Places To Go - Gateway Towns

As well as being ideal points of access to the Jurassic Coast, Gateway Towns provide a whole range of services for visitors. Each town is also a destination in its own right.

The official Gateway Towns to the Jurassic Coast have road signs which you will clearly see as you enter the towns concerned.

All the towns featured in the following list - not just the Gateway Towns -  will help make your visit special.


Old and new lie side by side to make Exeter a rich and vibrant city.

Read more: Exeter


Gateway Town road sign

Exmouth, at the estuary's mouth, marks the World Heritage Coastline's western gateway and despite being one of England's oldest resorts, remains untouched by commercialism.

Read more: Exmouth

Budleigh Salterton

Gateway Town road sign

This tranquil and historic seaside town nestles on the edge of a pebble beach beneath spectacular red cliffs, made famous by literary giants such as Noel Coward, P.G. Woodhouse and Anthony Trollope.

Read more: Budleigh Salterton


Gateway Town road sign

Sidmouth still has a unique charm, which has captivated thousands. Beautiful gardens, leisurely walks, Regency history, fine hotels, clean beaches and friendly shops - it's all here in this lovely seaside town.

Read more: Sidmouth


The picturesque village of Branscombe is said to be the longest in the country, sweeping down a spectacular valley, past colourful thatched cottages with hanging baskets and climbing roses, down to the sea and a shingle beach.

Read more: Branscombe

Ottery St Mary

Ottery St Mary is a little town with a long history. Ottery's roots run deeper than Doomsday Book. In 1061, Edward the Confessor ceded the already established wealthy manor of Oterie to the Cathedral Chapter of Rouen.


Read more: Ottery St Mary


Honiton is famous for lace making and is also a major centre for antiques, with shops devoted to furniture, art and second-hand books.

Read more: Honiton


Gateway Town road sign

Nestling in a small valley, lies the delightful, 'picture postcard', fishing village of Beer.

Read more: Beer


Gateway Town road sign

Tucked away in the south eastern corner of Devon, is the beautiful, unspoilt Axe Valley. At the mouth of the River Axe is the friendly, coastal resort of Seaton.

Read more: Seaton


A ten minute walk along the coast from Seaton is the ancient harbour of Axmouth, home to the Sea Discovery Centre.

Read more: Axmouth


Axminster, is a pleasant market town with charm and character. Its famous carpet industry was started in 1755, by Thomas Whitty whose factory produced high quality, custom made carpets for stately homes and mansions.

Read more: Axminster

Lyme Regis

Gateway Town road sign

The seaside town of Lyme Regis nestles in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at the point where the rugged West Dorset and East Devon coastlines meet - the heart of the Jurassic Coast.

Read more: Lyme Regis


Gateway Town road sign

Charmouth is a quiet seaside hamlet where time has stood still - the perfect location for a relaxing holiday. It is the best place along the Jurassic Coast to look for fossils.

Read more: Charmouth


Bridport is a small market town with a warm welcome and a world renowned rope and net making industry.

Read more: Bridport

West Bay

Gateway Town road sign

Just south of Bridport is the pretty harbour village of West Bay, once known as Bridport Harbour. 

Read more: West Bay


This very old village, settled amongst the hills behind the great Chesil Bank, is world famous for its swannery.

Read more: Abbotsbury


Gateway Town road sign

Portland is an explorer's island with beautiful scenery and a mysterious quality of isolation, joined only to the mainland by Chesil Beach.

Read more: Portland


Gateway Town road signWeymouth has so much to offer every visitor. Its fame as a seaside resort dates back over 200 years when King George III holidayed here.

Read more: Weymouth


Dorchester is a historic market town with its roots in Roman times; however it is most famously associated with Thomas Hardy. With its elegant 18th century houses, broad Walks and bustling shopping streets, Dorchester has much to offer the visitor.

Read more: Dorchester

West Lulworth

Lulworth Cove is a stunning, textbook perfect, cove and the landscape surrounding it is some of the most outstanding in Britain.

Read more: West Lulworth


Long rock ledges, a pebbled beach line and rocky outcrops all make this bay stunning.

Read more: Kimmeridge

Langton Matravers

This section is being developed.

Read more: Langton Matravers


Gateway Town road sign

The gentle shelving beach at Swanage, with its Victorian pier and fabulous views across to the Needles on the Isle of Wight, is hugely popular with families.

Read more: Swanage


The lovely village of Studland is famous for its National Nature Reserve and beautiful natural bay. The village has an interesting Norman church with breathtaking views across the bay.

Read more: Studland

Corfe Castle

This section is being developed.

Read more: Corfe Castle


Gateway Town road sign

Wareham is a fascinating and picturesque market town which dates back over 2000 years.

Read more: Wareham


Poole Harbour is the second largest harbour in the world after Sydney, Australia. The Quay is a hive of activity all year round with a huge array of fishing boats, yachts, powerboats and pleasure cruisers.

Read more: Poole


Bournemouth is a superb resort and offers something for everyone.

Read more: Bournemouth