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Lulworth Cove

15 really great things to do in Lulworth Cove

Exploring Dorset’s Jurassic Coast? From scenic walks to just-caught seafood, here’s our pick of the very best things to do in Lulworth Cove

Written by
Lisa Wright
,
Ellie Walker-Arnott
&
Sammy Jones
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Lulworth Cove is a sheltered, shell-shaped bay edged with bright white pebbles. Its striking views attract hundreds of thousands of visitors throughout the summer – so we’d recommend a day trip during the early evening, or when the temperature dips. While you’re there you’ll become an amateur geographer, spotting and navigating towering rock formations that were shaped 25 million years ago when continental tectonic plates collided (also forming the Alps in the process). Though the smattering of pubs, restaurants and other great attractions in these parts might not have been around quite that long, plenty are still old enough to feel like a trip back in time. Ready? Here’s our pick of the very best things to do in Lulworth Cove.

RECOMMENDED: Find the best things to do in nearby Weymouth, Bournemouth and the New Forest

Best things to do in Lulworth Cove

First Up

First Up

The Boat Shed Café is nestled nice and close to the semicircular surf. They have Dorset speciality tea on deck, and a proper breakfast menu including full English breakfasts for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Stop slightly later in the day to take advantage of The Boat Shed’s lunch, which puts the spotlight on freshly caught seafood. The mussels are well priced for one, while the ploughman’s (featuring poached salmon, Dorset crab, smoked mackerel and prawns) is made to share. Forgive us – but we reckon this has to be more of a fisherman’s.

Soak up the vibes
Photograph: mattxfoto/Shutterstock.com

Soak up the vibes

Don’t visit Lulworth Cove without exploring the breathtaking views and rolling cliffs of the surrounding area – all of which was classified as a World Heritage Site in 2001. Before you head over to the much better-known but further-away Durdle Door, negotiate the short walk to Stair Hole, one of the best places to see the geological talking point lovingly nicknamed the Lulworth Crumple. Made up of three mini-coves – plus a stack, arch and cave – there’s lots to observe from your tranquil spot high above the rippling waters.

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Stop for lunch

Stop for lunch

Stroll 15 minutes inland and you’ll reach The Castle Inn, a thatched-roof pub specialising in local ales and posh pub grub. Think Brixham crab croquetas with preserved lemon mayo and Parmesan followed by Cheddar Valley strawberries, vegan cheesecake and strawberry sorbet. If all the hills have got you feeling justifiably lazy, Lulworth Cove Inn is another top lunchtime stop. It’s right on the main stretch leading up from the sea, and boasts a sun-trap beer garden plus a wood burner indoors. The Weld Arms, in nearby East Lulworth, also has a line in elegant pub grub, with local ciders to match. 

Go on an adventure

Go on an adventure

The cove itself might have a quiet pace – that’s what we’re all craving by heading down there, after all – but there’s plenty to do nearby if you want to switch up the energy levels. Seventeenth-century Lulworth Castle & Park (home of Bestival) is within walking distance and will have you feeling like royalty while on a grand tour of the grounds. Renowned primate sanctuary Monkey World (home to Europe’s only orang-utan creche) is also just a short drive away. Kids will love hanging out with the chimpanzees, lemurs and squirrel monkeys – but then, so did we.

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Drink like a local
Lulworth Lodge

Drink like a local

Settle in for a round of cold pints or sparkling English Garden cocktails at coastal hotel Lulworth Lodge, built on the site of Lulworth’s original watermill. You can also sip a glass of Devon champagne here, if you’re feeling fancy. Got a sweet tooth, or just enjoy all things kitsch? Order hot drinks and get a dose of nostalgia at The Dolls House. This super-cute little green fisherman’s cottage also sells old-fashioned sweets and fudge made in right here in Lulworth to take away with you.

If you only do one thing

If you only do one thing

Strap on your walking boots – seriously, this is no job for flip-flops – and take the South West Coast Path from Lulworth Cove to nearby Durdle Door. It’s a twenty-minute trek along a steep downhill path, plus 143 steps down to the beach if you want to brave it. It’s all very much worth it – once you get there, the views will give you some serious top-of-the-world feels. Durdle Door, with its truly iconic natural limestone arch, is a geological marvel – some reckon it looks like a dragon taking a big sip of the sea. No matter how good your photographic eye is, you’ll undoubtedly get some outstanding snaps to show off to everyone back home.

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And if you stay the night, wake up here

Rudds of Lulworth’s cliffside pool is built to delight, just like the rest of its thought-out offerings. The luxury boutique B&B is perfectly placed on a stretch of green above the stones of Lulworth Cove, and offers sea views from its restaurant, rooms and terraces. Family-owned, it oozes relaxed warmth, from the quirky congregation of buildings that make up its eleven rooms to the log fires that are constantly being stoked by friendly staff. It’s a brilliant hub from which to explore the coast – you can rest tired feet playing board games on squishy sofas in the bar, and order hearty fuel for coastal hikes at breakfast. The only downside? You eventually have to leave. 

You can’t get much closer to the beach – apart from actually staying on the shore – than at this gorgeous eighteenth-century cottage with fairytale-style thatched roof and attractive shuttered windows. Cove Cottage is just off the main access path to the beach, but set back in its own private greenery. Once inside, you’ll appreciate its tasteful rooms decorated in calming, coastal tones which sleep six comfortably. One for those who like to be very much in the thick of it, it’s steps away from the waves, local pubs and coastal path that takes you to Durdle Door – but you’ll want to make sure you leave plenty of time for enjoying your picturesque vantage point, too.

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