Nestled at the foot of the picturesque village of West Lulworth, Lulworth Cove is one of the most photographed beauty spots in Britain and an important geological area of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

With its distinctive horseshoe shape and being surrounded by stunning cliff walks and rich geological history, a visit to Lulworth Cove makes for a full and memorable day out, with many unique places to explore, including Stair Hole, the Fossil Forest, the Lulworth Crumple and the nearby equally famous Durdle Door.

Start your day at Lulworth Cove with a stop at the visitor centre for the lowdown on the fascinating history of this special part of the Jurassic Coast, and for tips on where to explore first

You’ll discover plenty of places to grab a quick bite to eat or to laze over a long lunch whilst taking in the incredible views just a short walk from Lulworth Cove.

Or, if you’re feeling active, Lulworth Outdoors, situated right by the car park, provides an array of beach-related activities from kayaking to snorkel tours in the cove.

Round your day off with an ice cream from one of the various ice cream parlours, or a drink at one of the local pubs or cafés.

And find a souvenir to take home with you from the traditional sweet shop The Doll’s House, or one of the gift shops in the village.

Exploring in and around Lulworth Cove

The crystal clear waters and pure white pebbles on the shore of the cove itself are enough to keep a family entertained for a day at the beach.

However, there is so much to explore just a stone’s throw from Lulworth that you’ll want to return again and again to explore further – from the geology visible in the cliffs that hug the cove to the nearby landforms of the Lulworth Crumple, Stair Hole, and the intriguing Fossil Forest, and from breathtaking cliff walks to a picture-postcard village to amble around in.

Lulworth is also home to an array of wildlife, including 25 different kinds of birds and over 20 species of butterfly, such as the Lulworth Skipper, which is found only in south Dorset and named after the area here.

A good way to discover the flora and fauna of Lulworth is via the Army range walks, or by picking up the South West Coast Path and other trails – you can pick up walking route maps and information at the reception area of the visitor centre.

Lulworth Visitor and Information Centre entrance
Find out more about the area at the Visitor Centre
Stair Hole viewed from the path at Lulworth
The nearby Stair Hole and Lulworth Crumple showcase the area's geology
Rowan tree in front of colourful buildings and the Lulworth Cove Inn in West Lulworth
There are various pubs to stop for a drink or some food
Traditional sweet shop, the Doll's House, in West Lulworth village
Traditional fudge and sweet shop, the Doll's House
People milling around outside Finlay's café in West Lulworth
Grab some fish and chips for an al fresco supper at the cove
Lulworth Cove view from Durdle Door path
Walk up the hill to view Lulworth Cove from above
Signs at Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove is a great base for exploring other nearby attractions such as Durdle Door
Thatched cottage with blue gate in West Lulworth
Pretty thatched cottages line the streets of West Lulworth
Boat in the sea by The Boat Shed Cafe in Lulworth
Waterside café The Boat Shed is right on the beach
Fossilised remains of a forest in Lulworth, Dorset
Lulworth Fossil Forest (Picture credit: Julian Dowse)
Orange Lulworth Skipper butterfly resting on a lilac flower
Lulworth Skipper (Picture credit: Alistair Rae)
Lulworth Range walks sign with Purbeck hills in distance
Pick up the inland and coastal pathways of the Lulworth Range Walks

Lulworth Cove in film and literature

Lulworth Cove and the surrounding Purbeck countryside has inspired famous writers such as Enid Blyton and Thomas Hardy. Hardy specifically refers to the cove in his 1920 poem At Lulworth Cove a Century Back, which pays tribute to poet John Keats, who it is believed set sail to Rome from here.

Hardy also wrote of ‘Lulwind Cove’ in Far From the Madding Crowd, capturing the essence of Lulworth in his words:

‘A small basin of sea enclosed by the cliffs… between two projecting spurs of rock which formed the pillars of Hercules to this miniature Mediterranean.’

Opening scenes in the 2015 movie adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd are shot here and at Durdle Door, amongst others locations in Dorset throughout the film.

Hollywood zombie blockbuster World War Z also has a scene toward the end of the movie shot at Lulworth Cove.

Other TV adaptations to use Lulworth Cove include Mike Leigh’s Nuts in May, the Doctor Who serial The Curse of Fenric and Blyton’s Five on a Treasure Island.

Brad Pitt in speedboat at Lulworth Cove for World War Z film
Brad Pitt filmed a scene in a boat in Lulworth Cove for his World War Z movie (courtesy of Paramount Pictures)
Still from Doctor Who The Curse of Fenric showing Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove features in an old Doctor Who episode (picture credit: BBC Studios)
Doctor Who monsters coming out of the sea at Lulworth Cove during filming for The Curse of Fenric
Doctor Who's 'haemovores' coming out of the sea at Lulworth Cove (BBC Studios)
Still from Far From the Madding Crowd, with Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan stars in Far From the Madding Crowd in various locations in Dorset (picture courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Adaptation of Enid Byton's Five on a Treasure Island (credit: Zenith North/HTV)

How to get to Lulworth Cove

By car

For your SatNav: BH20 5RQ

The easiest way to get to Lulworth Cove is by driving.

From Swanage

Follow the A351 from Swanage through Harman’s Cross and Corfe Castle. At the Stoborough/Furzebrook roundabout, continue on the A351 and take the first left onto West Lane and then right onto Holme Lane.

When you reach the B3070, turn left and stay on this road until you reach West Lulworth village, where there will be signposts to the cove and car park.

Journey time: Approximately 35 minutes.

From Wareham

Leave Wareham via Worgret Road or the A351 and join the A352.

Turn left onto the B3070 and follow the road until you reach Lulworth Cove.

Journey time: Approximately 20 minutes

From Weymouth

Take the B3155 and A353, turning right onto the A352 at the Warmwell Cross roundabout.

Turn right down Water Lane at the Red Lion pub and follow the road through Winfrith Newburgh until you reach Lulworth.

Journey time: Approximately 30 minutes

Google Maps

Parking

View of Lulworth car park from Durdle Door path

The path to Lulworth Cove from Durdle Door

The cove is a short walk from the large visitor car park in West Lulworth village.

You can also walk up the hill to Durdle Door from here, although there is a car park closer to Durdle Door at the Durdle Door holiday park (BH20 5PU).

Parking is pay-and-display:

  • Four hours – £5
  • All day – £10
  • Minibuses/oversized – £15

Both car parks can be extremely busy during peak seasons, so arriving early or checking opening status ahead of time is advised.

By bus

Public transport options to Lulworth Cove are subject to seasonal changes. There is, however, a regular service that runs between Weymouth and Bovington, which (if you are coming from Wareham via train), you can pick up at Wool train station.

The following bus routes stop at Lulworth:

Summer buses

No. 30 – Weymouth to Swanage

Runs every day between May and September.

X55 – Weymouth to Bovington

This service runs once in the morning, returning late afternoon, between Easter and September (excluding school days).

More frequent buses run between Bovington and Lulworth.

Winter bus

X54 – Weymouth to Poole

Running four times a day on weekdays between Easter and September.

Nearby coves and bays

The Isle of Purbeck has many more coves to explore, each showcasing a different aspect of the beautiful Jurassic Coast.

Some, like Lulworth Cove have become a magnet for visitors and people wishing to relocate; others are more off-the-beaten-track and secluded.

(Note that Pondfield Cove, Worbarrow Bay and Mupe Bay are only accessible when the live firing ranges are open to the public.)

Coves

  • Chapman’s Pool – A small, rugged and quiet cove near the village of Worth Matravers, which is fairly challenging, yet rewarding, to get to
  • Man O’ War Bay – For a cove surrounded by dramatic scenery head to Man O’ War Bay, which sits adjacent to Durdle Door. You can walk here from Lulworth Cove
  • Pondfield Cove – This tiny, stony cove can be found next to Worbarrow Bay, a short walk from the abandoned village, Tyneham
Chapman's Pool and farmland viewed from hill above
Chapman's Pool (Picture credit: Suzanne Knights)
Man O' War Bay from the Durdle Door cliff walk
Man O' War Bay from Durdle Door path
People sitting on a rock at Pondfield Cove near Worbarrow Bay
Pondfield Cove near Worbarrow Bay

Bays

The bays of Purbeck are diverse, offering family-friendly beaches as well as rugged coastline.

  • Kimmeridge Bay – Known for its high volume of fossils, Kimmeridge Bay and its surrounding area make for fantastic walking, snorkelling and geology
  • Studland Bay – Home to four miles sandy beaches as well as healthland and sand dunes to explore
  • Swanage Bay – Swanage town hugs the bay, with its sandy beach, safe swimming and watersports opportunities
  • Worbarrow Bay – For a more untouched beach experience, head to the village of Tyneham and walk down to Worbarrow Bay
  • Mupe Bay – Trickier to access, much like Chapman’s Pool, Mupe Bay is a secluded, tranquil rock and shingle cove, which is around a two-mile, and fairly challenging, walk from West Lulworth
Seaweed on the shore of Kimmeridge beach
The beach at Kimmeridge Bay
Sandy beach at Knoll Beach, Studland
Knoll Beach - one of the sandy beaches of Studland Bay
Swanage Bay and view from Townsend Nature Reserve
View over Swanage Bay and town
Couple sitting at a picnic table overlooking Worbarrow Bay
Worbarrow Bay
Single boat in the sea off Mupe Bay, Purbeck
Mupe Bay (Picture credit: Jim Champion)

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