One of the most-loved natural landmarks of Dorset and a highlight of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Durdle Door attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The limestone arch is one of the most iconic and widely-photographed landforms in Britain.
Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 200-foot high arch rises from the sea just to the west of the equally famous Lulworth Cove.
Other parts of the Purbeck coastline are also renowned for being natural geological wonders, such as the nearby Stair Hole in Lulworth and Old Harry Rocks, which can be found between Swanage and Studland.
The beach at Durdle Door is predominantly shingle and not suitable for swimming, however the natural beauty of the area and wealth of walking trails and spectacular views has been drawing visitors for generations.
The smaller beach that you’ll see to the east on your approach to Durdle Door is Man O’ War Bay.
Durdle Door can be accessed and enjoyed safely, however there are important warning signs and advice in place.
Swimming is not advised in the sea here – the beach shelves suddenly and steeply and there may be strong rip currents.
There is also no lifeguard service at Durdle Door – in an emergency call 999 and ask for the coastguard.
Steps and pathways may become slippery after wet weather. There may also be loose stones and the risk of falling rocks and unstable cliffs. Keep to pathways and away from cliff edges.
There are no facilities at Durdle Door itself, though toilets and refreshments are nearby.
The closest toilets are at Durdle Door Holiday Park.
There are also various facilities, including public toilets at the visitor centre in West Lulworth village.
Food and refreshments
There is a restaurant at the holiday park, named after Durdle Door’s neighbouring beach Man O’ War Bay.
A wider selection of cafés, restaurants and pubs, along with takeaway options and ice cream parlours are available in the village of West Lulworth and by Lulworth Cove, which are around a half an hour walk or ten minute drive from Durdle Door.
The village of East Lulworth also has a tea room and a pub.
Durdle Door as a filming location
It’s no surprise that this stunning landform has been used as a filming location over the years.
You can catch a glimpse of the arch or its beach and surrounding landscape in the following TV and big-screen adaptations:
- Nanny McPhee – The beach scene in Nanny McPhee is filmed at Durdle Door. Due to the lengthy walk and steps to access the beach, filming equipment was delivered to the beach by helicopter
- Far from the Madding Crowd – Both the 1967 and 2015 adaptations use various locations locally around Purbeck
- Wilde – The biopic of Oscar Wilde starring Stephen Fry is also partially filmed in Swanage along the pier
- Nuts in May – The episode Play for Today in Mike Leigh’s camping comedy features Durdle Door amongst other Purbeck locations
- Five on a Treasure Island – Enid Blyton’s children’s adventure is filmed in various places in and around Durdle Door, Lulworth and Corfe Castle
A number of music videos have also been shot here, including Saviour’s Day by Cliff Richard, Shout by Tears for Fears and Tears of the Dragon by Bruce Dickinson.
How to get to Durdle Door
For your SatNav: BH20 5PU
The best way to get to Durdle Door is by driving.
Follow the A351 from Swanage through the villages of Harman’s Cross and Corfe Castle. Continue on the A351 at the Stoborough roundabout, taking the first left onto West Lane and immediately right onto Holme Lane.
Journey time: Around 35 – 40 minutes
Follow the road into West Lulworth and Durdle Door will be signposted.
Journey time: Approximately 20 minutes
- Lulworth Cove – The pretty village of West Lulworth and its stunning cove is about a 30-minute walk from Durdle Door. You can also park in West Lulworth village, where your car park ticket for Durdle Door will also be valid
- Man O’ War Bay – Just to the left of the path down to Durdle Door and its expansive beach is the smaller Man O’ War Bay
- Lulworth Castle – A 17th Century castle and grounds in East Lulworth. The castle is owned by the Weld family, who also own the Lulworth Estate, which Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove are part of
- Corfe Castle – The ruined castle and its pretty, historic village are a short drive from Durdle Door