14 of the best things to do in Lulworth Cove

This tranquil corner of Dorset may surprise you, with many enjoyable activities available for families or adults seeking a relaxing retreat. With the number of things to do in Lulworth Cove, where will you begin?


Lulworth Cove is a quaint Dorset village dotted with the most picturesque areas and beautiful landscapes. A large car park serves the bustling lane leading down to the oyster-shaped cove, which is lined with shops and restaurants. The cove itself is primarily shingle with a few patches of golden sand, with crystal-clear waters providing a well-protected swimming area, making it an excellent spot for young children. Beyond the ridge lies Stair Hole, offering a glimpse into how Lulworth Cove may have appeared during its formation thousands of years ago. Plus, you can visit the nearby iconic Durdle Door.

So, if you're wondering what to do on your next holiday on the Jurassic Coast, we've compiled 14 of the best things to do in Lulworth Cove that are also close to our holiday parks, making your getaway even easier to plan!

Begin at the Lulworth Visitor centre image

Begin at the Lulworth Visitor centre

The Lulworth Visitor Centre is the ideal starting point for any visit to Dorset, so you can set out all of the things to do in Lulworth Cove. Whether you need tide times or a geological map, you can find helpful information and local guides. Admission is free, and the centre is open daily from 10am-5pm (4pm in winter) and closed on Christmas Day.

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The exhibits here highlight Lulworth's history, from the formation of the first rocks 150 million years ago to today's landscape. Animations and short films explain the coastal formation and this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why not begin here so you can start your holiday journey by appreciating the beauty and importance of what you’re bound to see on the Jurassic Coast?

A close up image of a monkey at Monkey World, Dorset.

Meet some furry friends at Monkey World

One of the best things to do in Lulworth Cove is to visit Monkey World, a 65-acre ape rescue centre in Dorset, home to 250 primates across 20 species. After abuse in their past lives, the rescued animals now live out their days here.

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The centre features picnic areas and cafes and is the setting for the TV series Monkey Life, which chronicles life at Monkey World.

It’s the perfect location for a family day out to meet some of the furriest friends!

A image of Durdle Door on a sunny day.

Visit the stunning Durdle Door

Durdle Door is Dorset's most iconic landmark – a world-famous natural rock arch. Access it by walking up the steep path from the Durdle Door car park and then descending the steps to the shingle beach, where you can spend the day taking in the stunning views. It’s a 30-40-minute drive from the East Fleet Farm camping park.

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When the tide is low, you can stroll along the beach past Scratchy Bottom and on to Bat's Head, which features a smaller rock arch at the far end.

Another option is to take the steep path down to the sea at Scratchy Bottom, but be sure to check the tide times to avoid getting cut off.

You can even go snorkelling in the rock reef at Man O'War Beach. Are you feeling adventurous this holiday?

Revel in the history of Lulworth Castle image

Revel in the history of Lulworth Castle

Lulworth Castle, located in the neighbouring village of East Lulworth, originated as an 18th-century hunting lodge before being destroyed by a fire in 1929 and is one of the many things to do near Lulworth Cove. In recent years, the Weld Estate and English Heritage have partially restored the impressive structure.

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Within the castle grounds, admire the stunning ceiling mural in the 18th-century Catholic Chapel, as well as enjoy the children's playground and tea rooms. For panoramic views, why not climb the tower?

You can also visit the nearby Past and Presents, which offers beautiful gifts to help you create a memorable getaway, alongside a café.

Bovington Tank Museum image

Bovington Tank Museum

Another one of the best things to do in Lulworth Cove is to visit The Tank Museum, which will be a self-proclaimed "biggest day out in history". The museum chronicles the evolution of the tank and its role in warfare since its first deployment in World War I.

Minack Theatre

You can explore nine indoor exhibitions featuring over 300 vehicles. However, one of the best highlights is the outdoor arena, where visitors can witness tanks in action, complete with explosions. With this, it’s important to check the events calendar so you know exactly what’s going on while you’re on holiday. 

Lulworth Cove & The Fossil Forest Walk image

Lulworth Cove & The Fossil Forest Walk

This unique site contains the preserved remains of an ancient forest that flourished here around 150 million years ago. However, as the Earth's climate warmed approximately 125 million years ago, rising seas flooded the forest, killing the trees and plants on this stretch of coastline.

Although the trees themselves perished, their trunks and roots became fossilised in the rock, leaving behind distinctive bowl-shaped depressions where the trees once stood, which you can witness for yourself.

It’s a great opportunity to stretch your legs and witness some stunning coastal views by walking along the South West Coast Path.

Find the walk here, so that you can plan your holiday day out.

Tyneham Village and Worbarrow Bay image

Tyneham Village and Worbarrow Bay

Another stunning location situated within the Lulworth Ranges is Worbarrow Bay, which faces Mupe Bay. If you’re travelling by car you can take a scenic drive to reach this destination, via the village of Tyneham, which offers panoramic views across the rolling countryside and out towards the sea. 

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It takes around 30 minutes to drive to Worbarrow Bay from the Swanage Bay View holiday park, and the route eventually descends into a bowl-shaped valley, where the abandoned Tyneham village lies at the bottom.

Worbarrow Bay can be easily accessed from a flat, mile-long walk from Tyneham village. The beach features a shelving shingle shoreline with crystal-clear water on a good day, providing an escape from the crowds of Lulworth Cove and Studland's beaches.

Your dog can come along too, so the whole family can experience one of the best things to do near Lulworth Cove!

Mupe Bay image

Mupe Bay

If you want some picture-perfect moments, why not venture to the secluded Mupe Bay in the Lulworth Ranges?

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While the crowds flock from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door, you can reach Mupe Bay by heading the opposite way along the coast – you can even paddle here in a sea kayak!

Even during peak season, the beach is often sparsely populated, with just a few moored boats and their owners enjoying a quiet break.

It’s Lulworth Cove’s hidden gem, so you just have to fit it into your Dorset holiday!

Admire the stunning Stair Hole image

Admire the stunning Stair Hole

One of the best things to do near Lulworth Cove is Stair Hole, a lesser-known geological marvel you won’t want to miss. This hidden wonder can be found along the route to the iconic Durdle Door, a short distance from the more famous cove.

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It features a striking example of the folded limestone strata known as the Lulworth Crumple, which are particularly visible here. Several caves can be seen from the seaward side of Stair Hole, including the Cathedral Cavern, which is supported by towering rock pillars emerging from the water.

And at only a 5-minute walk from the parking available at Lulworth Cove, you can visit both in a day!

A man and child canoeing down the lake.

Kayaking & Coasteering at Lulworth Cove

If you want to try out more adventurous things to do in Lulworth Cove, what about Jurassic Coast activities?

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These are based out of the main Lulworth Cove car park, and offer sea kayaking tours and coasteering experiences so you can explore the iconic landmarks of Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door from a whole new perspective.

Bring the family along so you can share some new experiences on the waters!

Visit the popular Man O’ War Beach image

Visit the popular Man O’ War Beach

Man O' War is an idyllic beach featuring a mix of sand and fine pebbles, located on the eastern side of the Durdle Door beach. It’s another section that’s part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, extending from Studland in Dorset to Exmouth in Devon.

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Man O' War Beach is a picturesque cove surrounded by dramatic cliffs. It’s accessible via a steep footpath, and the location is sure to amaze with its natural beauty and serene atmosphere.

An image of Corfe Castle on a bright day with blue skies.

Try the Purbeck Way West Route

For all of you avid walkers who want to keep this up while on holiday but with more stunning views, the 12-mile walking route begins in West Lulworth, heading northwest to Winfrith Newburgh, then east to Coombe Keynes. From there, you can choose to head south back towards the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site or northeast to East Stoke. 

If you select the northeastern option, you can take a bus to Wareham to connect with The Purbeck Way walking route, which continues towards Corfe Castle, Swanage, and Worth Matravers.

This scenic trail provides hikers with the opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes and charming villages beyond the iconic Jurassic Coast attractions, so will you be packing your walking boots? If so, the Purbeck Way West Route will be linked here, so you can begin to plan your journey!

Clouds Hill image

Clouds Hill

Thomas Edward (T.E.) Lawrence is a famous figure whose life story is both impressive and tragic. After leaving the RAF in 1935, he died that same year in a motorcycle accident, which you can learn more about at his former rural retreat, Clouds Hill.

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The iconic film Lawrence of Arabia dramatised his exploits during World War I in the Sinai Desert. Clouds Hill was an escape from army life, where he could entertain friends while still residing at the nearby camp. Step back in time and see this part of history!

Pubs and restaurants in Lulworth image

Pubs and restaurants in Lulworth

After you’ve been tired out from exploring all of the greatest things to do in Lulworth Cove, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of places to rest and refuel!

The Weld Arms, The Boat Shed Café, and the Lulworth Castle Tearoom are just a few of the many situated nearby, yet there are plenty more situated closely here.

What makes them even better is that a lot of the places to eat are dog-friendly, so the whole family can retreat.

Things to do in Lulworth Cove FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, so you can make your trip to Lulworth Cove that extra bit worthwhile…

Why is Lulworth Cove so popular?

Lulworth Cove is so popular due to its breathtaking scenery and vibrant blue waters. Formed by the powerful combination of the sea and a river swollen by melting glacial ice at the end of the last Ice Age, the cove is renowned for its remarkable geology and distinctive landforms, including the Lulworth Crumple and Stair Hole.

The unique geological features and natural beauty of this iconic location draw visitors from around the world to marvel at its splendour.

Is parking free at Lulworth Cove?

No, parking isn’t free at Lulworth Cove. It’s usually £1 an hour and goes up accordingly, but plan your stay by booking beforehand, so you can check how much it is for the times you want to go.

How long is the walk between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door?

The walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door and back is about 25-35 minutes, and around a mile long, depending on your walking pace. It’s a simple, linear route along the cliffs, following the South West Coast Path.

Is Lulworth Cove worth a visit?

Yes, Lulworth Cove is worth a visit. The pebble beach and turquoise waters of Lulworth Cove make it an extremely popular tourist destination.

The Cove and the surrounding coastline are part of the renowned Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so not only are you witnessing something beautiful but something historical and world-renowned too!

The only way to see that is by visiting yourself, so why not book your next trip to Dorset, so you can explore the very many things to do in Lulworth Cove?

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