Jurassic Coast Itinerary – How to spend a long weekend in Dorset
Visiting Dorset & The Jurassic Coast
This jurassic coast region of the UK is situated on the south coast of England and is home to a diverse, stunning coastline which stretches for 95 miles: the Jurassic Coast. It begins in Exmouth in Devon and finishes at Old Harry Rocks, near Swanage in Dorset.
The Jurassic Coast gets its name from the geology of the land that makes up this area. It dates back 145 million years ago to the Mesozoic Era, which is when the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods were – and you can see evidence of all of these types of rock along the coastline. [If this all sounds a bit too scientific for you, the Jurassic Coast website has some useful easy-to-understand info!]
There’s loads to see and do here – I recommend booking as long as your calendar allows to explore this beautiful part of England. We visited Dorset and the Jurassic Coast for a long weekend in late September, along with our two dogs – so we wanted to make sure the activities we did were dog friendly.
Here’s how to see this part of England in a long weekend.
Jurassic Coast Itinerary: Getting to Dorset and Getting Around
Dorset is a 2 hour drive from London. There are good transport links to this area of the country, but if you want to maximise time in Dorset it’s recommendable to travel by car; transport links between the major sites aren’t as easy to come by.
By Bus: The National Express Coach takes 3h45m from London to Weymouth and only costs £10-15 each way if you book in advance. You can purchase tickets through the National Express website.
By Train: The train from London to Weymouth takes just over 3 hours and costs upwards of £50 one way but you can get cheaper tickets with a railcard. Search for train fares here.
By Plane: The best airports to this area of England are London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Southampton or Bristol, depending on where you’re flying from. Search for flights with Skyscanner here.
By Car: Getting around Dorset and the Jurassic Coast is easiest by car. I use AutoEurope to compare rental cars when I travel.
Jurassic Coast Itinerary: Where to stay in Dorset
I recommend staying in Weymouth or Dorchester for the duration of your long weekend in Dorset; then you’ll be slap bang in the middle of the sights to see on the Jurassic Coast. Browse Booking.com to find accommodation in the area or try AirBnB – use this link for £30 off your first AirBnB booking.
We stayed at a lovely little AirBnB in a village called Mosterton. This was a good location and we liked being in the countryside away from the crowds, with lots of great dog walking opportunities on our doorstop. However we were much further West than East, which meant we had a bit of a drive when visiting Old Harry Rocks.
Day 1: Lyme Regis & West Bay
Spend your first day in Dorset exploring the West of the region.
Lyme Regis is a popular seaside town, which is quaint and pretty and very British! The houses are painted in different pastel colours, much like the beach huts along the sand. Spend the morning wandering around along the seafront.
Things to do in Lyme Regis:
- Wander along the Marine Parade to the Cobb – the marina where the boats are stationed.
- Go kayaking, paddle-boarding or on a RIB ride
- Visit the Lyme Regis Museum or Dinosaurland Fossil Museum
- Take a guided walk to find fossils on Fossil Beach
Relax or walk along the beaches: Town Beach is the sandy beach by Lyme Regis town, Monmouth Beach is to the west of the Cobb. Charmouth Beach is a short drive away or you can hike there – the walk is about 4 miles long.
In the afternoon, drive to West Bay (it’s about a 30 min drive from Lyme Regis). This is a sleepy coastal town which is appealing for its necessity to relax, alongside its stunning scenery: the towering cliffs that stand on East Beach are an incredible sight, and were used as a filming location in !
Things to do in West Bay
- Grab a bite to eat from one of the many food stalls or at Rise cafe
- Wander the seafront and marina
- Hike along the coastline to the nearby village of Eype in the West (via the Jurassic Pier) or Burton Bradstock in the East (up East Cliff)
- Head to nearby Bridport and visit Bridport Museum
- If you’re partial to a tipple, visit Palmers Brewery or the Furleigh Wine Estate