A Visitor’s Guide To West Lulworth
While the Jurassic Coast stretches for almost 100 miles, it is the small village of West Lulworth that boasts its most breathtaking features and sights. While there are many landmarks to see along this ancient coastline, several of them are located in the village of West Lulworth and neighbouring East Lulworth.
A Village Full Of Geological Landmarks, Just 1 Mile (5 Minutes) From The Castle Inn
If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore this stunning part of the world, The Castle Inn is a cosy, welcoming pub that is located in the heart of West Lulworth and the sights it has to offer. We have 12 stylish boutique bedrooms with super comfy beds and stunning bathrooms, as well as fresh, seasonal produce and delicious Butcombe beer on tap.
One of the most photographed landmarks in the United Kingdom and certainly the most iconic part of the Jurassic Coast landscape, Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch that appears on many postcards and in many photo albums.
Durdle Door was formed more than 10,000 years ago when the sea eroded the limestone rocks and created the picture-perfect arch. It is privately owned by the Lulworth Estate, but remains open to the public all-year round, with as many as 500,000 people flocking to catch a glimpse of the famous arch each year.
Durdle Door is located very near to The Castle Inn and can be reached on foot in under 30 minutes, or around 5 minutes by car.
When debating the most popular spots on the Jurassic Coast, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove will almost always be the topics of discussion.
While the former is definitely the most photographed part of the ancient coastline, the latter attracts equally as many visitors, with thousands of sightseers flocking to marvel at the unique landform every day during the peak season.
Lulworth Cove is not just popular with tourists, but with geologists from around the world who descend on this site in order to study the distinctive rock types (which include chalk, limestone, clay and sandstone), all of which have contributed to the formation of this World Heritage Site over the last 185 million years.
Located just 20 minutes walk (or 5 minutes by car) from The Castle Inn, Lulworth Cove is a must-visit for our guests.
Lulworth Castle is a Grade I listed building which is situated at the heart of the Lulworth Estate in the village of East Lulworth. It was built between 1588 and 1609 and was purchased by the Weld family in 1641. To this day, Lulworth Castle remains under the ownership of the Weld family.
In 1929, a fire devastated the castle, forcing the Weld family to build alternative accommodation for themselves. After more than 40 years without a roof and the castle falling further into a state of disrepair, restoration work started.
It took 20 years for the castle to be restored and it now operates as a tourist attraction to which thousands of visitors flock each year. It is also one of the main selling points for the annual music extravaganza “Bestival”, with the “Castle Stage” being the focal point of the festival.
Corfe Castle is a fortification that enjoys a dominant position above the village with which it shares its name. It is owned and operated by the National Trust.
Dating back to the 11th century, Corfe Castle was built by William the Conquerer in a strategic gap in the Purbeck Hills between Wareham and Swanage. At a time when most castles were being built from earth and timber, the first iteration of Corfe Castle was one of the first to use stone in its construction.
Corfe Castle is a Grade I listed building and has also been classified as a Scheduled Monument. It often receives in excess of 250,000 visitors per year, making it one of the most visited attractions in Dorset. Despite changing hands many times, it was owned by the Bankes family from 1635 until it was gifted to its current owners, the National Trust, in 1981.
Bindon Hill is an Iron Age hillfort within the Purbeck Hills. It is recognised as a significant location for research into the early Iron Age in Dorset and has been referred to as the largest hillfort in England and Wales.
Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the cliffs of Bindon Hill reach 120 metres in height, offering breathtaking views of its surroundings and the remarkable Lulworth Cove which lies below. Much of the Dorset coast can be seen, and Poole Harbour is visible on a clear day.
Many visitors embark on a walk which commences near the Heritage Centre in West Lulworth and takes you all the way to the highest point of Bindon Hill (168 metres). This walk contains unforgiving flights of steps and steep ascent/descent, so is not suitable for those with restricted mobility.
The Fossil Forest is a preserved tropical forest that is positioned on a coastal ledge within the Lulworth Estate.
The origin of the Fossil Forest dates back to the Jurassic period, where it is believed that a forest grew during times of retracting water levels. Once the water levels started to rise again, the area was flooded and the forest that laid beneath became surrounded by limestone.
The tree trunks that were encased by the limestone have long departed, leaving large, circular cavities called algal burrs. These unique fossils are the main talking point of the Fossil Forest, attracting visitors from near and afar who want to catch a glimpse of them.
Known locally as the “lost village” or the “ghost town”, Tyneham Village has been desolate since 1943.
All of Tyneham’s residents were evacuated during World War II and were never allowed to return. Although many of the original buildings are still intact, the village is encompassed by the Ministry of Defence’s Lulworth Ranges, which means access is restricted at most times during the week, but become accessible during the weekends.
To walk from West Lulworth to Tyneham takes approximately 1 hour, but will likely be much longer after factoring in the numerous stops for awe-inspiring sights and photo opportunities.
The Castle Inn
Located in beautiful West Lulworth, The Castle Inn is a traditional pub and hotel that boasts 12 sumptuous bedrooms and a history dating back to 1660 – making it one of the oldest inns in Dorset.
Rustic and cosy, The Castle is the ideal base for exploring Dorset’s stunning Jurassic coastline and the beautiful countryside of the Isle of Purbeck. It is within walking distance of must-see Dorset attractions like Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.
On the menu, our focus is seasonal ingredients, locally sourced produce and exciting pub classics, with award-winning Butcombe beer, local cider, wine and classic cocktails behind the bar.