The Jurassic Coast is full of cliffs, arches, coves and rock formations, all carved by the sea for millions of years. There are rumors that one can still find dinosaur fossils along the shores, too! Even if you aren’t an Earth scientist like Addie or a budding paleontologist like my nephew Nate, you’ll still have an amazing time exploring the natural beauty of these shores.
Lyme Regis was a strong start to our journey into the Jurassic Coast. It’s a beachside town with sweet pastel bathhouses lining the shore. The beach was interesting since a section of the beach was covered with fine sand, while another area was covered in pebbles and rocks. We joined the dog walkers, families, and couples strolling along the promenade in the rare February sunshine.
I had my favorite meal of the entire trip in Lyme Regis. A Place To Gather is a warmly lit cafe and its long wooden tables are laden with homemade peanut butter and jams. The kitchen is completely open, and you can see the baker preparing fresh bread, while the other chefs are working stations with thick bacon, eggs, and homemade sauces. We bought a huge loaf of sourdough to bring home, along with three chocolate croissants!
Next, we wandered into a small shop with old candies, granola bars, and a few baked goods. I quickly surmised that I didn’t need to purchase anything here, but on our way out, the store clerk asked if we’d like to see the old town mill just beyond the door? We didn’t know that we’d actually entered into the front shop of the mill! Rob, the miller, showed us how to grind spelt, and I opted to buy a bag of freshly ground flour right then. Corey asked what we’d make with it, and I shrugged as I’ve never used spelt flour before, but that wouldn’t stop me.
The other parts of the mill were surrounded by art galleries and a cafe that prepared food with the mill’s flour. We found a small path leading between two small creeks that took us back to the sea’s edge.
We heard that Golden Cap was a great stop, but guessed it might be similar to the Tors of Dartmoor. It’s a National Trust site so we’re excited that we can return at any point to take in the views. We stopped at Hive Beach instead and were rewarded with a four mile long stretch of sand, and hay colored cliffs.
Through the powers of social media we met up with an old colleague of Corey’s at a pub called the Square and Compass. The pub is known for its local ciders, and their large fireplace. We grabbed some pasties and drinks to catch up with Louise and Chris about their adventures along the Jurassic Coast. They raved about Old Harry’s Rocks, and a swanky spot called The Pig on the Beach. When we left the pub, the last light of the day was drifting beyond the grassy hills.
The stars were out on this chilly night as we made our way to The Pig. We learned that the food was either butchered, foraged, or harvested within a 25 mile radius of the restaurant. Corey’s pork tomahawk was the highlight of the evening (see below). The large chop and bone even caught the eye of the table next to us, which started up a shared conversation with the couple next to us throughout the evening.
Unfortunately, there weren’t any vacant rooms at The Pig’s guesthouse, so we drove on to Swanage and Corey found a great spot: Rivendell Guest House. It was a perfect location to tomorrow’s destinations, and a close walk to the downtown area.
I wanted to do some walking in Dorset as it was our last stop before heading home. A lot of the landmarks were in hiking distance of one another, yet were short enough distances that they wouldn’t take an entire day to complete.
We started with a loop to Old Harry’s Rocks which took about 2 hours. Today was probably the coldest day we experienced and the wind was not shy a when we got out to the limestone cliffs. Yet the views were still amazing! Something about the rock formations jutting majestically out of the water make you forget the wind chill.
We ventured through the grassy hillsides, and made it back in time to grab the perfect seat at the Bank’s Arms pub— the table directly next to the fire place!
We cut our next walk short as there was predicted rain, and potential snow. Rather than completing the walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door, we jumped back into the car to make our way to our warm guest house. But before leaving Lulworth Cove, we saw a gentleman bringing in large bags of shells in the freezing weather!!!
At the last minute, we opted to squeeze in a visit to Corfe Castle as the rain hadn’t started. We got up to the top as quickly as possible with about thirty minutes before closing. Some of the stone walls are at a tilt due to erosion, and the limestone is covered with lichen. Corey got some great views of the town below, and I couldn’t get enough of the sheep on the hillside. We’ll have to return to try out some of the nature walks in better weather.
We played cards through dinner at the Black Swan, just a four minute walk from our guesthouse. Corey’s pie of the day was something to reckon with, and I devoured my Dorset apple cake. Durdle Door will be our last stop tomorrow morning before catching the train back to Londontown.
I appreciated the natural arch at Durdle Door. Seeing the rock formations from the hill reminded me of a dragon’s back dipping in and out of the waves. I was struck by the clear blue tropical-looking waters surrounding the cove. We’d seen mostly rust colored waves in Dorset. I look forward to returning to these same landmarks in the summer months with a picnic in hand, or with my pack and a tent!
- Corfe Castle
- Durdle Door
- Old Harry’s Rocks
- Lyme Regis
- Lulworth Cove
- Square and Compass pub and garden
*Shoutout to Addie Capaldi for the title of this post