Durdle Door Walk from Weymouth, Jurassic Coast

Durdle Door Walk from Weymouth, Jurassic Coast

When my Master’s programme at the University of Oxford had come to an end, I finally had time to explore some more of the natural wonders of the UK. I stumbled on a picture of the Durdle Door and decided that that would be my next destination. My boyfriend and I packed our backpacks and embarked on a short trip to the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, in the south of England. Our main goal: the Durdle Door walk.

Where to stay on the Jurassic Coast

The Jurassic Coast is about 96 miles long and stretches from Exmouth (in East Devon) to Studland Bay (in Dorset). It is part of the World Heritage List and the coast is truly stunning. We decided to stay in Weymouth, in Dorset. Weymouth is a lively place during the summer months with many families with small kids that come down to the coast to enjoy the sea. We stayed in this lovely Airbnb. Unfortunately, it was a bit out of the city centre, but it came with a full English breakfast and the hosts were really nice.

stunning cliffs Durdle Door walk
You’ll climb stunning cliffs on the Durdle Door walk from Weymouth
Prefer to stay in a hostel? You can find the Bunkhouse Plus Hostel in the north of Weymouth, the perfect location to start your Durdle Door walk.

Hiking to the Durdle Door

Getting started

We decided to start the hike in Weymouth, where our Airbnb was located. However, we took the bus to Sea Life Weymouth first, so that we didn’t have to walk through the city centre of Weymouth. In Overcombe, 1 mile from Sea Life, we explored a little bit of cultural history. The Jordan Hill Roman Temple contains remains of a Romano-Celtic temple, which was built around the 4th century AD. Nowadays, not much remains of this temple. Nevertheless, it is a nice reminder of the wide reach of the Romans.

Jordan Hill Roman Temple
Jordan Hill Roman Temple

The walk continues on a path with a view of the coast. While the cliffs become slowly higher and higher, we passed many campsites, all with spectacular views. This area is very popular with tourists that come here to enjoy the beach and the weather.

camp sites along the Durdle Door walk
You can find many campsites along the walk

Lunch at Smuggler’s Inn or on the beach

There are many stairs or paths that allow you to climb down to one of the many small beaches that this part of the Jurassic Coast offers. Often, you’ll have this part of the beach completely to yourself! We had a packed lunch with us, which we ate on one of these hidden beaches. However, there are also opportunities to have lunch somewhere. Often recommended is The Smuggler’s Inn, which you’ll find when you walk the coastal path from Weymouth to the Durdle Door.

beach Jurassic Coast
Discover hidden beaches

Continue to admire stunning cliffs

After the Smuggler’s Inn, the terrain gets rougher and we reached what were (I think) the highest cliffs of our walk. The views were absolutely stunning. Even though it was late July, it was not overcrowded and we could enjoy the beauty of the Jurassic Coast without mass tourism.

Jurassic Coast
The stunning Jurassic Coast

One of the special rock formations you can find in this part of the Jurassic Coast is Bat’s Head, a chalk headland. However, as you can see on the same picture below, this walk is not an even walk. Every time we had climbed to the top of a cliff, there was a steep descent before we had to climb the next one. Even though it was very tiring, it was certainly worth it, because the views of the coastline and the sea were stunning. Also, do you realise we have lost sight of Weymouth quite long ago?

Bat's Head
Bat’s Head

Durdle Door

After climbing a very steep ascent one more time, we could see the goal of our Durdle Door walk, the Durdle Door itself. The Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch, of a very different material from the chalkstone of the surrounding cliffs. Rather, its stone seems to be the same as nearby Island of Portland. When the Durdle Door came in sight, the tourists were there, too. While the Durdle Door walk is a hidden gem, the Durdle Door itself is that certainly not. There are many day tours that stop to visit this natural wonder, and there are also many tourists that pick this beach (although it’s not hard to see why of course!).

Durdle Door
The Durdle Door
Watch out for sunburn, appearances can be deceiving! Make sure you wear enough sunscreen, even though the temperatures aren’t very high. It was 19-20 degrees when we hiked to the Durdle Door, but we came away with bad sunburns. Who says you need to go to the south of Europe to get a tan (or sunburn)

Back to Weymouth from Lulworth Cove

However, our day did not end at the Durdle Door. Very close to the Durdle Door is another natural wonder: Lulworth Cove. This sheltered bay almost has a complete circular form. There are many cafes and restaurants here, too. With our tired legs and feet, we had a very well-deserved drink and ice-cream. From Lulworth Cove, there are many buses you can take back to Weymouth.

Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove

How difficult is the Durdle Door Walk from Weymouth

The Durdle Door walk takes up a sizeable portion of your day. It took us (with enough breaks) around 6 hours, starting at Sea Life Weymouth and taking the bus at Lulworth cove. The walk is probably less than 20 kilometers, but there is a lot of ascending and descending, which makes it more tiresome.

Nevertheless, if you have the right shoes and love coastal views, I would highly recommend this walk! It was one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done, comparable with the Cliffs of Moher hike I did last year.

Other things to do in Weymouth

In the summer, Weymouth is where all the tourists flock to. The boulevard is always busy and every evening there’s something going on. There are also plenty of restaurants in Weymouth, among which many places where you can get a massive amount of fish and chips. We tried Fish n Fritz, which was really good!

Portland Bill, south of Weymouth
Portland Bill

A must-visit when you’re in Weymouth is visiting the Isle of Portland. This tied island forms the southernmost point of Dorset. It is only 4 miles long and 1.7 miles wide. In the south of the Island, you can find Portland Bill Lighthouse, which is still functioning. Here, you can also visit the Pulpit Rock. This is not a natural rock formation: it was formed in the late 19th century after a natural arch was cut away and represents an open bible leaning on a pulpit. Natural formation or not, it is an impressive rock. On Portland, make sure to try the cream tea of the Lobster Pot. Delicious!

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Jurassic Coast hike to Durdle Door
Exploring the cliffs Jurassic Coast on this walk from Weymouth to the Durdle Door

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