Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door

lulworth cove

For one reason or another, the summer holiday we had planned this year didn’t pan out. We had grand plans to to take the bikes to the Netherlands. We were going to catch the ferry to Rotterdam with nowt but a tandem and the kids’ bikes and go hard or go home. We were going to come back with bigger muscles in our thighs and t-shirt tans. But we didn’t organise anything in time, and so it didn’t happen. 

Sorry kids. Looks like Mama is the only one going abroad this year. 

But in lieu of a jaunt to the continent, we’ve been hitting up beaches on the South coast. A staycation, if you will. We’re big fans of Calshot, Lepe and Hamble – all three easily accessible to us, rugged and breezy. You never leave any of those three beaches without a hefty dose of sea air in your lungs, salt in your hair and rosy cheeks. 

This bank holiday Monday we decided to head further west, into Dorset and along the Jurassic Coast, to a staple of many a geography field trip, and somewhere I’d never been before, Lulworth Cove, and slightly further up to Durdle Door. 

Or Dumbledore, as my kids christened it. Funny little creatures. 

Anyway, I can’t believe I’d never made it to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door before, being the beach lover that I am, and living where I do. Maybe because it’s a bit of a mish to drive there, especially in bank holiday traffic, when everyone is trying to get somewhere in their motorhomes. In any case, I was glad to have made the trip, because Lulworth Cove is just gorgeous. 

We ate a picnic on the green overlooking the cove, had a paddle in the sea, and then let our feet dry whilst sitting on huge chalky rocks. After, we climbed the hill and walked a mile along the cliffs to Durdle Door. You could see out to the Isle of Portland and Chesil Beach. The sea was glistening in the sunshine. The air was fresh, the sky was blue, and the Pokémon were plentiful! (Yep, we enjoy a good Pokéhunt now and then). 

Genuinely, I could have sat on that cliff all day, watching the boats and the sea and the people jumping off the rocks into the water. It was beautiful.

Next time, I’m going to take my swimmers and go for a swim. 

Things to note:

  1. Traffic in that part of the world is heavy, especially in summer and even more so on a bank holiday weekend. Leave plenty of time. Go early. Take things to do in the car. 
  2. Parking. We spent £7.50 for (I think) 6 hours parking. Take plenty of cash – when we went the machines were not accepting cards. It took a while to get into the carpark, but once we were in, marshals were on hand to direct us to a space.
  3. Toilets. Either in the visitor centre on the way down to the cove from the car park, or further down by the beach. There are no toilets on the walk to Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove.
  4. Crowds. It goes without saying. This is a major tourist attraction, and there will be crowds, especially on a nice day. 
  5. We took a picnic, but there are places to get food and drink and an ice cream if that’s more your thing. 


Beach Days at Calshot


Calshot beach hampshire

I like to go to the beach when it’s sunny. Who doesn’t, though? Even when the tide is in and the waves are crashing loudly against the shore, it’s peaceful. I can happily spend an entire day at the beach, and I think possibly my favourite thing about living on the coast is that it’s pretty easy to do just that. 

Calshot beach hampshire

This week, my sister-in-law and I took my children, and her puppy, to Calshot. It’s not necessarily the prettiest part of the local coastline – in fact, Lepe, just down the road, is prettier and sandier. Calshot is a spit, and it’s stony and narrow. It gets a lot of wind from the Solent. But it’s charming, with its multi-coloured beach huts, bright and cheerful in the sunshine, and I am very fond of it. 

We ate ham baguettes on a blanket I pilfered from a Virgin Atlantic flight I took years ago (it makes a great picnic blanket!). The kids jumped off the groynes and lobbed stones into the sea. The dog barked at people passing by, and then curled up in the sun. Kathryn and I caught Pokemon and chewed the fat for a couple of hours. 

Calshot beach hampshire

Calshot beach hampshire

Later on, we ambled up to the end of the spit. Watched a few ships sail down the inlet, caught a lot more Pokemon, and made headway on my son’s summer holiday homework. Extreme reading. 

Calshot beach hampshire

Calshot beach hampshire

Days like this are absolutely what the summer holidays are made for. 


hamble white dms

Today was a beach day. We went to Hamble, and I took my camera. I’m going to go back at twilight one day and take photographs of the refinery at Fawley, across the water, all lit up.

hamble white dms

I wore my beautiful new boots. 

hamble waves

hamble stone shell

Elliot enjoyed picking up enormous rocks and bits of concrete and lobbing them into the sea. 

hamble elliot

hamble shell 1

hamble shell 3

hamble stick

Someone put a stick in the sand and I liked it. 

hamble shell 2

A dinky shell. Perfect. 

hamble gun

There is a WW2 anti aircraft emplacement on the beach

hamble to fawley

The sky turned a dark grey and the sun shone through the clouds. Snap, snap. 

Rockpooling at Lepe

tiny little crab

This afternoon Ross and I bundled our brood into the car and drove out to Lepe to get a bit of sea air in their little lungs.

We met up with a friend and his son, played with our kids at the playground, and scrambled about on the shingle.

The tide was right out, and despite our vastly inappropriate footwear, Roo and I navigated the little rockpools and skirted around the slippery sea weed to hunt for crabs and pretty shells.

We found both.  

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