Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Old Harry Rocks
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Highlights

  • Walk the Jurassic Coast from Lyme Regis To Poole.
  • Hunting for fossils on Charmouth Beach.
  • Golden Cap, the highest point between Lands End and Poole.
  • The birdlife at the Fleet, the UK's largest inland saltwater lagoon.
  • Durdle Door, a dramatic sea archway.

Walk this unique stretch of the South West Coast Path from Lyme Regis to Poole.

Offering spectacular walking, this section takes you along the Jurassic Coast which gained World Heritage Status in 2001. It has a fascinating history dating back millions of years and you can search for traces of prehistoric animals and marvel at the rich beauty that encompasses this area of the Dorset coast.

Turquoise bays, lagoons teeming with wildlife, dramatic rock formations and pretty villages are some of the highlights. Search for fossils at Charmouth beach and gaze at the formation of ‘The Fleet’, an inland calm and azure saltwater lagoon.

For all the information you need on the South West Coast Path, you can download our free guide

Arrive in Lyme Regis

This section of the South West Coast Path starts in Lyme Regis which is a lovely old port with beautiful coloured houses.


Section 1: Lyme Regis to Bridport - 12.5 miles, 20 km

The path heads inland skirts the remains of the largest coastal mudslide in Europe. Walking up past the Black Ven cliffs to Timber Hill provides some wonderful views back to Lyme Bay. You soon descend to Charmouth beach which is famous for its fossils, so take time to have a little look and see if you can find any!


From here the path follows cliffs along to Golden Cap, which is the highest place on the South Coast. The path finally reaches West Bay where you head inland following the Rver Brit to the attractive market town of Bridport.


Section 2: Bridport to Abbotsbury - 11 miles, 18 km

Leave high cliff tops behind you as you head along the coast today.  Burton Bradstock is a great resting spot with its old spinning mill house and thatched cottages. Keep your eyes peeled for the peregrine falcon above you - the world’s fastest bird.


Chesil Beach follows with its 18 miles of pebbles, which is uniquely separated from the mainland by a lagoon. There a choice of 2 paths here, one following the beach and the other heading inland across the South Dorset Ridgeway and visiting Abbotsford Castle.


Section 3: Abbotsbury to Weymouth - 15 miles, 24 km

From Abbotsbury the path starts by heading uphill and inland to open country side with some fantastic views across to the Isle of Portland. Todays walk is bound for ‘The Fleet’ which is the largest inland saltwater lagoon in the UK. Protected since 1393, its one of the oldest nature reserves and teeming with wildlife this is a nature lovers dream.


When you reach the waters edge the path follows the coast passing in and out of bays and hamlets en route to Ferry Bridge and then to Weymouth for your overnight stay.


Section 4: Weymouth to Lulworth- 11 miles, 18 km

If you have the time, an extra night in Weymouth is recommended which allows you to walk around the Isle of Portland, a highly recommended extension. It’s a 13 mile circular route and offers some wonderful rugged walking.


Weymouth is a lovely old seaside town with some great eating spots and you may even see some Punch and Judy shows on the beachfront. The path to Lulworth passes the iconic sight of Durdle Door which is a real highlight on the coast path. It is a sea archway which is over 200ft high and a real sight to be seen.


Just past here you will enter Lulworth cove with its azure waters and chalk hillside where you head inland to your overnight accommodation.


Section 5: Lulworth to Kimmeridge - 7.5 miles, 12 km

Today’s walk is one of the toughest sections of the entire walk. It follows a remote route through the firing range between Lulworth and Kimmeridge. You will need to plan ahead as the firing range is heavily restricted and only open on certain weekend days.


The walk starts by crossing Fossil Forest - the largest Jurassic forest in the world and then skirts the coastline with undulating cliff walking to Kimmeridge.


Section 6: Kimmeridge to Swanage - 13.5 miles, 22 km

The walk from Kimmeridge starts by passing the Purbeck Marine Nature Reserve, which has a wonderful rock pool aquarium. It continues along the cliffs past Clave Tower and reaches St Albans Head with its impressive Norman Castle.


Worth Matravers is a little village just off the coast path and the pub here is a great stop en-route with its fossil museum attached.


You then pass Durlston Country Park on your way to Swanage, a pleasant Victorian port and fishing village.


Section 7: Swanage to Poole - 7.5 miles, 12 km

The final stage of the walk to Poole provides wonderful views over the dramatic chalk stacks of Old Harry before descending to the village of Studland with its nature reserve where many rare snakes and sand lizards live.


The last section to Poole involves a ferry trip from South Haven Point to Poole where your last overnight stay will be.


Accommodation

One of the highlights of this tour is the high standard of the accommodation. We specifically choose the hotels, inns, guesthouses and B&B’s to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. They all offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food.


Single Rooms

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you, subject to availability. There is a single room supplement payable.


Solo Walkers

Solo walkers are welcome, but there is a solo walker supplement to cover the additional cost of luggage transfer.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs or restaurants.


Additional Nights

We strongly recommend adding an extra night in Weymouth so you can add on the extension to walk around the Isle of Portland.  Additional nights can be added at any point on the walk if you would like to spend more time in a certain place.


Here are some examples of accommodations we use:



 

 

 




Mariners Hotel - Lyme Regis

The Mariners Hotel is nestled in the heart of Lyme Regis.This former coaching inn has a large private garden and rooms with free WiFi access.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Tiger Inn - Bridport

The Tiger Inn is a free house in the town centre of Bridport, offering a great atmosphere and quality accommodation.The rooms are all comfortable and ensuite.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Ilchester Arms - Abbotsbury

The Ilchester Arms is the perfect destination to enjoy relaxation and all rooms offer either double or single beds. A delicious full English breakfast is provided in the morning.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Esplanade Hotel - Weymouth

The Esplanade is a Grade II listed building situated alongside the sea. The Hotel is yards from the award winning Weymouth beach all of the rooms are furnished with 100% Egyptian cotton linen on the beds.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Lulworth Cove Inn - Lulworth

ALulworth Cove Inn has stunning coastal views. All rooms are comfortable, have en-suite facilities, tea & coffee making facilities, tv’s and great views along the coast.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Kimmeridge Farmhouse - Kimmeridge

The farmhouse is located on a gentle slope with views of Kimmeridge Bay. A delicious home cooked breakfast is served in the traditionally furnished dining room, which overlooks the tranquil garden.


 

 

 


 

 

 




The Limes Hotel - Swanage

The Limes is an informal, comfortable and well-appointed B&B and they are pleased to offer a very warm welcome. Full of character and within a two-minute walk to Swanage town centre.


 

 

 


 

 

 




Thistle Poole Hotel - Poole

Thistle Poole is a contemporary hotel on the quayside, overlooking the harbour. All the hotel rooms have everything you need for a relaxing, comfortable stay.


 

 

 

Firing Range at Lulworth

This section of the South West Coast Path passes a firing range in Lulworth which is only open on certain days of the week, please check with us before booking that the range will be open. You can call on 01929 404819 to get regular updates.


Time of year

Favourite times are April, May and June when the spring flowers are out and September and October when the summer holiday makers have gone home.


Grade & Terrain

This holiday is graded moderate to strenuous overall. However there are some easy sections too, but you do follow the coast quite closely at times and so it does include some steep ascents and descents climbing up and down from the cliff top paths.


Navigation

The route is well way marked and easy to follow. We supply a detailed map and guidebook so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way.


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


General Information

The distances and ascent/ descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Lyme Regis

By Air - Exeter International Airport is the closest airport and is served by Flybe and Easyjet from UK Airports.


By Rail/Bus - Trains run from London Waterloo to Axminster (2H45) and then you change and take the bus to Lyme Regis from here (20mins).


By Car - Lyme Regis is a 3H30 drive from London. There are some long stay car parks here but they can often be very busy in the summer months, so we always advise public transport as the best option.


Getting from Poole

By Air  - Bournemouth International Airport is the closest airport and is served by a few different airlines such as Easyjet, Ryanair and Thomson. You could also fly into Bristol or any of the London Airports.


By Rail/Bus  - You can reach London from Poole by a direct train service which takes approx. 2H20.  


By Car - Driving to London from Poole takes approx. 2H20. However there is limited parking in Poole so we always recommend public transport.  If you need to return to Lyme Regis from Poole then the best way is to catch the train to Dorchester (20mins) and then the bus to Lyme Regis (1H30)


For train and bus schedules check the Traveline website. You can also check the Trainline website.


Included

  • Overnight accommodations in guest houses, inn's, B&B's and small hotels
  • Breakfasts
  • Door to door baggage transfer
  • A detailed info pack, guidebooks and map
  • Emergency telephone support from our office in the event of a problem

Excluded

  • Lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks
  • Travel Insurance
  • Transport should you need to skip a stage
  • Travel to Lyme Regis and from Poole

Extras

  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk
  • Single room supplements
  • Solo walker supplements

How fit do I need to be?

Although you are following the coast the ascents and descents are often steep and you will need strong knees and a good level of hill fitness. If you currently don’t enjoy that level of fitness, regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 3 months prior to your walk is recommended. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.

Do I need to be able to Navigate?

Yes, but it's really easy. The path is well waymarked throughout and we supply a detailed map and guidebook so you shouldn't have any problem following the trail.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the South West Coast path is extremely popular over the summer months. Even if you are booking last minute we will always try and accommodate your plans.

How do the baggage transfers work?

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.

Are there upgrade options available?

We use a variety of B&B’s, guest houses, small hotels and Inns on our trips. In the larger towns, there are hotel options available. Please note that these can be at a slightly higher upgrade cost, but they are not similar to our ‘In Style’ accommodation options

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. We will send you a full equipment list as part of your info pack.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can’t walk a stage?

You can use public transport, local taxis or our baggage van may be able to move you to the next overnight stop. Full details are included in your info pack.

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