We settled ourselves in front of the TV after dinner on a Thursday night. My husband started flicking through the channels. We weren’t sure what we wanted to watch. We came upon a show about Britain’s Greatest National Treasures. The Jurassic Coast was included in the list. The beauty of it caught both of our breath. My husband turned to me and said let’s go. When have I said no to an offer like that! So the plan was hatched to go there over that weekend. My husband’s job is to make the bookings while I have the more pleasurable job of doing the research and creating an itinerary.
The Jurassic Coast begins in the Southwest of England on the English Channel. It spans 96 miles moving Southeast and spans across both Devon and Dorset. It begins at Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon and ends at Old Harry Rocks near Studland Bay in East Dorset. This coast is designated as an AONB, meaning Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There is the Southwest Coast Path that would be ideal to enjoy the amazing vistas but we neither had time nor the strength to walk the miles. Since this was a quick weekend trip, we didn’t have time to do everything. I am just going to touch upon the places we visited but there is so much more to see. Any itinerary, though, must contain a drive down the coastal highway B3157.
We left early in the morning from London for our first stop, Ladram Bay in Devon, which is about 175 miles away. Ladram Bay has some lovely seastack columns created by the erosion.
The next stop on my list was Sidmouth. Sidmouth is a lovely seaside resort town. I loved Sidmouth and thought it to be one of the most beautiful towns I have ever seen. It seemed laid back and less crowded than other towns we have visited. The gorgeous Victoria Hotel presiding over the coast from its location on a mound, took me back in time.
We decided to grab a meal at the cafe on the beach. The big surprise was the the town itself. Driving towards our next stop on the coast the GPS directed us to take the inside streets of Sidmouth. Oh, what a pleasure that was. There were so many charming homes and old fashioned inns that I had to explore it more. My husband obliged and drove me through the various lovely streets. I think the best part of the trip was that. I hung on to the car window enjoying each and every pretty sight despite a weird look or two from people.
Even though we had a rough itinerary, we stopped for anything and everything that caught our breath. If we liked a view, we stopped, got out of the car, admired it. I took photographs to my heart’s content.
We moved onto Lyme Regis from Sidmouth. Lyme Regis has a bay which is very popular with the beach goers. It is right on the Devon-Dorset border. The fossils emerge from the cliffs in the surrounding coastline here. A little titbit for Jane Austen fans. The Cobb, the harbor wall is mentioned in her novel Persuasion.
We reached at the time of the low tide. The bars, cafes and beaches were packed. The best thing I enjoyed about our stop there was the bocce competition going on between the teams of seniors. The green grass dotted with the bocce balls and people in white clothes made the whole scene so charming. We waited at the stone wall and enjoyed the game in progress.
But we had to move. We needed to reach Bournemouth for our night halt before it got dark. On we went to Chesil Beach. I remembered the posters of the movie, On Chesil Beach, at tube stations in London. It was a movie I wanted to see, but somehow didn’t get to. The beach on the movie poster looked so beautiful that I told myself that one day I would like to see that beach. Here we were at the same beautiful pebbled beach. The contrast between the blue of the English Channel, the yellowish pebbles, and the light blue sky under midday sun was striking.
By that time it was quite hot and the beach was sparsely populated. I can go on and on about the charm of it all but why bother with the words when pictures can do it better.
Okay, let’s go to the next place on my itinerary. We took the scenic coastal highway B3157 from Bridport to Weymouth, distance of about 18 miles. We quickly drove around Isle of Portland and reached Weymouth. We made stops at Abbotsbury and Hive Beach Cafe. The view down below from the Abbotsbury Hill is breath taking. There is a parking space for a few cars on the side of the highway. If you do this trip stop there and admire the view.
Our aim was to see Durdle Door last before heading to our hotel. Weymouth was crowded with traffic. We decided not to take a break there and go on to Durdle Door. Durdle Door is between Weymouth and Swanage. It is one of the most popular sight to see on the Jurassic Coast. We almost missed the turn. There was no proper signage. We finally made it to the Durdle Door. Parking was packed. In my quick research I had not read anywhere that it’s a hike to reach Durdle Door. By the time we reached there I was feeling quite tired. But seeing the Durdle Door pumped a little bit of adrenaline in my body. We went down the cliff to admire the Durdle Door. Durdle in old English means drilled. It is a drilled out archway or a ‘door’ in the limestone cliff.
When we reached the cliff above Durdle Door, we stood in awe of the power of the nature and admired view down below us. Another view to seek out there is the Lulworth Cove. The trek back to the car from our vantage point was a tough one. I wish we had begun our day there rather than ended it there. I would have had more energy and we would have more time to do the hike and just relax and enjoy the view for a longer time.
By this time I was ready to crash in my hotel bed. But we had one more place to visit. While I was doing my research, I read that West Lulworth had pretty thatched roof cottages and I was totally sold on visiting it during our trip. I love English cottages with thatched roofs and quaint timber frames. Who doesn’t! We finally made it to West Lulworth. We walked around and admired these lovely cottages at sunset. We had planned to have dinner in Bournemouth but decided why not eat in this lovely locale. We had a nice meal seating on the patio of a local pub.
Now the only things left on my list were Old Harry Rocks and Corfe Castle. We left them for the next day and went to our hotel in Bournemouth. After a late breakfast and lazy morning we went to Studland and Old Harry Rocks. It is about a mile’s trek to the Handfast Point from which you can admire the white chalk rocks rising from the sea.
This point is located on Purbeck Island in Dorset and it is the eastern most point on the Jurassic Coast. This trek is not hard at all. There is hardly any climbing. The views are breathtaking. It was a nice day with a light sea breeze. We met people with picnic hampers spread out in the tall grass. The sail boats were out in the Studland Bay. The whole scene was romantic and idyllic We decided to not go up Corfe Castle and enjoy these views a little longer. May be we will do Corfe Castle some other time. We wanted to relax and have a lazy lunch at one of the inns we had seen on the road and reach back home before the dinner time. What a great way to end our trip at this UNESCO heritage sight. With plenty of pictures and mind exhilarated with the natural beauty we saw, we returned back to London. I was ready to sit down and write my blog post and share with my readers all about our trip to the Jurassic Coast.