Dorset Photography; Five Beauty Spots you can’t miss!

Dorset in the UK

Dorset, home of the iconic Jurassic Coast and boasting some of the most beautiful countryside and picturesque coastlines England has to offer, has long attracted landscape photographers and tourists alike who are in search of exploring, enjoying, and capturing the coves, countryside, and cliffs.

 

Dorset is a country in southwest England and has one of the best-known coastlines in England. 

 

We did our usual and decided to head there for just a weekend which is just not long enough to get your teeth into the area and immerse yourself in the essence of Dorset. Still, it’s just enough time to fall in love with the site and leave full of inspiration and drive to return. Plus, the 5-hour drive there and back was laboriously frustrating with bank holiday weekend traffic for us. Lesson learnt. 

 

If you are heading to Dorset for just a couple of days as we did, here are five things we feel you can’t miss! 

Lulworth Cove & Stair Hole
Lulworth Cove Dorset

 

Lulworth Cove in Dorset is a stunning and secluded spot on the Jurassic coast famed for its unique landforms, including the beautiful Stair Hole.

 

 

A UNESCO world heritage site, Lulworth Cove is frequented by thousands of visitors every year who come to admire the beautiful crystal-clear water, explore the rock pools and hike the Jurassic Coast. 

We decided to arrive at Lulworth Cove for sunrise, which meant an eye-stinging wake-up time for 4.15 am on a Saturday, but as usual, it was worth it. There is something about watching the sunrise and just how perfectly peaceful it is.

 

This morning was no different, with no one else around except a beautiful bonny brown deer bouncing off into the trees.

 

Lulworth Cove in Dorset is open every day, and there is an extensive car park for those busier days. The village of Lulworth is small and quaint but offers everything you would expect from an English seaside tourist spot. 

You can also venture across to its equally attractive neighbour, Durdle Door. But be warned, the walk is a steep climb and whilst not too long, it certainly tested our fitness levels, and we are not ashamed to say, we had to stop to catch our breath (whilst pretending to be admiring the views) a few times.

 

All in all, you can reach Durdle Door within 30 minutes, and I am pleased to confirm it’s not all uphill. 

How to get to Lulworth Cove 

Lulworth Cove can is easily accessible by car and has plenty of parking spaces. 

Please be aware that it can get full early in the day during peak season, but if you catch the sunrise, the chances are you will have plenty of room, and it is a five-minute walk to the beach.

We paid £5 for four hours of car parking, but a parking notice board outlines all the charges. 

 

Information about Lulworth Cove

  • There are toilets available by the car park as well as toilets further up the path 
  • Accessing the beach is via a comprehensive and easily travelled path making Lulworth Cove suitable for mobility issues. However, be aware that there is no matting on the beach for wheelchair users. 
  • Dogs are allowed on the beach all year around – yay for dogs! 
  • There is an Ice Cream shop extremely close to the car park with a vast selection of ice creams and a small café, a visitors’ centre, and a pub within a couple of minutes walk. 

You can plan your trip or find more information here:

https://lulworth.com/visit/places-to-visit/lulworth-cove/

Photography Tip

Our top tip for Lulworth cove is to head up the road to the right instead of going down to the beach. If you climb up the side of the cliff (don’t worry it’s just grass) you’ll get a great view of Stair Hole. Try to arrive at high tide to get an image of Stair Hole full of water! Unfortunately, it was dry at sunrise the time we were there but an excellent reason for us to go back!

Durdle Door

Durdle Door in Dorset is the attractive neighbour of Lulworth Cove and one of Dorset s most iconic and photographed (hence us just having to see it) locations! It is a highly famous and popular beauty spot attracting thousands of visitors each year, and we found it to be far busier than its smaller counterpart. 

 

Still based in Lulworth and just a 5-minute drive from Lulworth Cove or a 30-minute walk, you can easily spend time exploring both in a day.  

The coastal footpath between Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove is the busiest in the southwest and attracts more than 200,000 walkers every year. However, if you arrive early in the day as we did, you will find yourself only joined by a few others and get to enjoy the quiet before “the storm”. 

 

Durdle Door stands 200 feet above sea level and is a natural arch formed from a layer of hard limestone standing and is a sight to behold.

 

I sat at the side of the cliff watching the scenes unfold, and the people dotted below me for over an hour whilst Steffan was taking photographs and felt completely immersed in the views, sounds and the gentle wind blowing. 

 

The walk down to the beach is steep, so here is your warning to be mentally ready, not bring too much stuff and wear suitable shoes! From which, it is a 15-minute walk down to the beach.

 

Firstly, the path leading down from the car park is steep and walking up to it twice in one day was almost too much for our out of practice calf muscles to handle. 

But the walk down to the beach (which we did not experience) includes more than 140 steps down, and there is only one set of steps. 

 

How to get to Durdle Door

 

Durdle Door is easily accessible by car and has plenty of parking spaces, with similar charges to those at Lulworth Cove. If you want to see both, we recommend parking in one and walking to the other to save on costs. 

It is a fifteen-minute walk down to the pebble beach and, as mentioned, a steep walk, so unlike Lulworth Cove, it is not easily accessible for anyone with mobility issues. 

Durdle Door in Dorset in the UK

Information about Durdle Door

 

  • There are toilets available by the car park, but if nature calls when you are on the beach, you will need to climb back up and back down again. I would limit your fluid intake, but that’s just me. 
  • Accessibility is not easy, so walking shoes or boots are recommended. For anyone visiting with a wheelchair or mobility issues, the journey down to the beach is unsuitable given the steep path and 140 steps. But as mentioned above, Lulworth Cove offers a very easily accessible approach to the beach. 
  • Dogs are allowed on the beach at Durdle Door all-year-round – double yay for dogs! 
  • There are many large grassy areas close to the car park where people sat on blankets with delightful picnics spread out between them. They could enjoy the views from here without the leg shaking walk down to the beach. So it’s something worth considering if you want to see it but don’t want the effort. 
  • There is also a restaurant in the car park serving takeaway pizzas, ice creams and sandwiches if you don’t want to bring your packed lunch. 

 

You can plan your trip or find more information here:

https://www.visit-dorset.com/

Photography Tip

We went to Durdle door for both sunrise and sunset. At sunrise the light did not hit any of the lands, so we didn’t get the shot we had hoped for. However, at sunset, the light beautifully lit the famous arch of Durdle door much to our excitement.  Unfortunately, it also lit up the hundreds of people on the beach who had sat there to watch the sunset.

Top tip – July is not the month for sunset photos at Durdle door. Probably best in winter.

Old Harry Rock
Old Harry Rock in Dorset, UK

Old Harry Rocks in Dorset could be described as Durdle Doors equal, in both fame and beauty in the photography and tourist world, attracting many visitors and photographers each year who come to cast their gaze on the majestic stacks. 

 

Standing dramatically not far from the cliffs of the Jurassic coast, Old Harry Rocks are three chalk formations created over 35 million years and that were once part of a ridge made of chalk that connected to The Needles on the Isle of Wight. 

 

Despite the crowds, the view was nothing short of spectacular, and we sat there for some time, watching the paddle boarders float by below and soaking it all in. 

 

How to get to Old Harry Rock

 

Old Harry Rock is easily accessible by car, and parking is available at the National Trust’s Studland car park or one of the car parks in Swanage. If you are a member of the National Trust, you can scan your card or pay a charge that we think is £5 for the day. The car park is vast, we arrived a little later in the day, and there was plenty of space in the overflow car park. 

The walk to Old Harry Rock itself is about 30 minutes from Stud lands Car Park along a very quickly travelled path with lots of grassy areas and stunning views the whole way along the spectacular Jurassic Coast. 

 

 

Information about Old Harry Rock

 

  • There are public toilets available just a few minutes walk down the hill and past the pub on the left-hand side if you park in Studlands Car Park that is free to use. 
  • Accessibility is easy as the path to Old Harry Rock is flat and made up of grass and chalk, so it should not pose too many issues for anyone with mobility issues. 
  • When you reach Old Harry Rock or the viewpoint, there is a vast grass area where people sit enjoying picnics and drinks whilst soaking in the views if you fancy making a day of it.  
  • There is a pub just a 2-minute walk from the car park with gorgeous views over the bay and Old Harry Rock if you want to enjoy lunch in the sunshine before heading out to explore further afield.
  • If you wish to view Old Harry Rock from the sea, you can book a Jurassic Coast cruise with City Cruises Poole, or if you are feeling more adventurous, hire a kayak or paddleboard to get even closer.

     

     

    You can plan your trip or find more information here:

    https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

      

Photography Tip

The best photo by far we have seen of Old Harry Rocks is by drone, out to sea but facing inland. Our old drone was pretty pathetic at capturing decent photos so we didn’t get it up in the air. There are plenty of shots to be had of the single rocks out at sea even if you don’t have a drone.

Portland Bill Lighthouse

Now, if you have read much of our blog, you will have noticed we always seem to find ourselves at the nearest Lighthouse.

 

There is just something about lighthouses that we love—the history, the grandeur, the coastline, the mystery. 

 

Portland Bill lighthouse, a grade II listed building and over 140 years old, 

did not fail to deliver, and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening here shooting for a clothing brand and exploring around the rocks and seafront. 

Standing majestically on the isle of Portland and at the height of 135ft, its distinctive and traditional red and white tower has been shining its guiding light since 1906 and was built by Trinity House. 

 

Portland Bill lighthouse in Dorset opened its very own visitors centre in 2015, and whilst we did not get to head inside due to arriving too late in the day, you can book tours and explore inside the Lighthouse. Inside, there are some fascinating interactive exhibits and historical artefacts to discover as well as breath-taking views as you climb up the 153 steps! 

Portland Bill Lighthouse in the UK

The area around the Lighthouse is equally as beautiful with lots of rockeries and views out to sea.

 

The exciting rock formation, Pulpit Rock, attracts plenty of attention to flocking visitors.

 

If you fancied something to eat, there was a restaurant closer to the car park where you could sit outside on picnic benches enjoying a light meal. There were also people sitting around having BBQs in the various rockeries. 

How to get to Portland Bill Lighthouse

 

Portland Bill Lighthouse is located on the Southerly tip of the Isle of Portland, 1.2 miles south of the village of Easton and easily accessible by car, bus, or train. 

There are several car parks near to the Lighthouse, and the one closest has ample parking. 

We paid £4.50 for four hours in the closest car park to the Lighthouse, which was plenty of time to explore without rushing. 

The walk from the car park to the Lighthouse and visitor centre is a mere couple of minutes, and so if you are not feeling too energetic, you need not count this one out unless you plan to climb the 150+ steps inside.

 

Information about Portland Bill lighthouse

 

  • There are public toilets available next to the car park, which is easily accessible and a massive relief after being in the car for an hour!  
  • Accessibility is decent as the path around the Lighthouse is flat if you don’t venture over the rockeries and you can easily enjoy the Lighthouse and the viewing points near the café and outbuildings if you are a wheelchair user or have mobility issues 
  • Pulpit rock is a short 5-minute walk from the Lighthouse and to the right facing the Lighthouse from the car park. If you are hoping to get a photograph of this unique formation, we suggest arriving very early as sunrise, and it was teeming with people. 
  • There is a café stone’s throw from the old Lighthouse with magnificent views across the ocean. However, it was closed when we arrived at 7 pm so bring a picnic to watch the sunset. 
  • If you plan to arrive at the Lighthouse in the late afternoon and hope to explore inside of the Lighthouse, online sources advise calling before arrival to confirm availability.

 

You can plan your trip or find more information here:

https://www.trinityhouse.co.uk/lighthouse

Photography Tip

We got some very lovely shots of Portland Bill. Also, very close by is Pulpit rock. We would have loved to get shot of it, but people were climbing all over it. Again, most likely to do with the season, so the top tip would be to go out of season and ensure you walk around the area before shooting as there are many beautiful angles within metres of each other.

Weymouth Harbour

Weymouth in Dorset is one of the places that has carved a tiny spot in my heart. Despite only having visited twice, I fell in love with the place and have tried to convince Steffan to visit ever since.

 

However, our weekend in Dorset was the first time he cast his eyes on this little seaside town and whilst he only experienced it from the car, he instantly saw its picturesque charm. And understood how the sweeping sandy blue flag beaches, the colourful huts all lined up in a row and its picturesque fishing harbour could easily pull one in, so you’d never want to leave. 

Beauty spots in Dorset in the UK

While a little slower paced (which is what I love) than some of its counterparts, Weymouth has so much to offer from water sports to quaint English pubs through to fine dining and beautiful beaches. 

 

Suppose you are looking for daytime activities and do not succumb to the draw of the miles of sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.

 

In that case, you can explore some of the local attractions from the traditional amusement park and funfair through to the Sea Life Centre or Monkey World, where you can learn about monkeys that have been rehabilitated. There is so much to see and do for everyone! 

It’s hard to explain what makes Weymouth different to any other seaside town, and it just feels different. So we highly recommend you experience it for yourself and we promise you will not be disappointed! 

 

How to get to Weymouth

 

Weymouth is easily accessible via car, bus or train and whilst we only visited briefly you could easily spend a day here, a few nights or even a week. It’s a stunning spot brimming with attractions and history. 

There is a mix of car parks and on-street parking in Weymouth, which you will pass as you drive around, and you can even book a spot online before visiting. 

 

Information about Weymouth

 

  • Accessibility in Weymouth is exceptionally convenient, being a flat seaside town. 
  • Due to this, bicycle riding is very popular and a great way to explore if you are feeling a little more active! 
  • You will be spoilt for a choice of things to do in Weymouth, from exploring local shops, little cafes and restaurants to sitting in the historic harbour, soaking in the views or relaxing on the beach. 

 

You can plan your trip or find more information here:

https://www.visit-dorset.com/explore/

This map was made with Wanderlog, a road trip planner app on iOS and Android
If you are thinking of spending a weekend in the gorgeous coastal area of Cornwall, CLICK HERE

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