The top 7 stops along the Jurassic Coast

This UNESCO World Heritage site of the Jurassic Coast spans 95 miles of beautiful coastline from Dorset to Devon.

It is one of the finest stretches of coastline in Europe with a history going back 185 million years that covers the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods.

Anyone looking to drive their Ford cars along this famous route will be in for a treat as you can see breath-taking beaches, stunning rock formations and visit a number of pretty towns and villages. Here we take you through the seven best places to stop along the Jurassic Coast route and let you know what you can see there.

Exmouth

Exmouth

One of the oldest and most picturesque seaside towns in Devon, Exmouth is another gateway to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.

There are two miles of sandy beaches by Exmouth and here you can try a number of different water sports as well as go on some picturesque coastal walks.

The town centre is vibrant with lots of local, independent shops as well as a whole host of eateries and pubs to relax in. The town is close-by to Exeter, meaning it is easy to stay in Devon’s capital before or after your drive along the coastal route.

Things to do

World of Country Life

If you’re looking for a fun family day out during your drive along the Jurassic Coast, then the World of Country Life in Exmouth is the perfect attraction to visit.

With duck racing, a deer train, a bird of prey centre and an indoor play area there are lots to keep the children (and adults) occupied throughout the day.

There are lots of events held at the park throughout the year, such as a classic vintage and vehicle rally and Halloween events, so keep an eye out to see what might be on during your visit.

Every year World of Country Life is open from February half term until October half term, while it is open 7-days-a-week from mid-March to the end of October. To enter the park, tickets cost £13.75 for adults and £11.20 for children.

Seaton

Seaton

Sitting at the heart of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, Seaton is home to stunning natural landscapes and fascinating attractions.

The town is home to a number of year-round adventures and it is a natural playground for water sports fans that attract walkers and cyclists.

The fact that Seaton is also within walking distance of the South West Coast Path and Seaton Wetlands Nature Reserve means there are lots of other activities you can do that are close-by.

Things to do

Seaton Tramway

Seaton is often known as the gateway to the Jurassic Coast and the tramway is one great way to get an insight into this famous coastline.

Seaton Tramway travels along three miles of unspoilt countryside in the beautiful Axe Valley between Seaton and Colyford and Colyton.

The narrow-gauge heritage trams will take you through two nature reserves and will allow you some fantastic views of the incredible birdlife in these areas.

Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis

With a history stretching back to the 8th century, this historic seaside town is suitably located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the border of West Dorset and East Devon, which is at the heart of the Jurassic Coast route.

It boasts incredible scenery, is a sparkling resort for all seasons and is one of the best places to go searching for fossils along the Jurassic Coast.

Things to do

Check out the incredible museums at Lyme Regis

Dinosaurland Fossil Museum is a must visit museum and has more than 13,000 fossils on permanent display featuring the local 200 million-year-old fossils of creatures that lived in the Jurassic sea. There are also exotic additions from around the world such as a 73 kg lump of dinosaur dung.

The museum is housed in a Grade 1 listed former Congregational Church where the pioneering fossil hunter Mary Anning was baptised.

Steve Davies from Dinosaurland Fossil Museum explains why you should stop at Dinosaurland Fossil Museum, “You must stop off at Dinosaurland if you want to see fossils. There are more fossils on permanent display in my museum than in all the other museums in SW England put together.

“There are no computer shows, videos or buttons to press. But there are a vast amount of fossils to see. You can read my explanation of them and muse over the significance yourself.”

Lyme Regis Museum is located in the heart of the town and you’ll be able to learn about the town’s colourful history and its remarkable literary connections, from Jane Austen and John Fowles to Tracey Chevalier.

A spokesperson from the museum explains why it is a must-visit attraction in the town:

“There really is something to delight and inspire everyone at Lyme Regis Museum. Enjoying a stunning seafront location on the world-famous Jurassic Coast with fantastic views over Lyme Bay, you’ll find fossils galore in the new interactive geology gallery, local history, famous writers, hands-on family fun in the learning centre, fossil hunting walks and of course the story of Lyme’s most famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning, and the remarkable contribution she made to the development of modern scientific thought.

“With the new Mary Anning Wing now open, there is more than ever to see, do and learn. Children are very welcome, and will love exploring the Cabinet of Curiosities and museum trails! There’s plenty to interest adults and those who wish to go into more depth too, all wrapped up in a charming Grade II listed building complete with beautiful spiral staircase and a shop stocked with lovely hand-chosen goodies.

“With a full calendar of events on offer plus special family activities in school holidays, there is lots going on all year round. Combine your visit with a fossil walk then explore the town with its lovely beach and famous Cobb – it makes for a wonderful day out!

“We think our walks are top notch – check us out on Trip Advisor and you’ll see that plenty of visitors agree! In fact, we’ve won the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence three years in a row! Come and see for yourself why we, and thousands of our visitors, are so passionate about this lovely museum, its collections and walks.”

Abbotsbury

Abbotsbury

This old village is nestled among the hills behind Chesil Bank and is a historic settlement in Dorset with a history dating back over 6,000 years.

The village is overlooked by an Iron Age Fort and features thatched cottages built from local stone. High above Abbotsbury stands the 14th century St Catherine’s Chapel, a place of pilgrimage and retreat by the monks of the former Abbotsbury Abbey. The chapel also offers up great views of Chesil Beach.

Things to do

Abbotsbury Swannery

If you are a nature enthusiast, then the Abbotsbury Swannery should certainly be on your Jurassic Coast bucket list.

The swannery, established by Benedictine Monks who built a monastery at Abbotsbury during the 1040s, is the only place in the world where you can walk through a colony of nesting Mute Swans.

This year’s first cygnets hatched in May and the popular attraction is regarded by many to be one of the best things to do in Dorset.

During a visit to the swannery, you may also consider visiting Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens and Abbotsbury Children’s Farm. By purchasing ‘Passport entries’ you can access all three sites for a reduced rate.

Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach

Located on the south coast of England in Dorset, Chesil Beach is a major part of the Jurassic Coast.

The 18-mile long beach stretches from Portland to West Bay and is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called the Fleet Lagoon. On the eastern side of Chesil Beach that faces into Portland Harbour is Hamm Beach.

This picturesque area of the Jurassic Coast has inspired two famous novels - “Moonfleet”, the hair-raising tale of ghosts and smugglers, and the more recent “On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwen.

Things to do

The Fleet Observer

During your visit to Chesil Beach, you should go on a one-hour boat trip with the Fleet Observer as you’ll find out more about the iconic Chesil Beach and its history and wildlife.

The trip will go wildlife spotting and it is also a great way for families, nature enthusiasts, photographers and visitors to explore the area, and experience one of the UK’s most important Marine Protected Areas.

As the Fleet Explorer is a shallow drafted boat it means you can explore the lower reaches of the Fleet Lagoon.

Weymouth

Weymouth

Weymouth is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK with beautiful scenery, events and activities to suit every age.

There are beautiful golden sands and Georgian grandeur as well as the fact Weymouth played a part in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics by hosting the sailing events.

The impressive seafront, host of attractions, and pretty harbourside capture the hearts of many and you should certainly try to visit this popular town, especially if you are visiting our Ford Poole dealership as it is just over 40-minutes away.

Things to do

Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park

The Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park allows you to take a fascinating journey from the coast to the ocean depths via 15 themed zones.

Learn about the amazing creatures that live in and around the sea and discover what threatens them and how you can help protect them from harm. Find out how SEA LIFE and the SEA LIFE Trust breed many endangered species like Rays and Seahorses, how they rescue injured and sick Turtles and Seals and protect marine habitats and the creatures that live within them. 

Jurassic Skyline

One of the most popular parts of the adventure park is the Jurassic Skyline, a viewing tower attraction in Weymouth, ideal for families and people of all ages. You can take your seat as the gondola gently rises 53m (174ft) above the resort.

Once at the top, the fully enclosed gondola will slowly perform two full rotations, allowing plenty of time to take in the stunning views of the Jurassic Coast, Nothe Fort, Portland and Weymouth Harbour.

The Jurassic Skyline offers unrivalled views of this breathtaking natural phenomenon and you can experience more than 185 million years of history from the birth of the Jurassic Coast to the legacy of the 2012 Olympics.

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove

Just under an hour away from our Hine Motors dealership in Shaftesbury is Lulworth Cove. This beautiful white pebble beach boasts picturesque blue waters that, when the tide is out, reveals a number of rock pools teeming with sea creatures.

There is a Heritage Centre located at the cove which will tell you about the area and the Jurassic Coast, and in the summer months, you can go on a number of boat trips to look at the stunning rock formations and look out for the resident wildlife.

If you are driving, then it is recommended to try and arrive early or late in the day as it will be easier to find a parking space.

Things to do

Lulworth Estate

The Lulworth Estate boasts more than 12,000 acres (20 square miles) of the south Dorset countryside, including five miles of the Jurassic Coast.

It is home to the iconic Durdle Door, a limestone arch created by erosion from the sea that caused the hole through the middle of it. It is one of Dorset’s most photographed landmarks.

The estate dates back as far as Doomsday times in the 11th century and beyond, and, since 1641, it has been owned and managed by the Weld family.

Part of the estate is a working farm with more than 25,000,000 litres of milk being produced each year and many of it is sold to Marks & Spencer.

Image Credit: Mark Simons.