The Mariners is a lovely 17th century building in the heart of Lyme Regis. Formerly a coaching house, it is a stylish mix of old and new.
DORSET JURASSIC COASTAL PATH & RIDGEWAY
4,6 or 7 days walking/5, 7 or 8 nights
A self-guided walking holiday exploring the beautiful UNESCO designated coastline of southern England
Stunning coastline, one of the most varied and interesting in England
Beautiful secluded bays such as Lulworth Cove and towering cliffs such as Golden Cap the highest point on England's south coast.
Lovely beaches, and strange rock formations like Durdle Door
A largely unspoilt countryside, peppered with pretty hamlets and villages with historic thatched cottages and traditional English pubs and tea rooms
Picturesque seaside port of Lyme Regis and the beautiful villages of Abbotsbury and Corfe with its impressive castle
The Dorset coastline has been designated a natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its unique insight into the Earth' history, depicting a geological ‘walk through time' spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods
A new walking experience each day as the landscape changes with the different rock types
Superb panoramic views from the Dorset ridgeway
Let 's discover the full itinerary!
Day 1: Arrival in Lyme Regis
Welcome, and night at Lyme Regis, the ‘Pearl of Dorset.’. Explore this historic picturesque port and stroll along the Cobb - its famous harbour walls. Settle into your accommodation, then take the afternoon to get acquainted with this historic seaside resort. Head to the picturesque port for a stroll along its famous harbor walls, following the Marine Parade promenade with shops, pubs, and restaurants on one side and the sea on the other.
Extra night in Lyme Regis is possible.
Day 2: Lyme Regis - West Bay
Your first day's walking brings you quickly to Charmouth at a gap in the coastal hills, which is a great place to look for fossils. There is a Heritage Visitors Centre. Your trail continues up and down several hills including the ascent of Golden Cap, the highest cliff on the coast of southern England giving wonderful views both along the coast and inland. Much of this area is owned by the National Trust and farmed using traditional methods meaning that it has plenty of wild flowers and butterflies in early summer. West Bay is a small harbour village with lovely sea cliff views.
Overnight: West Bay, Walk: 17km, +530m
Day 3: West Bay - Abbotsbury
An easier day in store. After some relatively small hills following the cliff tops, the trail levels out as you approach the amazing Chesil Beach - a huge ridge of shingle 13km long, creating a lagoon on its landward side. On the way there is the opportunity to visit the picturesque historic Dorset village of Burton Bradstock with many 17th-century thatched cottages. This stretch is good for bird spotting and there is a nature conservation reserve. Your walking trail turns inland at the start of the beach and shortly afterwards reaches the pretty village of Abbotsbury with lots of stone and thatched cottages as well as several other buildings and sites of interest.
Overnight: Abbotsbury, Walk: 14km, +210m
Day 4: Abbotsbury - Osmington Mills
Your walking trail takes you inland along The Ridgeway - a chalk ridge which runs for 20km east-west, famous for its quantity of barrows (burial earth mounds) built here during the Bronze Age - one of the highest concentrations in the UK. The ridge provides fine walking and great panoramic views, one of the best being from Hardy's Monument at 240m above sea level. Just before the monument is the Valley of the Stones with impressive Celtic field systems still visible and naturally occurring large stones. On route it is possible to make a detour to Maiden Castle - a hugely impressive Neolithic and Iron Age hill fort which dominates the local landscape.
Overnight: Osmington Mills, Walk: 21km, +310m
Day 5: Osmington Mills - Lulworth
You walking trail returns to the coast and traverses the top of some beautiful chalk cliffs such as the great chalk headland of White Nothe which provides glorious views. The rolling landscape is beautiful and the green pastures and wild flowers contrast starkly with the white cliffs. On your way to Lulworth you'll pass Durdle Door, a great natural arch of limestone through which the sea passes. The day finshes with a beautiful walk over Hambury Tout to Lulworth. Lulworth cove is without doubt one of the most perfect coves in the UK bounded by cliffs and hills forming a secluded spot to rest weary legs. Historic buildings abound in the small village.
Overnight: Lulworth, Walk: max 10km, +420m
The short break option finishes at Lulworth and your holiday ends after breakfast on day 6
Day 6: Lulworth - Worth Matravers
Your great day's walk starts by going over the cliffs surrounding Lulworth Cove before passing the Fossil Forest to reach Smugglers Cove. This part of your walking trail follows some dramatic cliff top walking around a series of picturesque bays and headlands which change form with the changing geology, such as the beautiful Worbarrow Bay. It's worth making the detour to Tyneham, a deserted village in a lovely setting in a clay valley between chalk and limestone hills. Evacuated in 1943, no-one has lived there since. Other highlights of the walking trail include Kimmeridge Bay and Chapman's Pool. Night at either of the lovely inland villages of Kingston or Worth Matravers.
Overnight: Worth Matravers, Walk: 19km, +650m.
Day 7: Worth Matravers - Swanage
Today's walking is undulating but less strenuous than on day 6. Your route undulates along limestone downs along beautiful cliff tops. Your day starts by going around the large headland of St Albans Head offering great views. The route is punctuated by old quarry workings exploited when stone was directly loaded onto boats out at sea. After passing Durleston Head you'll reach the seaside resort of Swanage.
Overnight: Swanage, Walk: 18km, +180m.
Day 8: Departure
7-night holiday ends after breakfast.
Extra Day Option - Day 9: Swanage - Corfe Castle
The optional extra day's walking climbs onto the chalk ridge of the Purbeck Hills. From here you have great views over the amazing Poole Harbour. From here it's possible to extend your walk to Old Harry Rocks, a chalk headland with detached stacks or rock towers. Afterwards the trail goes through the pretty village of Studland before returning to the ridge which you follow to the beautiful village of Corfe Castle located in a gap in the Dorset hills. The superb old castle ruins dominate the village.
Overnight: Corfe Castle, Walk: 16-19km, up to +440m.
Day 9: Departure
8-night holiday ends after breakfast.
At a glance
15 March - 31 October
From £655 per person (based on 2 sharing), 5-night option
5-8 nights / 4-7 days walking
Distance: 10-21km per day
Ascent: 180-650m per day
Small B&Bs, amily run hotels & inns
Bed and breakfast
Other self-guided walking holidays in Dorset
Wonders of Wessex Walk
Other walking holidays along the South West Coast Path
Other coastal self-guided Walking holidays in Europe
This independent walking holiday follows a stunning section of the South West Coastal Trail between Lyme Regis and Swanage in Dorset, with a possible extension to Corfe Castle. This spectacular coast is one of the most interesting and varied in the UK and has been designated a natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO with its cliffs capturing 185 million years of the Earth's history.
Your self-guided walking trail starts at the picturesque old port of Lyme Regis, nicknamed "The Pearl of Dorset" and noted for the fossils found in the cliffs and beaches and its historic harbour. Your route then takes you over Golden Cap, which at 190m is the highest cliff in southern England and provides amazing panoramic views. After passing Abbotsbury, a beautiful village with the largest thatched building in the world, your route takes you onto the Dorset Ridgeway with great views and numerous prehistoric earthworks. You'll have the opportunity to visit several historic villages crammed with old stone thatched cottages with welcoming inns if you fancy a real ale and tea shops if you'd prefer scones and cream tea.
As you progress eastwards, so the variety and beauty of the landscape seems to increase with every new corner. Highlights include the classic picture postcard sites of Durdle Door's rock arch, and the perfect circular bay of Lulworth Cove. Stunning cliffs accompany you through the army ranges (see note on the introduction page about when it's open) in the most strenuous section of the walk. You can extend your walk from Swanage by following the Purbeck hills to the remarkable village of Corfe Castle and its castle ruins.
- 5-7 nights, 4-6 days independent walking between guest houses
- Option of extra day's walking from Swanage to Corfe Castle
- Short break option also available from Lyme Regis to Lulworth
Everyday of the week subject to availability from 15 March to 31 October
7 & 8 night holidays starts every day during the English school holiday periods from 1 April - 31 October. Outside of these periods the first night in Lyme Regis starts on Monday or Tuesday. This is due to the route going through the Army Ranges at Lulworth on day 6 and this route is only available when firing is not taking place. Normally it is available during school holidays and at weekends, but there are some weekends throughout the year when it is not open, so please contact us before you book.
Walking Profile & Grade
The walking days on this independent holiday average about 16km in distance. The walking varies with some easy sections, whilst other sections of the Dorset coastal path have some sizeable and reasonably steep ascents and descents where care is required, especially in wet conditions. A couple of the days have a series of ups and downs making them quite difficult days for the grade with a maximum daily ascent of 650m. For the most part your walking trail follows a national footpath and it is therefore well signposted.
This walking holiday is graded moderate. You should have some experience of day walking and be in reasonable health. See more information about walking grades.
Accommodation & Meals
This independent walking holiday in Dorset has a range of good quality guest houses, bed and breakfasts and inns. In some locations the choice of accommodation is limited so please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation. Where possible, we choose guest houses with a distinctive local character, where charming surroundings are married with a warm welcome. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Evening meals are taken in local cafes, tea rooms, restaurants and pubs, whilst lunches can be bought at local shops or from your guest house.
Where is the Dorset Jurassic Coast?
When to Travel
Our self-guided walking holiday on the Dorset Coast is available from mid March to the end of October. Rainfall on the south coast is well below the UK average, with conditions becoming drier as you head further east. July has the lowest level of rainfall on average of any month, as well as the warmest temperatures. As the walk takes place along the coast, you’ll be exposed to windy conditions, which may help to keep it cool in warmer weather but may make it feel decidedly cool in poor weather. Here is more detail concerning the walking seasons.
The climate is generally mild in spring, especially from April onwards with a good number of sunny clear days, interspersed with cooler and wet weather. There are fewer tourists than in peak summer and so for those that don't mind cool mornings then April and May are ideal months.. From mid March to May the average daytime temperatures are between 10°C and 17°C.
Most days in summer range from mild to warm with the possibility of some rare hotter days. There may be overcast and humid conditions in the summer and the risk of storms is highest in the summer. From June to August the average daytime temperatures are between 19°C and 21°C.
The climate can vary from some pleasantly mild days particularly at the start of September to cooler days in October. Visitors can see some wonderful autumn colours. From September to end of October the average daytime temperatures drop from 18°C to 14°C.
Navigation, Walking Notes & Maps
Most of this walking holiday follows the long distance South West Coast path which is signposted along its entire length. The symbol for the trail is an acorn and these are often shown on signposts accompanied by the words coastal path or a particular direction and the distance. The walking follows clear paths, tracks and minor roads for its entire duration. The walk will use other footpaths to access accommodation, villages or local sites. Our walking notes are very detailed (more information here) and include intermediate distances for sections of the trail. They also include information about the sites which can be explored along the route. We supply one walking guide per person on this holiday.
- 5 nights, 4 days walking - From £655
- 7 nights, 6 days walking - From £840
- 8 nights, 7 days walking - From £935
- Prices are per person and based on 2 sharing a room
- Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
What's included in the price
- 5, 7 or 8 night's accommodation on a B&B basis
- Transport of luggage between guest houses (1 bag per person)
- Detailed walking notes with information about the local sites
- OS walking maps
What's not included in the price
- All lunches and evening meals
- Drinks (except at breakfast)
- Transport to Lyme Regis and from Lulworth, Swanage or Corfe Castle
- Travel insurance
- Any entrance fees
- A deposit payment of 30% or at least £250 or 250€ per person must be made to confirm your booking. The balance of payments is due 8 weeks before the holiday date. If the holiday date is less that 8 weeks away at the time of booking, then the full price should be paid.
This independent walking holiday in Dorset has a range of good quality guest houses, bed and breakfasts and inns. In some locations the choice of accommodation is limited so please book early to ensure that we can secure our first choice accommodation.. Where possible, we choose guest houses with a distinctive local character, where charming surroundings are married with a warm welcome. All accommodation is on a B&B basis. Evening meals are taken in local cafes, tea rooms, restaurants and pubs, whilst lunches can be bought at local shops or from your guest house. Here are a couple of examples:
Not far from the village of Osmington lies Osmington Mills, with breathtaking views of the Isle of Portland. Dating back to the 13th century, the Smuggler’s Inn is known to have been the home of the leader of the most notorious gang of smugglers in the area. The inn has 4 ensuite double rooms and offers award-winning Badger cask ales, lagers from around the world and a menu full of fresh, seasonal dishes using quality ingredients from regional food partners.
Extra nights are possible at any of the stopovers during the holiday, for example you could stay an extra night in Abbotsbury if you wanted more time to explore the area including the amazing Chesil beach, as well as Abbotsbury's tropical gardens and swannery. You may also wish to opt for an extra night at the start or end of your self-guided walking holiday. An extra night in Lyme Regis would give you the option of undertaking the walking stage of the South West coastal trail from Seaton to Lyme Regis which traverses Undercliff National Nature Reserve, a woodland with plenty of wildlife interest created from natural coastal landslides. If you are finishing in Lulworth you can stay an extra night to explore the beautiful Lulworth Cove.
Combining walking holidays
This coastal trail walking holiday can be combined with any of our walking holidays elsewhere on the southwest coastal path.
Here is a selection of tailor-made trips to inspire you when considering your holiday in southern Britain.
Embark on an extraordinary journey, weaving through the captivating tapestry of England's coastal wonders and historical treasures. From the treasures of the UNESCO listed Dorset coast to the beautiful remote Scilly Isles located beyond the tip of Cornwall your coastal adventure will be a rural escape sandwiched between the cultural delights of London and the Cotswolds. During you trip you’ll delve deep into the traditions and riches of the English coast. From the bustle of the capital to the invigorating sea air, this getaway is designed to be a rewarding experience for both adults and the little ones.
Imagine a 10-day English adventure packed with historic castles, charming villages, and a dose of that classic British charm. This trip has a bit of everything for everyone. As we kick off this journey, our suitcases are loaded with excitement, curiosity, and, of course, a solid dose of family spirit. We're talking iconic landmarks, chill sessions in cozy pubs, and each day brings a fresh discovery and some quality family time. Whether we're navigating cityscapes, chilling by the coast, or soaking in the countryside vibes, this trip covers all the bases. Get ready for a down-to-earth exploration that's all about enjoying England's diverse landscapes and soaking in its unique culture. It's going to be 10 days of awesome discoveries and shared experiences – the kind of trip that sticks with you long after you've unpacked your bags.
The booklet was a lovely keepsake, with personalised touches. We had a great week with perfect weather for walking. The distances between overnight stops was just right.