Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Jurassic Coast in 2019
Liz from Classic Cottages shares her top 10 reasons to visit England’s only natural World Heritage Site in 2019.
Fact. Everyone loves Lyme Regis and it has to be one of my favourite places. There’s something wonderfully unspoilt about the place, be it the Cobb (which dates back to around 1313) and stands proudly out to sea, affording fabulous views along the coast, or the long flat promenade which follows the length of the beach.
You can choose to eat fish and chips overlooking the sea, or go upmarket and enjoy one of the spectacular restaurants like Hix Oyster & Fish House. Personally, I love the view from Lyme Bay Pizza, and there’s even a webcam so you can check the view and dream about your next visit. Take a look here.
I love the name, although I’m not too sure of the connection with the meaning of the word Durdle which is “drill”. This natural limestone arch has to be one of the most iconic landmarks in the country, and can be found on the Lulworth Estate by following the cliff path or from the car park. It’s a steep walk down to the cove and not suitable for wheelchairs. Admission is free but you do need to pay for parking and the views are stunning, and well worth the effort to get there.
Even if tanks aren’t your thing, you just have to pay a visit here. It’s vast. From the invention of the tank during the First World War, Bovington has been home to the world’s largest collection, and now has six massive halls where you can see examples of over 300 vehicles.
There’s a nice café, shop and lots of outdoor space and you can spend either an hour or a full day here. Throughout 2019 there’s a great range of additional exhibitions and shows; check their website for full details.
A visit to Durdle Door wouldn’t be complete without seeing the stunning white crescent beach of Lulworth Cove. There are plenty of facilities near the car park, including a heritage centre and places to eat, so you can stock up and head down to the beach for the day. Access is fine to the beach itself but it is a steep walk if coming from Durdle Door.
Swimming in the crystal clear waters is a must, and at low tide the rockpools expose a plethora of sea life. If the kids are after a beach to build sandcastles then look elsewhere, pebbles do not a good sandcastle make!
Chesil Beach is an extraordinary 18 miles of pebbly beach between Portland and West Bay. Fleet Lagoon separates the beach from the mainland for several miles and the area is an iconic part of the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
The long expanse is popular with walkers and at the western end there’s a newly-opened visitor centre and café.
The Golden Cap Estate offers miles of stunning scenery, walks and beaches. Located on the South West Coast Path, there’s 25 miles of footpaths to explore and some great views from the top of Stonebarrow Hill.
The National Trust own this section of the Jurassic Coast, and it’s a great place to spend the day.
Charmouth is charming (see what I did there!). Actually it really is. It’s a quintessential Dorset village with thatched cottages, local shops and cafés. The main road runs from the A35 to a large pay and display car park where the cove is dwarfed by towering cliffs.
One of the main draws to the area is the abundance of fossils which can be found on the rocky beach and whenever you visit, summer, winter or in between, you’ll find people of every age searching vigorously in a quest to find the perfect ammonite or brachiopod.
Nearby there’s the Charmouth Heritage Centre and if all your searching fails to discover the perfect specimen, you can always buy one here. Be aware though, the cliffs can be unstable so always look for fossils on the beach and don’t hammer into cliffs.
The very first time I saw Corfe Castle I was mesmerised. It looked like a castle from a fairy story, towering over the village below. Owned by the National Trust, you can visit this thousand-year old property all year round and it’s certainly worth the effort to get there, just be prepared for a steep walk from the car park. If you get the chance and it’s a clear day go at sunrise or sunset, it’s a photographer’s dream.
Old Harry Rocks
One of the iconic landmarks of the Jurassic Coast, Old Harry Rocks consists of three chalk formations. Located at Handfast Point, for the best view take a walk along the coast from South Beach car park. It’s National Trust so free if you’re a member.
The views are stunning and walking will take around an hour, or two if you stop a while. There’s a pub called the Bankes Arms close to the car park so you can treat yourself to a well-deserved drink afterwards.
If you’re interested in all things foodie, you must visit Lyme Regis for the annual Food Rocks Festival, which was founded by Mark Hix and showcases local produce, food and drink along with chefs from the South West.
With two full days of culinary delights and entertainment the event is free and well worth a visit. Classic Cottages will be there so do call in and say hello if you’re passing.
…put your feet up in one of our Jurassic Coast holiday cottages. We have everything from cosy cottages where you can snuggle up in front of an open fire, to larger town houses with lots of choices for dining out. Our collection of cottages are carefully selected, personally inspected and fully equipped to ensure you have the perfect holiday. Take a look here.
We’re also proud to be a Jurassic Coast Business Partner, helping to look after our incredible coastline for all to enjoy.