Britain’s Breathtaking Coastline: Jurassic Coast, East Devon and Dorset
Britain has an almost endless array of coastal destinations to explore with over 5,000 miles of coastline. There is nothing more relaxing (or invigourating!) than a meander along a breath-taking coastal path.
The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles of dramatic coastline from East Devon to Dorset and was named England’s first (2001) ‘natural’ UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding geology. Due to exposure to wind, sun, rain and salty spray, the cliff rocks have formed into complex and diverse habitats. The cliffs provide 185 million years of the Earth’s history, and therefore a walk along the cliffs is like a walk through time, during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Hundreds of specimens can be found at the cliffs and beaches.
Fossil hunting walks can be arranged in Lyme Regis and Charmouth where you can learn all about the skills to fossil hunt safely. However, it isn’t only about fossils at the Jurassic Coast as there are plenty more activities for you and your family to enjoy, including towns, villages and attractions to visit. In addition, there is a wide choice of restaurants, pubs and cafes in the area with amazing views of the coast. Or you can explore the coast by bus with the hop-on/hop-off X53 service.
There are a number of stunning places to visit at the Jurassic Coast including the historic village of Branscombe. The town of Burton Bradstock is situated on the South West Coast Path surrounded by sandstone cliffs and boasts the very popular Hive Beach and seafood restaurants. Golden Cap offers visitors amazing views and on a clear day you can see across Lyme Bay to Dartmoor. Close to Golden Cap are Stonebarrow Hill, St Gabriel’s Beach, Langdon Hill Wood and Thorncombe beacon. The most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast is Orcombe Point, where you can find amazing views of the sea and the 5 metre high stone sculpture, the Geoneedle. Old Harry Rocks are situated at the southern end of Studland Bay. It is one of the most famous landmarks, as is it the first major landmark for walkers to tackle when walking the South West Coast Path. On the West coast of Dorset lies Ringstead Bay, where walkers can walk across the cliff tops or fly a kite. Last but not least, the famous Durdle Door is carved out of the limestone by the sea and is truly worth the visit.
Find out more about the Jurassic Coast and things to do and see, here.
After a long day of discovering the Jurassic Coast, you’ll want a comfortable place close by to relax for the night. One terrific option is the lovely Alexandra Hotel & Restaurant, in Lyme Regis. A carefully balanced mix of traditional and modern, the Alexandra is set in elevated gardens a short walk from the town’s sand and shingle beaches, its quaint Georgian streets, and the fossil-rich cliffs that line the curve of Lyme Bay. Nowhere else on this enchanting stretch of Dorset’s Jurassic coastline boasts a better view. Visit in winter to watch waves crashing over the famous ‘Cobb’ harbour (think French Lieutenant’s Woman). There are play areas for children, a cosy lounge (with comfy sofas), a romantic little folly tower in the garden, an al fresco cliff deck, and two excellent restaurants: The Alexandra and the less formal Conservatory.
Alternatively,stay at the stunning BridgeHouse Hotel, which is both a cosy medieval country retreat and a chic Dorset luxury hotel. Imagine yourself settling in by the crackling log fire as dusk turns to darkness through the stone-mullioned windows and the soothing glow of candle light illuminates the centuries-old oak beams. Here you are surrounded by beautiful countryside, a tapestry of history and only minutes from an ancient, heritage-listed coastline. The BridgeHouse Hotel’s acclaimed restaurant draws upon the region’s wealth of freshly caught fish, organic meat, fruit and vegetables to offer a rare blend of contemporary fine dining and timeless Dorset recipes.
Have fun at Britain’s breath-taking coastline Jurassic Coast!
Jurassic Coast Dorset image by Travel Junction, Sunset and Durdle Door image by Robert Pittman and Old Harry Rocks image by Herry Lawford.