Lulworth Cove and South Dorset Cottages
Fishermen have plied their trade from Lulworth Cove for centuries and still catch bass, conger, pollack and wrasse, even lobster there. The area and its immediate surroundings have a long history of smuggling and local folklore is rich with tales of desperate brigands and their running battles with the customs men and militia sent to catch them.
There’s also a rich literary history and the poet Keats spent his last hours on British soil at Lulworth while Rupert Brooke wrote poems there to his lost love and Bertrand Russell and various lovers outraged the locals by skinny-dipping!
The nearby village of Chaldon Herring was a writers’ hotspot in the 1920s and 1930s as home to the Powys brothers and sisters – Gertrude, Theodore, Llewellyn, John Cooper and Philippa – while the political sympathies and love affair of Sylvia Warner and Valentine Ackland who lived at West Chaldon aroused the attentions of MI5.
In another local literary link TE Lawrence – the famous Lawrence of Arabia – lived at Clouds Hill while stationed at Bovington Camp close to where he was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1935.
What is there to see and do in Lulworth Cove and South Dorset?
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 96-mile Jurassic Coast is the equal of the Taj Mahal, Serengeti National Park, Machu Pichu and the Great Barrier Reef. It spans 185 million years of the Earth’s history and encompasses geological wonders, stunning scenery, lost villages, beautiful bathing waters and rich marine and wildlife.
Many of the Jurassic Coast’s defining features can be found in its central Dorset section east and west of Lulworth Cove, itself considered one of the best examples of the landform in the world. Lulworth Castle is well worth a visit at any time of the year but in the summer it is home to two of Britain’s most famous music and culture festivals – Bestival in August and its boutique sister fest Camp Bestival in July.
A short walk over the hill from Lulworth Cove is Stair Hole, an infant cove that shows what its more familiar neighbour might have looked like several hundred thousand years ago. The so-called ‘Lulworth Crumple’ of folded limestone strata can also be seen half a mile or so further along the coast just beyond Man O’ War Bay at Durdle Door, the awe-inspiring rock arch that has become something of a poster image for the Jurassic Coast. With its sheltered bay it is also popular for picnicking, swimming and sunbathing.
The South West Coast Path passes to the north and offers terrific views as well as a route to Worbarrow Bay, which was requisitioned for military training in December 1943 and evacuated along with the villages of Povington, Egliston and, most famously, Tyneham where exhibitions in St Mary’s Church and the village school tell the history of the valley and the stories of the families who lived there can be read in many of their former homes.
Beyond the shale ledges of Broad Bench, beloved by surfers, and the great slope of Brandy Bay lies Kimmeridge Bay overlooked by Clavell Tower, a Grade II Listed folly. Over the years the low clay cliffs and rocky shore have yielded countless fossils many of previously unknown species, which can be seen at The Etches Collection museum.
For a more general view of the history and geology of the area the handsome market town of Wareham is home to an excellent little museum. Although most of the town was destroyed by fire in 1762, it was rebuilt to the original street pattern and with its pretty quayside and town centre shops, pubs and restaurants it continues to thrive to this day.
Where can I eat and drink in Lulworth Cove and South Dorset?
As you’d expect the area is rich with tantalising food from land and sea – the local beef and lamb is exceptional and there’s no shortage of fresh seafood.
Head chef John Box has established Limestone as one of Dorset’s finest restaurants with meat, fish and vegetables supplied by small local producers – indeed, when available, the lobsters come from Lulworth Cove itself!
As much a part of Lulworth life as the rocks themselves, the Lulworth Cove Inn is one of the most popular pubs in the portfolio of local brewery Hall and Woodhouse; and right on the beach is the Boat Shed Café with its fresh seafood lunches and mouth watering crab sandwiches. Brody’s café specialises in seafood and also offers a takeaway service and the menu at the historic Castle Inn is packed with quality pub dishes.
Just a short drive inland and you’ll also find first rate pub food at the Sailor’s Return at Chaldon Herring; the Weld Arms in East Lulworth; Red Lion at Winfrith Newburgh, Countryman Inn, East Knighton and, near Wool, the Seven Stars Inn, which is deservedly lauded for its hearty portions.
Lighter bites and home-cooked breakfasts are a speciality at the popular Holme For Gardens nursery and restaurant at East Holme, while the picture postcard village of Kimmeridge is home to the family-run Clavell’s restaurant that makes the most of local seasonal produce to enhance a fine reputation that reaches far beyond the immediate area.
In Wareham, the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck, you’ll find an excellent choice of eateries from the top notch Anglo-European dishes of the Abbots Cellar at the Priory Hotel and the riverside location of the Old Granary, to the home cooked foodie haven that is The Salt Pig and the charming community cafe Not Just Sundaes near the Quay in an historic church.Take a little time to browse through our selection of holiday cottages in South Dorset. We’re certain you’ll find something just right for a truly special Dorset holiday
Due to high demand from our guests, we have recently started looking for properties in this area. If you have a property and are considering letting, please get in touch with Claire, our property manager on 01929 448694 or email email@example.com