour, known as The Cobb, whilst taking in the fabulous sea views.Additional info: For the film buffs amongst you, The Cobb was one of the filming locations for The French Lieutenants Woman, famously starring Jeremy Irons and Meryl Streep.
CharmouthJust a bit further along the coast is the charming seaside village of Charmouth. Another popular pick for aspiring archeologists or palaeontologists, The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre run guided fossil hunting walks and rockpool rambles all year round. We highly recommend these, which as well as explaining the 'fossil code' to ensure maximum enjoyment, the tours are the safest way to explore the jagged cliffs of the Dorset coastline.With its gentle slope, low tides and rock pools, Charmouth beach is great for families and well worth seeing. Just a mile away, is the The Lyme Regis Museum which also organises guided fossil walks with local geologists.Where to stay: The stylish Albury House mixes quintessential thatch with chic interiors to create a comfortable holiday home for 10 -13 guests, perfect for family and friends looking to enjoy a long overdue get-together.Additional Info: The Lyme Regis Museum is closed until mid 2017 but the fossil walks are available all year round.
West BayOne of the most appealing aspects of the Dorset coastline is its diversity. With its long sweeping beaches, dramatic cliffs, blustery headlands and quiet coves, the Dorset coastline has it all. As well as the fossil rich area surrounding Lyme Regis, a little further east along the coast are the iconic cliffs of West Bay. The cliffs really are a spectacle to behold and easily make it on to our not to be missed list. Those of you who watched ITVs Broadchurch will immediately recognise the sheer face which became synonomous with the popular drama.There is, however, more to West Bay than the stunning sandstone cliff face of Golden Cap. Its also home to a bustling harbour and some great beaches. You'll find opportunities for fishing trips if you fancy heading off-shore for the afternoon, or opt to stay on dry land and have a go at crabbing off the harbour jetty. If neither of those take your fancy, the vibrant market town of Bridport is just 1.5 miles inland which is always a hive of activity.Where to stay: North End Farmhouse is great for larger groups and is situated a few miles inland of West Bay. Sleeping up to 14, its perfect for extended families to enjoy a get together. Venture a little further inland and both Pear Tree Cottage and Myrtle Cottage provide calm and relaxing spaces in beautifully renovated characterful cottages, featuring all mod cons.
Chesil BeachChesil Beach stretches an impressive 18 miles all the way along the Dorset coastline, from Abbotsbury to Portland. The beach is one of only three major shingle structures in the UK, and is known as a shingle tombolo which encloses the Fleet lagoon - a shallow, tidal lagoon. A designated marine protected area on the Fleet Explorer, the lagoon is home to some wonderful wildlife. The main attraction is The Abbotsbury Swannery which is the only place in the world where you can stroll through a colony of nesting swans. Buy yourself a passport for the day and you can gain entry to the subtropical gardens and childrens farm as well as free access to its events held throughout the year - excellent value for families and regular visitors.Where to stay: Jasmine Cottage is situated just along the coast at Osmington Mills and is a charming thatched cottage within walking distance of the local pub and farmshop the perfect holiday combination for groups of 8.
Durdle DoorDurdle Door is arguably the most famous stone arch of anywhere in the world. Located in the beautiful Lulworth estate on the Purbeck Heritage coast, this idyllic part of the Dorset coastline is where youll find the stunning scallop shaped Lulworth cove. Stop and take a moment to take in its breathtaking scenery, crystal clear waters and natural beauty. Take it from us when we say it's just the tonic you need to relieve everyday stresses and allow your troubles to be taken by the sea breeze - even if it's just for a while. For those looking to experience the thrill of Lulworth Cove, a day spent coasteering, mountain biking or trying some new watersports will be enough to satisfy any adrenaline junkies cravings. And after all that you can rest and recuperate in the nearby Boat Shed caf or the local pub.Where to stay: if youre looking for a luxurious stay, the The Old Rectory is a holiday retreat to die for, featuring 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, an outdoor pool and 2 acres of stunning gardens.Additional Info: For those who aren't sold on the idea of energetic coastal activities, Lulworth Castle is only a short distance away from the cove and is a lovely way to spend the time before you re-group.
Studland BayIf youre looking for a laid back nature reserve set amongst back to back beaches, then Studland Bay is the place for you. This dune-backed, 4 mile stretch of beach offers good old fashioned fun and will remind you of bygone days out to the seaside. Load up your car with all the beach essentials and bag yourself a National Trust Beach Hut for the day just how it used to be! There's plenty to keep the young ones entertained too, with Studland Watersports offering lessons and adventures in kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing and kite surfing the perfect opportunity to try something different and pick up a new skill.Where to stay: The Old Mill House in Swanage is perfectly placed to enjoy the fine sandy beaches and nature at Studland Bay. This unique former Mill House has been loving restored to create a welcoming home for 8.In our opinion, the best thing about the Dorset coastline is its rural peace. You can experience so much, whilst at the same time avoiding the hustle and bustle which is often part and parcel of British seaside holidays. Why not leave the fish n chips vans, the noisy carousels, and the kiss-me-quicks for another time? Instead experience the best of the British coastline's natural beauty by taking in the uninterrupted views and oceans of calm along the Dorset coastline.Our cosy Dorset holiday cottages will ensure you have a home from home to return to at the end of the day. Have a browse, and remember if you have any questions at all, please just pick up the phone.