I am not one for the cold but these 5 places to visit in Dorset in Winter are well worth braving the cold! It is actually very romantic walking along the coast in a warm jacket on New Years Day! The Jurassic Coast here is incredible, with some of the best rock formations I’ve ever seen. As well as the views, I’ll be telling you about the best places to stay here. If you have never gone to the toilet in a red phone box in the middle of a field then read on. It takes around 3 hours to drive to Dorset from London. Not quite a day trip but there are plenty of great winter day trips from London!
Best places to visit in Dorset in Winter: Old Harry Rocks
We came here on New Year’s Day and there were lots of people out walking in the morning. We had been here before and loved the walk so much that we wanted to come back. The walk right up to the cliffs takes around 20 minutes and is a relatively easy walk. The only thing is that it can get very muddy after rain so I would recommend some proper walking shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Halfway along the walk, there is a small path to the left. Follow this path to a great viewpoint of the bay near here. There is a bench here for the safe conscious. Or you can venture out to the end of the path, but this is also at the edge of the cliff so be very careful.
It can get very windy here so it wasn’t that easy to walk along this part. Then as you walk through the woods a bit further you will finally come out into the open and towards the famous white cliffs.
How best to see Old Harry Rocks?
Old Harry Rocks is actually best seen from the water. We flew the drone here to really see it all and it is incredible. You can see a lot of the white rock from where you stand on the cliffs. However, you really can’t feel just how vast it is and the amazing triangle shape until you are looking at it from the sea. There are boat trips here that I would recommend if you don’t have a drone. As you walk past the main set of rocks and up to the right you can also see more as you get higher. I would recommend coming here early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The first time we came here it was just before sunset and it was a beautiful spot for the sunset.
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How did Old Harry Rocks get its name?
There a few different stories about where these rocks got their name from. One story is that the devil, who was once nicknamed Old Harry, used to sleep on these rocks. Other legends say that a pirate from Poole who was called Harry Paye used to hide here. He would hide here on his ship waiting for other boats to pass.
How to get here?
The best way is by car, if you can. There is a small car park at the start of this path with a toilet too! At first we stayed an hour away in the most amazing little hut in a field. However, there are also lots of lovely places to stay that are much closer. I would recommend staying a few nights in this little hut though it is so romantic and lovely in winter with the fire! I’ll write more about it later on in this post. Old Harry Rocks is in the most Eastern part of the Jurassic Coast and is a World Heritage Site.
Apparently the bus line number 50 stops near Old Harry Rocks.
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Best places to visit in Dorset in Winter: Durdle Door
This is one of the most popular spots in Dorset and you will see why! This incredible natural rock arch is right out at sea in front of the beach. There are also many ways to see it. You can either walk right down all the steps down to the beach. It’s a bit of a walk to get back up, as the stairs aren’t even. However, half way down you can also turn to the left slightly for an amazing view of Lulworth cove with its incredible blue water. You can also walk down to Lulworth Cove from here but it’s a bit of a steep walk down, I didn’t try it so I can’t comment! Once you get down to the beach you wil get the best views of Durdle Door.
If you go in the morning, the sun comes up right behind it to create the most incredible light. Also, if you come for sunrise you will be the only one, except for a few other photographers with their tripods. In the afternoon it really is very busy here down on the beach. However, there is another great way to see Durdle Door. As you come down from the car park, turn right before you start taking the steps down to the beach. Here you will walk right along the top of the cliffs with the best view of the beach below. You can walk right up to the top of the hill if you are feeling fit, but it does get very windy up here. It was also very muddy when we went, but it kept us warm walking all the way to the top.
We didn’t realise but you are not allowed to fly a drone here. This is due to disruption to wildlife and birds here. However, you get great views without the drone so don’t be disappointed!
How to get here?
The best way to reach here is by car. There is a car park at the top of the cliff. It was about £4 I think to park here. We went once in the afternoon and it was really busy so the morning is the bets time to come.
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Best places to visit in Dorset in Winter: Man O’War beach
You will not believe that this is in the UK when you see this water! This cove is just so stunning, and one of my favourite spots along the Jurassic Coast. You can park in the same spot as for Durdle Door. However, for great views, you can also walk left from the car park along the coast for a different view of this bay. Again, it is a beautiful sunrise spot. This is also why I would recommend winter as a good time to come here, as you won’t have to wake up so early for sunrise. This beach is not so easy to walk down to, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are fit and ready for a hike back up. It really is a beautiful place, and not to miss while you are in Dorset.
Here you are also not meant to fly your drone, but we didn’t see these signs until after it was too late! It is also very windy anyway so unless you have a Mavic 2 Pro then I really wouldn’t recommend it as you might not get it back.
Best places to visit in Dorset in Winter: Worbarrow Bay
This was one of my favourite hikes here along the Jurassic Coast. It is one of the more strenuous ones, so make sure to wear proper shoes and bring some snack and a drink. However, it really has some spectacular views. The first part of this hike is through fields either side. Then once you have walked for about 10 minutes you will reach a fork. To the left, you can walk up a high cliff with views all around. However, to the right was my favourite part of this hike. Also to the top of a cliff, but from even higher up. It is a sweaty walk up here so be prepared and it really is very steep. Well worth it though for the most beautiful views.
Alternatively you can also choose the path down to the beach. The beach here is a pebble beach and lovely to walk along.
How to get here?
As far as I can remember the parking was free when I was there December 2018! This may have changed since but there was free parking and it was easily accessible.
Top Tip for visiting Worbarrow Bay
This area is an area where the military train, so make sure to stay within the boundaries, as you never know when they might come to do training. There are signs to warn you but here is a double warning to be careful. Saying that, we did climb over the fence to get the shot on top of this pill box, but at your own risk!
The village of West Lulworth
This is the prettiest village I visited in Dorset. It is in the Purbeck area and is home to Lulworth Castle. What I loved the most were the thatched roof cottages. It is a very instagrammable little village. It is also right by Lulworth Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches here. Lulworth cove is great for a day trip in summer, or a nice walk in winter. Another beach that you wouldn’t belive is in the UK, the water is beautiful!
Want to stay here? Head here for prices and availability
Where to Stay?
Roy’s Shepherd Hut
This is actually a little hut in the owner’s back garden! However, you have your own bathroom in a small building a few steps away from the hut. There was also tea-making facilities in the hut as well as proper heating which was lovely in winter. The owners were really lovely and friendly. I would definitely recommend staying here for a few nights. There are a few restaurants in the village, and some traditional British pubs too! There were plenty of parking spaces on the road outside the house too.
Hut in the middle of a farm
This was a great stay! This adorable hut is right in the middle of green fields. It was great waking up to just nature outside. There are a few huts here but they are well spread out so you hardly feel like there is anyone else there. There is a small kitchenette in the hut so you can cook all your own meals. The hut has a fridge, as well as a wood burning stove. You are provided with fire wood and if you run out all the shops sell them, or the owners can provide you with more.
If you have luggage, the bed is also high enough that you can store everything beneath it so you don’t use up any space in the hut. The best part about this place is the outdoor toilet! This is located inside a red English phone box. The toilet is tiny but fun and nice and close to the hut. The bathroom with showers is a bit of a further walk. Not as pleasant in winter but it was such a lovely place to stay that I would still recommend it. You could always be lazy and drive up to the bathroom….!
Food you must try during your trip to Dorset!
This is a filled pastry, usually with steak or potatoes and chicken or ham and mushrooms. They are delicious and nice and warm when you have been on a chilly walk.
English sausage rolls are the best. If you’ve never had one, then it’s a sausage in a crumbly puff pastry and it really is yummy. They are great for a quick snack after a long hike.
Full English Breakfast
We love our breakfast in the UK! A traditional English breakfast includes bacon, sausages, baked beans, mushrooms, black pudding and so much more! My favourite part is the hash browns. I would definitely recommend a full English breakfast after watching the sunrise at Durdle Door or Lulworth Cove.
English Roast Dinner
To try a roast dinner, head to a traditional British pub for roast chicken, beef or lamb. This is served with vegetables, Yorkshire pudding and plenty of gravy and potatoes.
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