The Jurassic Coast is located on the southern England Exmouth, East Devon, to Studland Bay, Dorset, and is 154 kilometres along the coast. The geological epoch associated with it gave rise to the name “Jurassic.”
The Jurassic, Cretaceous, & Triassic eras are represented by the rocks, dramatic cliffs, and fossils found on the coast.
It is a biological UNESCO World Heritage site, ranking it with prestigious places like Yellowstone National Park and the Galápagos Islands.
Discover what keeps the Jurassic Coast so amazing in this thorough travel guide, which includes insider tips on the area’s top attractions and travel necessities. The south coast has many caravan sites.
1. About Jurassic Coast
One of the most interesting sites to explore is the shoreline and its geological features.
Numerous exciting pursuits are available along the Jurassic Coast, including coasteering, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, and wild swimming.
The Jurassic Coast is a protected area of land on England’s elegant southern coastline, despite sounding like it should be in some really exotic, far-flung location.
Although Devon, which borders Cornwall in the southwest, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dorset is home to the majority of the coast’s famous landmarks. Officially, the Jurassic Coast stretches from Exmouth, Devon, to Old Harry Rocks, close to Swanage, Dorset.
The Jurassic Coast is a geological gem because of its distinctive rock formations, peculiar landforms, and rich fossil deposits. It is the only naturally occurring UNESCO World Heritage site in England.
In addition to being recognized by UNESCO, a significant portion of the coastline has been declared as an Area of exceptional natural beauty.
An arresting contrast is created between the English Channel’s turbulent blue and the crumbling white chalk cliffs that are typical of England’s southern shore.
You may easily begin to understand the appeal when golden dunes, charming villages, and lush vegetation are added.
What makes it known as the Jurassic Coast? It goes beyond the astounding array of fossils that have been discovered nearby.
Your trip through millions of years of earth’s history begins with the creation of the very rocks under your feet. A series of rock formations from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods have been exposed to ongoing coastal erosion.
We learn so much about Earth’s past from the Jurassic Coast. Its significance cannot be restricted to a single nation because it is the common legacy of all human beings.
2. Best Destinations at Jurassic Coast
The Jurassic Coast is filled to the brim with amazing natural phenomena, amazing places to see, and breathtaking views. These are among the best.
2.1. Durdle Door
The arching arch of Durdle Door, the Jurassic Coast’s most recognizable landmark, has been a part of this area for about 10,000 years.
Durdle Door, possibly the most famous naturally-formed arch in the world, is the consequence of centuries of coastal erosion. The sea carved an archway through the limestone cliffs thousands of years ago.
The fact that it’s a relatively temporary geological structure just adds to its charm. The arch will eventually crumble into the water, leaving only a rock stack in its wake. We are fortunate to live in the same era, so we can appreciate it now.
Durdle Door, though well-known, is unquestionably stunning. Every popular vacation spot has a few must-see locations -and one of them is this.
Durdle Door is a sight that will take your breath away whether you arrive by boat or by descending the narrow wooden steps to the beach.
2.2. The Lulworth Cove
The premier beach resort in Dorset, Lulworth Cove, is only a few miles from Durdle Door.
Fantastic beaches are abundant in Dorset as well as the southwest of England in general. Lulworth Cove, though, is among the most stunning.
The cove is nearly round and largely hidden from the sea; the single entrance between the two was carved out 10,000 years ago.
This is one of England’s best beaches just in terms of scenery; The towering green hills that flank the golden shingle beach follow the cove’s arc before dropping to the water. Lulworth Cove’s geology is equally extraordinary.
This region is home to distinctive geological features, including the Lulworth Crumple, a folded stone structure. A particularly notable illustration is the tiny cove known as Stair Hole.
The fossilized tree stumps of the Fossil Forest, which were alive an astounding 145 million years ago, are located further away from the beach.
2.3. Beach Chesil
The Jurassic Coast truly deserves its UNESCO title, and Chesil Beach, an 18-mile-long shingle barrier beach, is yet another extraordinary geological feature.
From Portland to West Bay, the pebble beach extends the entire distance. Chesil Beach is located behind the Fleet Lagoon, which divides it from the mainland.
As the sea gradually pushes Chesil Beach deeper into the lagoon, the space between them is shrinking by 15 cm annually.
There are just two other land formations of this scale in England, and the sheer enormity of this narrow strip of land is astounding.
Despite being pushed back, the beach still acts as a barrier for the mainland, which lessens the force of waves.
The Isle of Portland should be your first stop if you’re travelling to Chesil Beach. The only thing linking the island with the mainland is the beach.
Portland is a stunningly rocky island with a well-known lighthouse that is renowned for its breathtaking views and a wide variety of wildlife.
2.4. Harry Rocks
One of the must-do activities on the Jurassic Coast is fearlessly peering over the edge of the cliff to catch a view of Old Harry Rocks.
The stump and stack of Old Harry & his wife, which were once linked to the mainland, were destroyed by coastal erosion. The unusual chalk formations protrude into the English Channel, which keeps eroding the rock’s soft chalk underside.
Another theory contends that they were given the name Harry Paye after the notorious smuggler who once concealed his boat from among rocks. Whatever the meaning of the name, people have been fascinated by the rocks for generations.
The weaving ledge & Old Harry Rocks make for a spectacular image, with the blue water, white cliffs, and green grass on top of them creating the stark contrast of colour.
You can view the rocks reasonably well from the roughly one-hour hike up the cliffs, but if you have the opportunity, we highly suggest taking a boat journey out to see Old Harry Rocks.
Although they are lovely when viewed from the ground, the wider view from the water is simply amazing.
2.5. Lyme Regis at Jurassic Coast
Lyme Regis is the epitome of an upscale coastal resort, complete with a charming harbour full of sailing vessels, a coastline lined with pastel-coloured homes, and a gorgeous beach.
The town is among the most well-liked on the Jurassic Coast, with a typically lovely appearance and some activity.
Although it makes a great home base for your vacation, it is still worthwhile to visit. The town has a posh appearance because of the colourful architecture, which is primarily from the Georgian & Regency periods.
While museums & art galleries give it a little more depth as a destination, winding streets, and independent shops lend a layer of charm. The residence of Mary Anning is now the location of the Lyme Regis Museum.
The renowned palaeontologist was born in Lyme Regis, where she also resided until her death. Her research was revolutionary at a period when the Bible was frequently upheld as truth, and geology was not yet recognized as an academic science.
The scientific community was forever impacted by Anning’s discoveries & documentation of dinosaur remains; the museum honours her contributions.
Quiet is hardly a word we would choose to describe Lyme Regis, which is small, quaint, and attractive. It contributes to the festive mood that permeates the town, but if the weather’s beautiful, masses of people inevitably follow.
2.6. West Bay
Although West Bay has long been a favourite among tourists, it is difficult to dispute that since being prominently featured in the ITV murder thriller Broadchurch, interest in it has soared.
The tiny town’s two stunning beaches are dubbed West Beach & East Beach rather unimaginatively. You’ll recognize East Beach’s imposing sandstone cliffs as the location where David Tennant & Olivia Colman shot series one Broadchurch.
West Bay will continue to be adored even by those who have never watched the show. With soft sands, calm surf, and an open sky, you can’t go wrong.
The ideal location to taste fish & chips as they were meant to be eaten is a tiny, charming fishing community like West Bay: fresh from the sea, purchased from a little chip business, and consumed while staring out at the water.
The surrounding market town of Bridport is a beautiful place to stay if you want to be a little more urban.
2.7. Castle Corfe
Corfe Castle would rank among the prettiest villages in Dorset, if not at the top. This neighbourhood appears to have been plucked out of a storybook, with its charming homes and historic castle ruins towering over the village.
It’s the kind of setting where history is all around you. The fragile fortress has been standing for a millennium. During that time, it served as a Saxon stronghold, a royal castle, and a Norman fortress.
However, the English Civil War, which caused it to fall into ruin, is the most well-known incident.
Lady Bankes was left to defend the besieged fortress because the Bankes family had sided with King Charles I against the Parliamentarians. Eventually, they were vanquished, and the stronghold was destroyed.
To climb this hill & explore the castle, you’ll need an hour and strong legs. At the top, panoramic views of the Purbeck peninsula await.
The village, which takes its name from Corfe Castle, is typical of rural England in that it is small and unassuming.
In Corfe Castle, you can find old stone homes with colourful doors, pretty gardens, independent stores, and country pubs. Even if it won’t take long to explore, it’s a lovely and soothing method.
2.8. Discovering Fossils
It is only fitting that you spend some time looking for fossils while you are visiting the Jurassic Coast.
Although technically, there are fossils to be found anyplace on the Jurassic Coast, real fossil hunters recognize that Charmouth is the greatest place to look.
Beginners can safely forage for fossils at Charmouth because there’s typically a fair possibility they’ll turn up on the sand. Especially when the tide is moving out, and it’s calm!
A few tiny fossils (often ammonites, belemnites, and crinoids), which can be added to a collection, should be conserved rather than all of them.
At the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, you can find out more about fossils and where to look for them.
2.9. Take to the South West Coast Path
An astonishing 630 miles of England’s longest waymarked pathway stretch from Minehead in Somerset down the coast to Poole Harbour in Dorset.
We are not recommending the entire trail here, but if you’re ready for the task, I’m sure the portion over Dorset is worthwhile.
The walk winds its way around the coastline, running beside cliff tops, past lagoons, and along the beach.
Highlights of the walk include several of the top tourist destinations along the Jurassic Coast.
The South West Coast Path includes Durdle Door, Lulworth Beach, and Chesil Beach. Despite the distance, most of the walk is pretty simple.
Mostly in the Purbeck region, in which some of the ascents & descents can be exceedingly steep, are the more difficult sections.
Although you don’t have to hike the entire trail, it is worthwhile to do so if you are able. The path is heavily travelled for a good cause, and the vistas are truly breathtaking.
When you see the acorn emblem, you’ll know you’re on the correct route.
2.10. Take a Look at Tyneham Ghost Village
On the Purbeck coast, close to Lulworth Cove & Kimmeridge Bay, explore a creepy deserted settlement.
Since 1943, when a WWII order to evacuate the entire village was given, Tyneham has been stuck in time. The area was used as a training ground for the military. However, the people were prohibited from returning even after the conflict was over.
This historical village is now a popular tourist destination. A few of the previously picturesque Tyneham structures are in ruins, but the majority have been meticulously restored to their 1940s appearance.
It seems a little strange to see more recognizable buildings in such a state because we are so used to seeing ruins that are hundreds of years old.
Learn about the families who originally resided in Tyneham, tour the school, church, and farm, all of which have been preserved in nearly perfect condition, and take pictures by the town’s iconic cream phone box.
2.11. Visit Kimmeridge Bay’s Wildlife Preserve
Kimmeridge Bay provides a convenient opportunity to view marine life, and its protected location makes it one of the safer places to investigate.
The Jurassic Coast is infamous for its absurdly common geology, and Kimmeridge Bay is no exception. Fossils embedded in the ground & bedrock created during the Jurassic era are visible.
You can reach deeper water without dipping into the ocean, thanks to the natural limestone ledges. From here, many fishermen cast their hooks out, while others decide to hunt for crabs and marine snails in the rock pools.
Snorkelling is popular in Kimmeridge Bay for people who love to get up close & personal with marine life.
On the ocean floor, schools of fish can frequently be seen darting amid the vibrant seaweed. Dolphins and seals can also be seen occasionally in the bay.
Visit the Wild Seas Visitor Center to learn more about the local marine life.
3. Where to Stay at Jurassic Coast?
You can choose to stay in a hotel, cottage, or tent, depending on your vacation preferences. As for the site, we think any spot on the Purbeck peninsula or in the picturesque Lyme Regis is hard to beat.
On the Jurassic Coast, there aren’t a tonne of hotels and B&Bs, but there are plenty to get by; the majority range from budget-friendly mid-level to luxurious accommodations and fill up rapidly in the summer.
There are numerous campgrounds along the shore if you prefer to camp. Most communities have, at minimum, a few cottages that are available for rent to tourists and Airbnb hosts, but just like hotels, these frequently fill up.
4. How Much Time Will It Take to Tour the Jurassic Coast?
A week should be plenty to explore the Jurassic Coast if one only considers the portion of the Dorset coastline.
You may need a bit more time—10 days would be sufficient—if you want to continue your journey into Devon. The majority of the top sights and attractions along the Jurassic Coast are located in Dorset.
You can visit everything the coast has to offer throughout the week without feeling rushed.
Even with a short holiday, you can still enjoy yourself. You merely need to pick a small number of destinations from the ones you want to visit.
5. Incredible Facts About the Jurassic Coast
5.1. The Jurassic Was Formerly a Desert
During the Triassic epoch, this Dorset coast was a bizarre desert, correct? The Jurassic Coast has experienced a variety of past landforms.
In the Jurassic period, the desert evolved over time into a tropical sea and, eventually, swampland.
As the landscape changed, dinosaur bones, red rocks that were uncovered on the East Devon cliffs, grey clay, & limestone were left behind.
The modifications improved it as a historic site, a location to better examine the history and a great location for leisurely vacations.
The Jurassic Coast offers a wealth of breathtaking attractions and places to explore.
5.2. The Greatest Natural Harbor in the United Kingdom
Poole is a sizable coastal city with one of the most beautiful natural harbours on earth. A popular tourist destination, the natural harbour draws hundreds of visitors. Additionally, it features stunning Blue Flag beaches.
Here is where both the Royal Marines and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have their headquarters. The natural harbour is still utilized today for cross-channel freight & passenger ferries, keeping it dynamic and busy.
5.3. Listed as Unesco World Heritage Site
Because of its exceptional earth science, the Jurassic coast was given world heritage site status by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in December 2001.
Because of its ancient fossils, the Jurassic is remarkable. It is still present in the region, which draws both tourists looking for an exceptional experience and history buffs who like investigating.
5.4. One of the Hottest Chillis in the World is Grown on Jurassic Coast
Jurassic Coast is the home of the Dorset Naga, one of the world’s spiciest peppers. These peppers fall into the same category as the Ghost Pepper and the Carolina Reaper.
They impart a rich flavour and scent to dishes. It is recommended to exercise caution when cooking; put on gloves and cut them after removing the seed.
When you go to Jurassic Coast, you can choose some seeds to grow, and treat yourself, your friends, and your family to cuisine that has Dorest Naga added for flavour and aroma.
5.5. Hometown of Famed Fossil Hunter Mary Anning
She used to take her dog for a stroll down to the beach, where she would gather fossils to sell to tourists on the Jurassic Coast. Mary contributed to the finding of prehistoric dinosaurs.
She made an unexpected finding of a massive Plesiosaurus in 1823, which was later acknowledged as a significant scientific discovery.
She left an indelible mark on the revelations she made. Her home was turned into a museum honouring her discoveries after she passed away.
She has received praise for her life from numerous authors and scientists, including Terry Sullivan & Charles Darwin.
5.6. Tourist Destination in the UK
A lot of people visit the world heritage site known as Jurassic Coast because it has become so well-liked. Swimming, boat trips, and walks are just a few of the entertaining things available there.
The history of prehistoric fossils is available to learn about in some museums. Additionally, their opulent hotels, bars, & restaurants provide unforgettable experiences.
Nature enthusiasts can stroll along the coast and take in the history and beauty of the local environment
Everyone has different expectations for their vacation, but the Jurassic Coast is unquestionably worthwhile if you enjoy rocky coasts, fossil hunting, breathtaking nature, and the prehistoric era.
How frequently do you have the opportunity to walk around with millions of years of earth’s history just under your feet? In this picturesque seaside vacation, you may expect to see timeless white chalk cliffs, golden dunes, and expansive views. Take a break from your busy schedule and relax on the magnificent Jurassic Coast.