If the Jurassic Coast’s globally-significant geology is what drew you to Dorset, Kimmeridge Bay is the place to visit.
Its dramatic cliffs, unique rock formations and abundance of fossils reveal the rich history of this special area of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
Kimmeridge Bay is the perfect spot to pick about in rockpools and explore this rugged, fossil-rich part of the Isle of Purbeck.
With its calm, shallow waters, the bay is also a popular place for kayaking, snorkelling and windsurfing.
The history revealed in the cliffs at Kimmeridge is apparent as soon as you step onto the beach.
The striking layers of Kimmeridge Clay reach around the bay.
These paleontologically-important cliffs are rich in fossils, ammonites and dinosaur bones.
Note, however, that fossil-hunting and the use of hammers is not permitted at Kimmeridge Bay.
Combine your trip with a visit to the village’s museum and education centre – The Etches Collection.
Learn all about the geology and fossils found in the area, and just how important Kimmeridge Bay is to the story of the Jurassic Coast.
The Etches Collection: Museum of Jurassic Marine Life is the first port of call for any fossil enthusiast.
Curated by resident expert fossil-hunter Dr Steve Etches, the small but perfectly formed museum features interactive exhibits, video guides and the chance to look around Dr Etches’ lab.
The magic of this museum is that every fossil, ammonite and dinosaur tooth in the display was found in and around Kimmeridge Bay itself, making it a truly local ‘Deep Time’ adventure.
Visit the museum shop for some dinosaur and fossil-themed merchandise.
Museum opening times
*Note that the Etches Collection is currently closed in line with Covid-19 government guidelines*
The museum is open daily, 10am – 5pm.
Last entrance is at 4.15pm.
📞 01929 270000
The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre is a great way to discover everything Kimmeridge bay has to offer.
From interactive displays and events, to underwater snorkel trails, there are plenty of ways to learn about Kimmeridge’s sea creatures and habitats.
The centre has a small shop and picnic area, as well as toilet and disabled facilities.
Entry is free, however it is accessed via the toll road to the bay, which coasts £5.
*Note that the Wild Seas Centre is currently only partially open for self-guided outdoor activities in line with Covid-19 government guidelines*
April – October
Wednesday – Sunday 11am – 4pm (closed for lunch 1-1.30pm)
November – December
Thursday – Sunday 11am – 4pm (closed for lunch 1-1.30pm)
Note that the the Wild Seas Centre is closed from December to March.
📞 01929 481044
Points of interest at Kimmeridge Bay
WW2 Pill box
As well as Jurassic-era natural history, you’ll also find evidence of more recent, human-related history on Kimmeridge Bay.
One of the first things you’ll notice as you get to the beach is the WWII pill box, leaning into the sea.
There are a number of these pill boxes dotted around the Purbeck coastline. These one-manned defences served as lookout points in case of invasion during World War II.
The walk up to Clavell Tower is fairly challenging, with steep steps which can be slippery when wet, but it’s worth the climb for the spectacular panoramic views across Kimmeridge Bay and of course checking out this beautiful piece of architecture.
Clavell Tower is situated on an extremely high cliff with a sheer drop to the sea. It can be windy up here.
Children should be closely supervised and dogs on a short lead, under control and kept away from the cliff edge.
Parts of Kimmeridge lie within the Lulworth Ranges – a live firing training area used by the British Army.
These parts of Kimmeridge will be closed when in use with clear warning signs in place.
However, army activity does not tend to impact on people wishing to visit the main beach and village and the ranges make for some of the most interesting and breathtaking walking routes in Purbeck. Keep to waymarked paths at all times.
General safety advice at Kimmeridge Bay
As with all areas of the UK coastline, it is important to keep a sensible distance from the foot of the cliff as rock falls can occur.
The ledges can also be slippery, so take care when exploring.
Fossil hunting and the use of hammers is prohibited.
Dogs and safety at Kimmeridge
Dogs are welcome at the bay all year round.
If you have an adventurous dog who fancies himself as a rock climber, keep a close eye or a lead on hand as it can be quite slippery and uneven for little legs.
If you are walking up to Clavell Tower, note that there is a sheer drop from the cliff, so keep your four-legged friend on a lead here.
How to get to Kimmeridge Bay
For your SatNav: BH20 5PF
The best way to get to Kimmeridge Bay is by driving.
You can drive down the toll road to the car park, or walk from the village.
Follow the A351, turning left after Corfe Castle towards Church Knowle. Continue until you see signs for Kimmeridge.
There are two routes from Wareham: Via the A351 and Grange Road, or via the B3075 and Furzebrook Road.
There are currently no bus services that go to Kimmeridge.
Access and parking
Kimmeridge Bay is accessed via a toll road, which costs £5 and is payable on arrival at a booth.
Parking is then free for both the bay and the Wild Seas Centre.
There is also parking in Kimmeridge village for visitors to the Etches Collection and Clavell’s café.
Nearby points of interest
- Steeple – The church in this tiny hamlet and walking routes through the Purbeck countryside makes for a lovely, quiet explore
- Church Knowle – A pretty village with a pub, children’s play area and the Margaret Green Animal Rescue Centre
- Tyneham – A short drive from Kimmeridge is the ‘ghost village’ of Tyneham, which was abandoned in WW2
- East Creech – The picture-postcard hamlet of East Creech is a wonderful way to wile away an hour with its pretty duck pond and tea room that serves freshly-baked scones. There are also good walking routes into the Purbeck Hills from here