Lulworth Cove is a stunning spot on the south coast of England, with dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear waters. But you may not know that Lulworth Cove is also close to Durdle Door, one of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks.
Durdle Door, Lulworth Castle, and Lulworth Cove are part of the 12,000-acre Lulworth Estate, privately owned by the Welds family since 1641.
Durdle comes from the Old English word ‘thirl,’ meaning to drill.
Where is Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door?
Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove are in Dorset, part of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site, in southern England.
Lulworth Cove is near the village of West Lulworth, near Weymouth.
Durdle Door Parking
Ticket prices for Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door car parks are:
- All day parking (until 9 pm or dusk) – £10.00
- Up to 4 hours – £5.00
- Oversize vehicles (above 5.5m and up to 16 seats) – £15.00
- Motorcycles – £1.00
Card payments only, or use the JustPark App.
The tickets are valid for Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door, Newlands Meadow, and Lulworth Castle.
It gets jam-packed during the summer and warm weekends, so aim to arrive early.
Set your SatNav postcode to BH20 5RQ for Lulworth Cove, West Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset and BH20 5PU for Durdle Door Holiday Park, West Lulworth, Dorset.
The views from the car park at Durdle Door are beautiful as it sits on the clifftop, but requires a steep descent to the pathway.
Check the official Lulworth Estate website for up-to-date information about car parking.
Should I park at Lulworth Cove or Durdle Door?
We prefer to park at Lulworth Cove as there are more spaces with an overflow car park. The main car park is open 24 hours a day, but the overflow field is locked at 9 pm.
There are also more facilities at Lulworth Cove, including toilets, the Visitor Centre, cafes, and a pub – ideal for eating either before or after the walk.
Durdle Door car park opens at 9 am and is a 900m walk to Durdle Door beach. However, the walk down from the car park to the beach is uneven and steep. It is unsuitable for prams, wheelchairs, or people with limited mobility.
Starting at Lulworth Cove means it’s uphill on the way there and downhill on the return.
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door Coastal Walk
The Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk is a popular coastal trail with stunning scenery along the cliffs and lush countryside.
Level of Difficulty
The walk is easy, but you will require a basic fitness level for the ascents. The wide path is well sign-posted and easy to follow.
The trail from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is 1.25 miles (2 km), which will take around 30 minutes one-way, depending on your fitness and how long you stop to admire the stunning views!
If you only want to walk one way, the X54 bus travels back to the Lulworth Cove car park. However, it departs from Durdle Door Park Entrance, the road that leads down to Durdle Door Holiday Park and car park. This is about a 20-minute walk from Durdle Door. Also, the bus only runs a couple times a day, so you must plan ahead (or walk back). You can see the X54 bus timetable here.
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door Walk
The trail from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door starts at the end of the car park and is clearly marked. This is the South West Coast Path.
Unless you are here very early, this well-maintained path will be busy with people in both directions.
The steep paved path takes you uphill westwards towards the coast. As you gain elevation, turn around to see a stunning view of Lulworth Cove and the coastline. This is the hardest part of the walk, but the views and seeing Durdle Door are worth every second.
When you reach a wooden gate, you’ll be able to glimpse Durdle Door in the distance. Once through the gate, the path flattens out, and you’ll see the stunning Man O’War Bay on your left. This crescent-shaped bay is one of the prettiest beaches along the Jurassic coast. On a sunny day, the turquoise water is clear and shimmers in the sun.
Carry on to the cliff top above Durdle Door for views of this natural arch and the beach. Formed by erosion from the wind and sea around 10,000 years ago, the Portland limestone is now in the shape of an arch.
A word of caution: stick to the designated paths, as these cliffs are unstable.
Things to do near Durdle Door
Man O’War Bay
At the cliff edge, stairs lead down to Man O’War Bay, a sand and shingle beach with calm aquamarine water, ideal for swimming and paddling. Be aware that it’s a descent to the bay and not suitable for those with disabilities. You should wear appropriate footwear, like trainers or trail shoes.
Durdle Door Beach
A steep staircase of 88 steps leads down to this beautiful shingle beach which provides excellent views of Durdle Door.
Refreshment kiosks and toilets are available in the Durdle Door car park.
Bat’s Head Coastal Path
If the tide is out, you can walk along the beach to Bat’s Head, a chalk headland between White Nothe and Durdle Door. At the bottom is a small bat’s cave.
Another option is to continue your walk along the coastal path to Bat’s Head for spectacular coastal views. This will add on about 1 km each way.
Watch the Sunset or Sunrise
Durdle Door is particularly beautiful at sunrise. There are certain times of the year when you see a “through the keyhole” sunrise where the sun rises through the famous arch. This can be seen between early to mid-December and early January when you’ll see photographers catching one of the most incredible sunrise shots.
Things To Do At Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove is a tiny village worth exploring at the start or end of your Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk.
Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre
The Visitor Centre is the best place to start your visit to Lulworth Cove. There’s plenty of helpful information, including tide times and maps.
The displays are interesting and show how the landscape was formed over 150 million years. To better understand the region, three areas display a mixture of media, including panels, photographs, animations, models, and film.
The Visitor Centre is free and opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm (4 pm in winter) but is closed on Christmas Day. It is fully accessible.
The Fossil Forest
To the east of Lulworth Cove is a 145-million-year-old fossilized forest containing an ancient sea floor, fossilized algal mats, and ‘broken beds.’
However, this can only be accessed when the MOD firing range is open to the public. You can find out more about the Lulworth firing here.
Lulworth Cove Beach
This almost circular white pebble bay has calm blue water providing a beautiful contrast. At low tide, you can explore the rock pools and the creatures that live in them.
Dogs are allowed on the left of the slipway.
Take the South West Coast Path from the beach or car park to the headland, just west of Lulworth Cove. Here you can see an excellent example of Lulworth Crumple – once flat sedimentary beds have been lifted, tilted, and twisted to form unique patterns.
At Stair Hole, the layers of gray, black, and white rock are remarkable.
Look for the caves visible from the seaward side of Stair Hole; Cathedral Cavern is supported by pillars of rock rising out of the water.
Fluid Adventures have a paddle tour from Ringsted to Lulworth Cove via Durdle Door return. This is a 10-mile paddle and is for experienced kayakers only.
Hire a bike from Cyclexperience (Corfe Castle) and cycle through forests and the Jurassic coast.
Lulworth Outdoors offers family-friendly three-hour sessions where you will jump, swim, climb and traverse through the Jurassic coast.
The 17th Century historic Lulworth Castle, in East Lulworth, was built as a hunting lodge to entertain aristocracy and royalty. In the style of a revival fortified castle, it is a Grade 1 listed building and one of only five surviving Elizabethan or Jacobean buildings of this type.
A fire tore through the castle in 1929, leaving it in ruins for 70 years before being restored by a partnership between the Weld Estate and English Heritage.
You can read more about the history of Lulworth Castle here.
There are parks, woodland walks, a children’s playground, and spacious grounds to enjoy. Dogs are welcome but must be kept on a lead and are not permitted inside the castle. The top of the castle tower provides views over the coast and surrounding countryside.
The Castle is open from Sunday to Thursday, 10.30 am to 5 pm (4 pm in November & December) until Thursday, 22nd December 2022. However, Lulworth Castle, Chapel, and grounds are closed on Saturdays.
The Castle will open for the 2023 season from Sunday, 26th March, until Thursday, 21st December 2023.
Unfortunately, Lulworth Castle has always been closed when we visited.
Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove Accommodation
If you want to stay close to Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, Main Road in Lulworth Cove has a few options.
Bijou B&B Lulworth
This B&B is in an 1896 Victorian house on the edge of West Lulworth, a picture-postcard village. It has the choice of a double or twin room.
Lulworth Lodge was built on the site of the original watermill, just seconds from Lulworth Cove beach. There are twelve comfy, coastal-style rooms of which two allow dogs.
Limestone Hotel in West Lulworth is a stylish country hotel that has individually designed rooms, creating a wonderful space for you to relax.
Dogs are allowed in two of the downstairs bedrooms that have garden access.
Lulworth Cove Inn
Lulworth Cove Inn is in the centre of Lulworth Cove, offering double and twin rooms. The inn also has a pub serving great food and award-winning Badger Beers.
The rooms are dog-friendly.
Camping near Durdle Door
Free camping is not allowed around Durdle Door, but you can camp at Durdle Door Holiday Park.
This caravan park has a range of sites and holiday accommodation, including static caravans, holiday homes, cabins, and glamping pods.
How to get to Durdle Door
Bournemouth to Durdle Door
From Bournemouth, Durdle Door is a 45-minute drive (24.5 miles).
Trains run from Bournemouth to Wool, and then you need to travel by taxi to Durdle Door.
Weymouth to Durdle Door
Weymouth to Durdle Door will take 30 minutes by car (14.3 miles).
Trains run from Weymouth to Wool, and from there you need to take a taxi to Durdle Door.
See the railway network map here.
London to Durdle Door
You can travel from London to Durdle Door (128.7 miles) by car in about 2 hours and 40 minutes, although this can be longer in peak traffic.
Trains depart from London Waterloo station to Weymouth, stopping at Wool. The journey time is around three hours. From Wool, travel by taxi to Durdle Door or Lulworth Cove.
Three bus routes stop at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door:
- First service X54, daily from Easter to September (Monday to Friday only during winter). The bus runs four times a day each way between Weymouth and Poole via Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
- First service X55, daily except schooldays from Easter to September. There’s only one morning bus from Weymouth to Bovington via Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove, which returns late afternoon. In between times, the bus shuttles between Bovington and Lulworth Cove (not Durdle Door).
- Purbeck Breezer 30, daily from May to September. The bus runs six times a day each way between Weymouth and Swanage via Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
Please check individual bus operators for times, as they are subject to seasonal changes.
Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove Restaurants
We had lunch at Lulworth Cove Inn on a beautiful but cold April day. We sat in the pub terrace garden – a beautiful spot to enjoy delicious food and a glass of wine.
- Lulworth Cove Inn, Lulworth Cove
- The Weld Arms (near Lulworth Castle)
- The Boat Shed Café, Lulworth Cove
- The Coffee Bar, Lulworth Cove
- The Dolls House, Lulworth Cove
- Lulworth Ice Cream Parlour
- Man O’War Bar & Restaurant, Durdle Door Holiday Park
- Durdle Door Stores
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door Map
This Durdle Door map includes things to do, car parks, accommodation, and places to eat.
Durdle Door Weather & Best Time to visit
Durdle Door is open all year, but access is restricted after dusk.
The best time to visit Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove is during summer when you can enjoy the beach. However, a lovely day in spring or autumn is perfect for walking.
July and August are peak season and will be extremely busy – over 750,000 people visit here annually, with 30 percent of those during July and August.
The best time of day to visit Durdle Door is early morning before the masses arrive. Sunrise is stunning.
Facilities near Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove
There are toilet facilities at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Car Park (these require walking up the hill).
There are places to eat in Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door Holiday Park. You can also buy food at the Durdle Door Stores.
Please note there are no toilets or food outlets at Durdle Door Beach.
What to Bring with you
Be prepared for a change in weather – check the weather forecast and take layers of clothing with you.
- Wear walking shoes
- Snacks or a light lunch
- Swimsuit & towel (if planning on swimming)
- Snorkel & mask (summer)
- Hat & sunscreen (if sunny)
- Rain jacket (if any rainfall is predicted)
Are dogs allowed at Durdle Door?
Dogs are allowed on Durdle Door beach year-round.
Can you swim at Durdle Door?
The RNLI advises against swimming through Durdle Door as there are no lifeguards on this beach.
It may appear calm, but ocean conditions can change rapidly. The beach drops steeply, and there’s a strong undertow.
Tombstoning, jumping from the rocks, is dangerous and can be fatal.
Can you use the same parking ticket for Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove?
You can use the same parking ticket for Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.
Do you have to pay to go to Durdle Door?
Durdle Door is free, but you have to pay for parking.
What time does Durdle Door get busy?
Durdle Door is busiest in summer. Try and arrive as early as possible to avoid large crowds.
How busy is Lulworth Cove?
Lulworth Cove can get extremely busy in summer, especially during school holidays.
Is Lulworth Cove steep?
Lulworth Cove itself isn’t steep, but the walk to Durdle Door has steep sections.
How long do you spend in Durdle Door?
You can spend as long or little time as you like at Durdle Door. Just be prepared for the steps down to the beaches and the lack of facilities there.
Is parking free at Lulworth Cove?
You have to pay for parking at the car park near the Visitor Centre in Lulworth Cove.
How long does it take to walk down to Durdle Door?
The walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door takes about half an hour, depending on your level of fitness.
Can you walk along the beach from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door?
You can’t walk along the beach from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. Instead, take the South West Coastal path.
How hard is the walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door?
The walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door isn’t hard but requires a certain level of fitness for the steep sections. Just take your time.
Is Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk pushchair friendly?
The path from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door is cobbled and steep in places, so it is not pushchair-friendly.
Are there toilets between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door?
There are no toilet facilities between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door so make sure you go before leaving Lulworth Cove.
Can you paddle board from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door?
It is possible to paddle from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. However, it is for experienced paddlers due to the exposure and requires open water experience.
The Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door walk is a spectacular scenic hike that takes you through stunning countryside and coastline. The hike is steep but well worth it, and it’s perfect for those who want to spend some time on the famous Durdle Door beach.