On the Jurassic Coast, a fossil’s throw from quaintly named Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove is a sheltered shell-shaped oasis edged with white pebbles. The impressive rock formations along this varied stretch of shoreline represent 185 million years of Earth’s history, and while the small cluster of pubs and places to stay that surround Lulworth Cove might not have been around quite that long, they are satisfyingly far from modern. Visit for restorative, laidback charm, incredible natural sights and, if you’re feeling brave, a dip in some of the bluest waters in the UK.
A perfect day in Lulworth Cove
Head to The Boat Shed Café – nestled down by the semicircular cove – for a cream tea with a side order of invigorating salty sea air. Ask them to pack up some fresh crab sandwiches (locally caught, naturally) for you to take away, in case you get peckish later on.
You’d be a fool to visit Lulworth Cove without exploring the breathtaking views and rolling cliffs of the surrounding area, which was classified as a World Heritage Site in 2001. Take the short walk to Stair Hole, one of the best places to see the geological talking point lovingly nicknamed the Lulworth Crumple. Or get out on to the water with Jurassic Coast Activities for a kayaking or coasteering (basically rock climbing 2.0) session. A solid way to earn that lunchtime pint.
Stroll 15 minutes inland and you’ll reach The Castle Inn, a thatched-roof boozer specialising in local ales and posh pub grub. Think richly flavoured mussels and perfect puds. If all the hills have got you feeling justifiably lazy, Lulworth Cove Inn is an equally good lunch spot. It’s situated right on the main stretch leading up from the sea, and boasts a sun-trap beer garden
The cove itself might have a quiet pace, but there’s plenty to do nearby if you’re after a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Seventeenth-century Lulworth Castle & Park (home of Bestival) is within walking distance, while renowned primate sanctuary Monkey World (home to its own orang-utan nursery) is a short drive away.
Strap on your walking boots and take the South West Coast Path from Lulworth Cove to nearby Durdle Door. The view will give you some serious top-of-the-world feels, while Durdle Door – with its natural limestone arch – is a genuine geological marvel. Pack a picnic and soak up the sense of millions and millions of years of history.
There aren’t many places that genuinely take your breath away, but Rudds of Lulworth’s cliffside pool is one of them. It’s nestled on a stretch of green above the stones of Lulworth Cove, and standing there makes you feel like you’re on the edge of the world. The rest of the hotel is a gem, too. Family-owned, it oozes easy, relaxed warmth, from the cute congregation of buildings that make up its rooms to the log fires constantly being stoked by friendly staff. Play board games on squishy sofas in the bar and order hearty fuel for coastal hikes at breakfast. The only downside? You will eventually have to leave. From £85 a night.