Durdle Door, Dorset

On our recent holiday to Dorset one of the absolute highlights had to be the gorgeous day we spent visiting Durdle Door, a stunning rock formation on the Jurassic Coast…. but the day wasn’t without it’s challenges! I really didn’t do much research into before we went, and didn’t really take in what I did read, so I will be honest, I was completely unprepared for how tricky it was to get there.

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The car journey was fine and uneventful. Access is via the Durdle Door holiday park, where there is a pay and display car park. Some people were parking on the road outside the holiday park but it is worth paying for the car park. It is not too expensive really and it is hard enough getting to the beach and Durdle door itself from the car park let alone adding on another huge journey up/down a hill!

Why so hard? Well, access is only via a very long, very steep, sandy/stony/dusty (so slippy) path down the cliff-side. This gets you to an amazing viewing point. Then there are around 150 steps down to the actual stony beach. Don’t let this put you off as it is stunningly beautiful and well worth going, but please learn from my mistakes and be prepared!

durdle door


The steps down to the beach


First of all, we took way too much stuff. I had no idea what the route down involved and hadn’t really thought about the fact that the beach was stony. So we went down, very heavily laden with all manner of beach toys which we did not remotely need or use.

Our second mistake was taking the buggy – I had no idea there were so many steps at the end of the journey, it was hard enough getting the buggy up and down the slope and there is NO way you would want to carry a buggy down the steps, as it is very busy and there are no safety rails whatsoever.

So, anyway, we struggled our way down the very steep dusty slope with the buggy and all our bags clutching on tightly to Monkey and keeping him well clear of the edge, wondering how far away we were going to have to go. Then we got to the viewing level, and like I say, stunning… then we saw all the steps and wondered what to do next…. We decided to have our picnic there while we pondered what to do.

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Eventually we decided we did want to go down the steps, having come all of that way. The buggy we had with us is a very cheap one we bought a couple of years ago to take abroad, thinking it may not last that holiday. It has still been going strong but we have had good use out of it so we decided to leave it at the top. We tucked it under a trailer being used as a bin and while we hoped it would still be there on our return, we accepted the risk that it may not be. (Thankfully it was there though, hooray!)

The steps were steep and there are no handrails but Monkey did so well and we managed down the steps with all our bits and bobs. We made a bit of a game counting the way with Monkey as he does so love to count! The Durdle door itself was very impressive but it was a very steep slope to the the sea and difficult to get to on the stones. Was nice to have a paddle, although neither Monkey or LM were impressed with the noise of the crashing surf.

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We had a lovely time enjoying the sun before it was time to start the difficult journey back up hill. Let’s just say it was definitely a slog! We stopped halfway up for some ice cream as it was so hot, but it really was incredibly hard work. It was well worth a visit, though we were exhausted by the end of it and I wish I had done some research before we went, so here is my advice if you are planning a visit.

  • Be prepared for a long walk and wear good shoes – my flip flops weren’t the best choice of footwear for the journey!
  • Don’t take everything but the kitchen sink – there isn’t sand, there won’t be sandcastles.
  • Go without a buggy if you can, there are stairs at the bottom that you won’t want to carry a buggy down… it’s not much fun pushing the buggy back up the hill either!
  • Be prepared to carry a little one if their little legs can’t manage it (see why you shouldn’t take too much down with you!)
  • Take plenty of drink, and food.
  • Go to the toilet before you head down – unless you fancy a wee in the sea, as there no facilities down there.
  • Pay for the parking, it is a long enough walk anyway let alone walking even further to avoid paying.
  • Use reins or keep a hand free for your kiddies – there are no safety rails whatsoever!
  • Enjoy the view as it is stunning!
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29 thoughts on “Durdle Door, Dorset

  1. the beach is beautiful and I think it worths the whole ordeal! There’s a beach in Greece (Egremni in Lefkada) which requires you to go down 350 steps and once on the beach there are no facilities whatsoever! I was amazed with the abundance of families that went there because they not only had to go down, they spent a pretty good amount of time swimming and playing and then have to go up! I spent 6 hours on that beach and on my weay up I had to stop at the cafe for water because I was exhausted! So your tips remind me of that beach!!

  2. your first photo is absolutely breathtaking. I’ve never been to Dorset but it’s close enough for us to go for a few days. Somewhere to add to the list of places to visit! x

  3. It certainly does look stunning! A shame it caused some problems, but great tips for others going to visit, it’s hard to find time to research things first! Looks like you had a great time though? 🙂 x

  4. A few people have told me how gorgeous this place is, and it certainly seems it, but good to know about the steps especially if you’ve got little ones. Glad it looked worth it once you made it down! #mondayescapes

  5. Such a beautiful place and well worth the walk. Thanks for sharing your tips on what not to do – so easy to learn these things the hard way though isn’t it but your gorgeous photos, especially those of you on the beach together, make it look like it was worth it! 🙂

  6. Wow Caroline, it really does look like a stunning part of the country to visit and you lucked out with the weather. I can see why they call it the Jurassic Coast 🙂 Definitely a day for baby carriers though, sounds like it was hard work with the buggy xx #thetruthabout

  7. That top photo is just stunning, what a gorgeous part of the world. My children have travelled a lot, but still haven’t been to a beach in their native country, how sad is that?

  8. I live so close to here- in fact it was the first ‘date’ I went on with my partner after our squidge was born. It really is so beautiful, and we can;t wait to take madam when we get a free moment. But definately a day for a carrier! Looks like you still made some lovely memories 🙂

  9. Wow Caroline the pictures are just amazing! I bet it was worth it. I love your advice and I think I will bear in mind generally when going on any walk with little ones xx #thetruthabout

  10. This is very timely Caroline as we are off camping near Osmington tomorrow! Albeit that I think its going to bucket down the whole time so we may not even get onto a beach but if we do decide to go down there at least we will be fore-warned! Thanks so much for these tips hon and thanks for linking to #thetruthabout Xx

  11. Well, I guess good things have a price. I would definitely do the hike to see the view and walk to the beach. I love arches and this is one I would like to see. Thanks for all the tips and recommendations.

  12. This sounds like a lot of our ‘it’ll be fine’ trips!! Always worth the effort though and this looks just the same, it looks beautiful and isn’t too far from us so I will pay attention to your top tips and take a trip soon! 🙂 #bestandworst

  13. Caroline this looks absolutely gorgeous. I love the southern coast and its so nice! Looks a lush day!

    When I see pics like this I feel so blessed to be in England – if only we had proper summers we’d be sorted haha x #bestandworst

  14. Wow, looks like you had a gorgeous day for it! We went to Dorset a few years ago and visited this coastline. Sadly the weather was pretty pants, so we went back this year. Sadly, we all caught a bug! Maybe third time lucky! But definitely some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK. Thanks for the tips for next time! x MMT #bestandworst

  15. Oh wow you did well to take the buggy and children!!! We live in Dorset and Durdle Door is one of my favourite spots but we usually park in Lulworth Cove and take the steep path. I’ve never taken my little boy but I think now hes almost 3 he’s able to walk quite far so might have to take a trip down there before summer is over! x #twinklytuesday

  16. Aaah I know that hill all too well!!! The last time we went down there, we didn’t venture down to the beach at all. I was too scared to carry the babies!! I’ve nearly slipped over when it was just me — with nothing to carry!!! I’m going to wait until next year before we try and tackle it again! The twins will be three then — they’ll probably be able to cope better with the climb! 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x

    Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk

  17. Thanks for sharing your experience – very, very helpful for anyone visiting. I’ve never been but it’s definitely on the list…looks stunning. I definitely would have left the buggy at the top too – brilliant that it was still there! #bestandworst

  18. Stunning pictures, the view looks worth the walk down. Have to be honest I have done many a trip then realised that it’s really steep all while wearing flip flops haha 🙂 Thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst hope to see you next week! x

  19. Ahhh what a gorgeous place to visit. I went there from the states when I was 21 to visit and I remember this place well so beautiful. You have captures great family adventures here hunny. So much fun. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  20. Pingback: Where to go on holiday in Dorset with toddlers - Becoming a Stay at Home Mum

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