Sunrise behind Durdle Door, on the Jurassic Coast.

©Billy Stock/Shutterstock

Durdle Door

Top choice in Dorset

Durdle Door is the poster child of Dorset's Jurassic Coast. This immense, sea-fringed, 150-million-year-old Portland stone arch was created by a combination of massive earth movements and erosion. Today it's framed by shimmering bays, with a long sand-and-shingle beach and high limestone cliffs behind. A swim here is unforgettable, but there are no lifeguards.

The route from the car park

You can park at the top of the cliffs (four hours £5). Make the most of the facilities here as there is nothing down at the beach. The path to Durdle Door is around 0.5 miles (900m) and very steep with over 140 steps. Wear appropriate footwear, and be prepared to carry all your belongings and trash back up the path with you on your return. 

Undulating cliffs leading down to a sandy and shingle beach, with a huge stone archway at one end
Be prepared for a steep walk down the cliffs to the beach at Durdle Door © Owen Vachell / Getty Images

Alternative routes

The route from Lulworth Cove follows a section of the South West Coast Path (approx 1 mile). A quieter and much more rewarding (if testing) walk is east along the coast from Ringstead, or from the car park 0.5 miles northeast of that village (7.4 miles return).

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