How to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove + Best things to do in Weymouth & Portland
During one of my visits to London, I found out about the epic Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove and decided to plan a last-minute weekend getaway with my remaining time in England.
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove in Dorset, England are two of the most famous viewpoints along the Jurassic Coast in the southern part of England and should definitely be on any UK bucket list!
However, not too much information about personal experiences getting to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove was available on google, especially without a car.
So in this guide, I will cover how to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove with tips on how to visit without a car. Plus, I will also recommend some of the best things to do in Weymouth (which is the city I recommend staying in to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove).
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove FAQ
Map of the Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast stretches for 154 km (89 mi) from Orcombe Point in Exmouth to Old Harry Rocks in Studland. At about the middle point along the Jurassic Coastline is where you will find Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
Cities in Dorset Near Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove
When planning your visit to the Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove viewpoints you will first need to pick which city you want to stay in.
The biggest cities of Dorset include Weymouth, Poole, and Bournemouth. These are all great bases to explore Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
Weymouth is located just 24 kilometers (15 miles) away, Poole is 31 kilometers (19 miles), and Bournemouth is 40 kilometers (25 miles).
While Poole and Bournemouth are bigger I would personally recommend staying in Weymouth because it is the closets and still has lots of accommodation options, restaurants, and things to do (there is a section on this below).
However, Poole is known for its Cotswold-esque setting while Bournemouth has a bigger beach than Weymouth along with a few resorts making it great for families.
How to get to Dorset, England
These 3 methods of transport listed below are the main ways to get to Dorset from most parts of the UK.
Going by bus is a great choice to get to Dorset especially if you are coming from another city that isn’t super far away. It is also more affordable than the train or renting a car. This is what I did when I came from London to Weymouth, our shuttle bus was super spacious, comfortable, and had wifi and restrooms.
You can search for tickets through BusBud, they are one of the most trusted websites and offers the world’s largest selection of bus tickets so you can easily compare rates along with onboard amenities. I would definitely recommend booking in advance to secure the best route.
The train is another popular method to get to the most popular cities in Dorset. While it is more expensive than the bus it is faster and oftentimes you can find direct routes so you don’t have to deal with annoying transfers. You can search for tickets online with Omio. Here, you’ll be able to find popular railways like South Western Railway.
If driving yourself you can choose to drive straight to West Lulworth and explore Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove on your own. Alternatively, you can stay in Weymouth which has a lot of restaurants and attractions and you can easily book a guided tour that will take you to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove – some tours even include a couple more scenic stops.
Getting to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove Viewpoints
The Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove Viewpoints are in the small town of West Lulworth. There are a few different ways you can go about getting to them depending on how you are arriving.
By tour from Weymouth or Bournemouth
Taking a guided tour is the most straightforward option as transport and a guide are included. There are full-day and half-day tours that depart from Weymouth and Bournemouth. I definitely recommend this method as a stress-free way to reach the viewpoints.
Here are some of the best tour options organized by departure city:
The Big 3 Tour – This half-day tour is one of the most popular and affordable tours priced at 49 GBP ($60 USD) that visits all 3 of the top viewpoints, Durdle Door, Lulworth Cove, and Corfe Castle. There is free time to explore at each stop and your guide will also explain the basic history of the area and each sight. This tour is perfect for those who want to get straight to the point without spending a whole lot of money.
Jurassic Spectacular – If you want to see as much as you can in a day then this tour is for you. It covers 10+ stops along the Jurassic Coast including Corfe Castle, Lulworth Cove, Portland, St. Catherine Hill, and West Bay Harbour. As you go, your personal guide will give you information on the different stops. For 103 GBP ($126 USD) I think this tour is great value for money. It includes water but does not include lunch so make sure to bring your own food and snacks.
Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door by Minibus – This tour will simply transport you to the Durdle Door Parking Lot where you will have 3 hours to explore on your own. You can climb down the 88 steps to the beach and walk along the coastal path to Lulworth Cove. This is the side where your driver will pick you up to make the return trip back to Bournemouth. It costs 32 GBP ($39 USD).
Full-Day Jurassic Coast Tour – In addition to 3 hours at Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove this tour includes many other impressive sights. Some things you can expect are seeing Sandbanks Ferry, viewing Old Harry Rocks, enjoying tea from Durlston Castle’s Cafe, walking out to Tilly Whim Caves and the Anvil Point Lighthouse, eating lunch at your pub of choice, and more! This tour for the adventurous person costs 55 GBP ($67 USD).
By public bus or train
From whichever of the main cities you choose to stay in there are busses and trains running all the time that can take you to the Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove Parking Lots in West Lulworth.
The easiest way to find a route is to search your exact departure and drop-off locations in google maps. From there you can head to the designated station. You can buy your tickets on the spot or online from one of the suggested companies.
Most of the buses take credit cards but I recommend bringing some pounds as a backup.
Note: If you begin the scenic walk from the Durdle Door Parking Lot it will be an easy downhill to Lulworth Cove whereas if you start from the Lulworth Cove Parking Lot it will be mostly uphill.
There are parking lots for both Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door so if you are driving you can drive to each side and take a short walk to each of the viewpoints or you can take the 6 km (3.7 mi) Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door Circular hike if you want to take in all the views of the Jurassic Coast.
About the hike to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
We took a bus from Weymouth to the Lulworth Cove Parking Lot and once there we grabbed quick omelets for breakfast from Findley’s Cafe near the visitors center.
I was a little surprised to see full-service dining options in this area. It was way better than convivence store food!!
After we ate we walked to the end of the road where we checked out Lulworth Cove and then we began walking on the SW Coastal Path to Durdle Door which is only a 35-minute walk, but it is mostly uphill. If you want to make it easier you can always begin from the Durdle Door Parking Lot and walk downwards to Lulworth Cove.
We didn’t mind going uphill as we got a little bit of a workout in!
If you start from the Lulworth Cove parking lot the first sight you will see is the beautiful Lulworth Cove. This impressive natural cove is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was formed by sea erosion and waves. I loved looking at the panoramic views of the sea and the sailboats floating on the water.
The next point along the way to Durdle Door is Stair Hole which is also technically a part of Lulworth Cove. In hindside, the caverns here look like miniature versions of Durdle Door.
I really don’t need to say much as the pictures speak for themselves. This spot alone is why you should visit Dorset! Not only can you sit on the beach grass and view it from above, but there is also a large flight of 88 stairs to take you to down the beach.
We got super lucky with a rare sunny spring day – the temps were in the low 70s and I even broke a little bit of a sweat. The water however was ice cold which is typical. The temperature of the English Channel averages between 59°F in early summer to 65°F at the end of summer.
It’s safe to say that I couldn’t stand to go in any further than my ankles. However, we did take advantage of the sunshine and laid out to tan while listening to music for a while.
My Finding’s Tip: After taking barefoot photos in front of Durdle Door I was actually tearing up. This is because there are these sharp pods throughout the rocks. It made it very unbearable on my feet to walk barefoot! So keep your sandals on if you have sensitive feet like me or have little kids!
10 Best Things to do in Weymouth
1. Weymouth Beach
Weymouth Beach is the main attraction for views and one of the best things to do in Weymouth. The views of the water with the hills in the background from Weymouth Beach make it quite a unique view. It’s even beautiful to go for a nighttime walk when just a few building lights reflect off the water.
If you’re lucky and the weather is warm enough bring a towel and lay in the sun!
2. Pleasure Pier
Connected on the south edge of the beach is Pleasure Pier, a nice way to extend your beach walk. The origins of the pier date all the way back to the early 1800s and had undergone many reconstructions including the building and tearing down of the observation tower and cafe in 2019 but now it simply remains a simple pier.
3. Walk around the Weymouth Marina
The marina is a great place to people-watch and enjoy the boats coming in and out! There are also shops and restaurants to check out along the water.
4. Try an authentic British breakfast at The Welcome Café
The Welcome Cafe is truly authentic, delicious, and cheap! Our plates consisted of all the traditional British fixings like sauteed mushrooms, baked beans, bacon, tomatoes, toast, and chips.
It was such a cozy spot and it felt good to support a local business. I could tell the owner took pride in how much we enjoyed the food.
5. Nothe Fort
Nothe Fort is Weymouth’s impressive seaside Royal Navy base which was built between 1860-1872. Here you can learn some history in the museum about the origin and usage of the fort while looking out at the 360-degree views of the harbor and Jurassic Coast.
There is also a small cafe that sells soups, sandwiches, fresh baguettes, cakes, ice cream, and hot drinks like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
Tickets can be purchased in person or online for 9.50 GBP and they are open every day between 11 am and 4 pm with the last entry being at 3 pm.
They are closed during the winter season so if you are traveling during this time check their website for updates.
6. Weymouth Stone Pier
This can be found right after passing the Nothe Fort. It’s a spot locals use to fish, however, there are lots of benches to enjoy the sea air and views of Nothe Fort and beach.
7. Explore the cute shops and retail stores
In downtown Weymouth, there are tons of local shops and boutiques selling just about everything from clothing and accessories to art, home goods, and souvenirs. You’ll also find mainstream retailers like New Look and Clark’s.
Note: Most of the shops close as early as 5 pm.
8. Southwest Coastal Path trails
Seeing the Jurassic Coast along the coastal paths from Weymouth is a must-do! Even if you aren’t into hikes or long walks, reaching the coast for the views of the Jurassic Coast is quick to access from many starting points. These are a few of the most popular hikes.
- Pirates Cove is a 2.4-mile loop.
- Moonfleet Dorset Circular is a 4.3-mile loop
- Southwest Weymouth to Lulworth Cove is 11.1 miles each way. If you are an avid hiker this is a unique way to see Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove that doesn’t involve transportation or a tour. You could also opt to hike there and take the public bus from the parking lot back to Weymouth.
9. Go for dinner and drinks at the Gloucester Pub
The Gloucester is an underground pub that has outdoor seating and is conveniently located right across from the beach.
A must-try from the menu is their Spicy Cayenne Crispy Coated Chicken Wings with homemade Blue Vinny Dip. I’m telling you, I begged my boyfriend for the last wing and literally went back to make sure I got all the tiny bits of chicken from the bones.
I also got hooked on these Rekorderlig Mango Raspberry hard ciders. They sell them everywhere in the UK and they are delicious!
I’ve tried all the flavors and the mango raspberry is still my favorite! I am happy to report that they are pretty easy to find in the U.S.!
10. Visit Isle of Portland
Portland is a small island that juts out from Weymouth and is connected by a bridge. Surprisingly there are a lot of things you can do and see on Isle or Portland (see the list below!).
We searched for tickets on google maps to get across to Portland from the 1 Weymouth line and the tickets were just a few pounds. Keep in mind that the last return time for the bus is at 11:17 pm daily.
4 Best Things to do in Portland, UK
1. Olympic Rings Statue
In the 2012 summer Olympics, Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy was host of the sailing events. This historic spot also has some grassy ledges around it which we sat on for some nice views of the coast and downtown Weymouth!
2. Isle of Portland Circular Walk
Make sure to keep your eye out for Pulpit Rock!
Even though the full length of this walk is a 16.2 km (8.2 miles) loop around Portland you can walk as far as you want and turn around.
We went to Portland later in the day so we only went a few miles in total to the sculpture park (read below) and started coming back as the sun began to set. It’s a perfect leisure activity and views begin right when you start.
Tour Option: From Portland or Weymouth you can book this guided walking tour for just 15 GBP ($18 USD) that explores Dorchester, the life and works of famous author Thomas Hardy, and the cliff walk along the Jurassic Coast.
The tour ends by enjoying an ice cream cone and tea overlooking Chesil Beach and the Olympic Rings. Meet directly in Portland otherwise a fee for transport will be added for hotel pick-up elsewhere in Dorset.
3. Tout Quarry Sculpture Park
The Portland Circular Walk eventually turns into the Tout Quarry Sculpture Park which is a maze of sorts with boulders and rocks carved into different shapes. Throughout it, there are 60 hidden sculptures! In the picture, you can see what it looked like once we reached the middle. You have to walk up close to see what each boulder is carved into which makes it fun.
4. Portland Bill Lighthouse
At the very tip of Portland is Portland Bill Lighthouse. We did not have enough time to visit but it seems like something you might want to plan for, just look at how stunning it is!
In my opinion, a visit to Portland is one of the best things to do in Weymouth.
Other places to eat in Weymouth
Another highly-rated breakfast spot. It seemed to be a more traditional American-style breakfast. Upstairs Downstairs was one of the few places that had pancakes on the menu.
Tip: They only accept cash! There is an ATM close by if needed.
Really delicious hole-in-the-wall pizza place. One of the few non-chain to-go pizza places in Weymouth.
An old post office turned into a restaurant featuring burgers, salads, wine, beer, and cocktails. The atmosphere was modern, the food was good, and it stays open later than most restaurants in Weymouth.
Marlboro is a popular fish and chip restaurant, however, in my opinion, the quality was lacking so this is a restaurant I would skip. The fish portions are very large and the small size was more than enough. The fish tasted ok but all of the sides were quite terrible. The crab cakes and fried pineapple were some of the worst things I’ve ever eaten.
The silver lining is if you’re only after fresh fish and chips, you may enjoy it.
Where to Stay in Weymouth
Weyside House $ – Has budget-friendly rooms starting at 50 GBP with private bathrooms right next to the marina. The rooms are tiny but include a TV and a kettle.
The Bay Guest House $$ – Cozy guest rooms with thoughtful touches only a minutes walk to the seafront. Each room has a seating area and an en suite bathroom with a shower or tub – toiletries included. There is a full breakfast menu that can be added on at the time of booking for just 9 GBP. A double room with a sea view costs 58 GBP.
The Roundhouse $$$ – This iconicly shaped building is home to 6 different townhouses all offering views of the bay and harbor. A yummy breakfast will be brought right to your room daily. There are several restaurants and shops all around and the train station is less than a mile away. It costs 122 GBP per night but a minimum of 2 nights is required.
Final Word on How to Visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
Thanks for reading my guide on how to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, I hope it will streamline your planning!
While in the area make sure to save enough time to check out the best things to do in Weymouth and maybe even spend a night or weekend there. I can guarantee you’ll love it!
After reading this post are you inspired to add Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove to your UK itinerary??
If you liked this read check out some of my other blogs on the UK below!
Pin for a later time!