Things to do on the Jurassic Coast
Dorset looks like a postcard — exactly how the English countryside is meant to be. The county is overflowing with beautiful sights, both natural and artificial. Perhaps the most famous of these is the world-famous Jurassic Coast, a massive stretch of coastline running from East Devon to Dorset on the English Channel — about 155km long — that has been designated as a World Natural Heritage Site.
On a visit to the Jurassic Coast you can travel back in time to the age of dinosaurs and remember the history of the earth at several scenic destinations. However, it’s not all history, this part of Dorset is also full of opportunities to explore the coast and try water sports. We’ve compiled a few of our favourite Jurassic Coast things to do to give you some ideas of how to spend time on your trip.
1. Marvel at the magnificent geological wonders
The stunning Jurassic Coast is replete with rocky outcrops that offer scientists a “window to geological time” spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. This is what makes this coast so special. It is a time capsule that contains 185 million years of Earth's history. Cliff-top paths offer views of some of England's most spectacular geological landmarks, including Durdle Door, a large limestone arch near Lulworth, and Old Harry Rocks, three chalk formations that mark the most eastern point of the Jurassic Coast. You simply can’t miss out on taking the perfect Instagram snap on your trip to the South West.
2. Kayak the coast
Of course, walking the dramatic clifftops is one of the best ways to experience the Jurassic Coast. It goes without saying that that is the best way to take it all in at your own leisurely pace. However, there are more exciting options on offer. Observing the unusual rock formations and towering cliffs from the sea itself is a magical, unforgettable experience.
How to get this view? — we hear you ask. Why, by kayak of course! You can rent your own and explore solo, or otherwise reserve a place on one of the numerous kayaking tours that operate on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast.
3. Take to the waves on board a boat
Hop aboard a RIB (Rigid inflatable boat) and whizz along the Jurassic Coast with the wind in your hair or enjoy a more sedate Jurassic Coast cruise. You can photograph the iconic coastline with the best view in the house while the children take selfies for their friends.
You can hire boats in most of the larger towns along the Jurassic Coast and most are happy to take kids over the age of 5, so it’s a great family excursion.
4. Go hunting for fossils
It’s called the Jurassic Coast for a reason - this is one of the most fossil rich areas of the UK and it’s where fossil-hunting was born. In the first half of the 19th Century, local palaeontologist Mary Anning collected and sold fossils from the beaches in Lyme Regis and became famous after discovering the first complete ichthyosaur skeleton in England.
Large fossils and the remains of sea creatures like plesiosaurs are still found today — though it’s more likely that you’ll find an ammonite! There are many great fossil hunting spots along the Jurassic Coast such as Monmouth Beach in Lyme Regis, but take care as fossil hunting is not permitted on every beach.
5. Try “Coasteering”
For a more adrenaline-pumping way to explore the Jurassic Coast, why not try a spot of coasteering? There are many companies in the area which offer a whole new perspective on the rocks and cliffs — by getting you to throw yourself off them!
Climb along cliffs, jump into the waves, and explore caves and tunnels that you’d never see any other way in the safe hands of coasteering experts. There’s no more action-packed way to discover the Jurassic Coast.