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 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.
How to get to Lulworth Cove
For your SatNav: BH20 5RQ
The easiest way to get to Lulworth Cove is by driving.
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.
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
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
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.
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:
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.
X54 – Weymouth to Poole
Running four times a day on weekdays between Easter and September.
Nearby coves and bays
Some, like Lulworth Cove have become a magnet for visitors and people wishing to relocate; others are more off-the-beaten-track and secluded.
- 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
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