South West Coast Path : Weymouth to Lulworth Cove walk
Weymouth Bay, then a dramatic cliff walk past small beaches, then higher cliffs past Durdle Door (stack) to Lulworth Cove
11.1 miles / 17.8 km
8 out of 10 - 2,400 feet / 730m of ascent (lots of small climbs)
This spectacular coast walk follows the waymarked South West Coastal Path (SWCP) / England Coast Path (ECP) from Weymouth (seaside town with picturesque harbour) along its seafront promenade, then over spectacular cliffs and past secluded coves and beaches towards Durdle Door (stack) and Lulworth Cove. All, with views over Weymouth Bay and the Isle of Portland.
The start is gentle - along the seafront then seawall. Then over a small hill (pub, cafe, both with sea views) to Bowleaze Cove with its spectacular art deco hotel. Then past some small beaches to the Smugglers Inn in Osmington for lunch. After lunch the cliff top path continues on past Ringstead and above Burning Cliff beach (the fire went out in in 19th C). It passes St Catherine-by-the-Sea church (nice picnic spot), and then becomes an undulating cliff edge walk (a more level inland option is available) to Durdle Door (a stack, great beach) before descending to Lulworth Cove.
Return to Wool Station by bus (summer only) or taxi
This walk can also be done in reverse, indeed transport considerations may may that a better option. In this case, take a bus from Wool to Lulworth Cove. At the end, continue along the coast to Weymouth's Historic Harbour area which is much nicer than the tacky seafront next to the train station
You hardly need a map for this walk as the SWCP is very well waymarked, and you are just following the coast, but it is useful to check your progress. The paths and signs were updated for 2012 the Olympics (the sailing events were in Weymouth)
You can swim in Weymouth, by Overcombe, Osmington Mills, Ringstead/Burning Cliff (there's a path up at the end), Durdle Door (St Oswald's Bay), and Lulworth Cove
Weymouth: 2 trains per hour (1 on Sunday), about 3 hrs. Upwey, 1 stop before Weymouth, has 1 train an hour.
Wool (nearest station to Lulworth Cove): 1 per hour, about 2 hrs 45
Suggested train from London : This walk is better as part of a weekend, as the trains take 3 hours each way and its a long walk with swimming and sightseeing, but for a day trip, as early as possible - take the train closest to 8:30
See below for Wool Station - Lulworth Cove buses
There are regular buses from Overcombe (at the end of the sea wall) to Weymouth Station to shorten the start/end of the walk
|Stay||Weymouth is big enough to have lots of everything. See below for Lulworth Cove|
The South West Coast Path (SWCP) is the longest of the national paths and follows the coastline of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Devon again and finally Dorset. This section, along the Exmoor coast, is its traditional start, as is done anti-clockwise.
The walk may be done as one long walk, staying overnight along the way, or as a series of day walks, returning by bus to your car or accommodation.
By car, you'd be better in a B&B, renting a cottage, or staying in one of the caravan parks near Combe Martin, and doing day trips by car (returning to it by bus), then you don't have to worry about carrying your kit, provisions, booking accommodation, etc. With 2 cars you can shuttle, and have far more freedom over how far you walk each day.
Minehead is a large seaside resort town with shops accomodation, but only heritage rail, not national rail.
Porlock is a small touristy village with several pubs, restaurants and B&s;Bs a few km inland. Porlock Weir on the coast has a hotal and a good pub.
Lynmouth (seafront) and Lynton (above it at the top of the hill) are a large very touristy village with lots of accomodation. Year round bus service inalnd, but summer only bus service along the coast
Coombe Martin is a small seaside village a few km from a much larger one - Illfracombe
The SWCP National Trail website has more details on each day's route. The SWCP Association has an annual handbook with updated accommodation guide.
Lulworth Cove, nearby Durdle Door (a cliff arch) and the dramatic white cliffs' coastal scenery are stunningly beautiful, and very popular and busy on sunny summer weekends.
Wool Station is 7 kilometres north of Lulworth Cove on the Waterloo to Weymouth Main Line. Trains are hourly. Journey time 149 mins Mondays-Saturdays, 154 mins on Sundays.
Wool Station to Lulworth Cove: bus or taxi
Updated : July 2023 (but bus fare as of 07/22). Check online before you go, as recently these bus services have changed every year! Check Traveline South West.
Wool has two pubs close to the station to await your train, and a local store that keeps long hours every day.
About 3 hours drive from London.
West Lulworth has a YHA youth hostel, a HF hotel, a campsite (mostly caravans, but they take tents), and B&Bs and Hotels.
After the walk, please leave a comment, it really helps. Thanks!
Out (not a train station)
|Map Walk||This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.|
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Traveline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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- Weymouth Station Start
- If finishing here, do carry on south for 750m towards the pretty harbour and old town. At the harbour entrance, turn inland to cross it on bridge.
- From the station, turn left for the sea, and left again (north) along the seafront. The are shops, cafes and amusements at first. (1 km)
- Next is a long sea wall - inland from here is the Lodmoor RSPB Nature Reserve. Carry on until the hill at the end of the sea wall (1.5km)
- Upwey Station Start
- Follow the route shown on the OS map page to, then through, the Lodmoor Nature Reserve (not walk checked, use an OS map). This route is a little longer, but avoids 2km of the long sea wall walk at the start
- Both routes continue
- At the end of the long flat seafront path, just before the low hill, is the Oasis Cafe. There are regular buses from here to/from Weymouth Station.
- Leaving the coast, follow a road (Bowleaze Coveway) thats climbs the low hill/cliff, past the Spyglass Pub (carvery pub, great terrace) and Lookout Cafe (even better terrace) to Bowleaze (beach with tacky amusements and a very large Art Deco hotel that is a landmark on the bay (1 km)
- Follow the undulating coast past a series of small beaches to Osmington Mills and the Smugglers Inn (3.5 km)
- Continue along the coast to Ringstead (summer/weekend kiosk) and Burning Cliff (National Trust) beaches, then climb up to higher cliffs (3 km)
- Above Burning Cliff is St Catherine-by-the-Sea Church (churchyard has a lovely view)
- Follow the cliff edge to White Northe (headland).
- There are 2 routes to Durdle Door (stack, nice beach) (4.5 km)
- Prettier Cliff Edge Option Either continue along the cliff edge path (prettier, lots of ups and downs)
- Gentler Inland Option Or follow an easier, parallel path slightly inland (when you see a farm and campsite, veer right, down to Scratchy Bottom!, to rejoin the coast path to see Durdle Door).
- After Durdle Door (steps down to a beach with an arch), gently descend to Lulworth Cove (nice pub, cafe) (2.5km)
- After exploring the cove, the bus stop is now just inside the pay car park area. Taxis pick up in the turning circle.