Our Travels: Jurassic Coast, England

When they are not busy writing, World Words writers and editors are out and about exploring places all over the world. After all, they are travel writers – the name’s a giveaway. The Our Travels blog series is where writers get to share their experiences and adventures with you. So far, they’ve covered destinations as many and varied as Portugal, Canada, Japan and Australia. So, if you’re looking for travel inspiration, you’ve come to the right place.

This month, it’s the turn of World Words contributor Jennifer. Just before corona-lockdown, she spent a few weeks exploring the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO-listed stretch of coastline spanning Dorset and East Devon in the south of England. Read on to see how she discovered that you don’t need to go far from home to have an adventure…

The crescent-shaped beach of Lulworth Cove, just one of many stretches of sand along the Jurassic Coast.

Why I went to the Jurassic Coast
I was looking for an affordable destination by the sea where I could relax and get back to nature. I had heard that the Jurassic Coast had excellent beaches and hiking trails, which was enough to entice me. The fact the coastline was 200 million years old, and was once a huge tropical sea, was really the cherry on the cake. I started reading captivating stories about how people had uncovered entire dinosaur skeletons on the beach. Suitably intrigued, and with the fanciful idea of hunting for fossils and dinosaurs myself, I arranged a three-week trip to the region.

My highlight of the trip
If I have to pick one highlight from my travels along the Jurassic Coast, it was the four-mile walk alone along the South West Coast Path from Lulworth Cove. This stretch of coastline dates back hundreds of millions of years, and you have the sense that you’re walking on ancient land, especially with the astonishing sight of dramatic grey and white mottled cliffs. I climbed up Bindon Hill, a 170-metre-high, vertigo-inducing hill. Below, the yachts moored in the bay looked tiny, and the sea was a brilliant turquoise blue. I felt as though I was hiking in Greece. Feeling the sun on my face, I was reminded that all I need to be happy is fresh air, sunlight, water and beautiful surroundings.

What else I love about the Jurassic Coast
I loved seeking out quiet places to swim, like Ringsted Bay, where I had to navigate my way around tiny, bobbing fishing boats, and Church Ope Cove, a secret cove on the Isle of Portland, accessible via an ancient graveyard.

Another high point was the food and drink, which really exceeded my expectations. I discovered some fabulous seafood restaurants, including the Crab House Café on Chesil Beach and Hix Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis. The pubs were good too, with locally brewed beers on tap and plenty of chatty people and their dogs.

While there are many pleasant towns along the Jurassic Coast, I especially loved Lyme Regis, which has a pretty harbour and is a sheltered spot for kayaking and paddleboarding. And of course, I loved my fossil hunting trip – looking for spiralling ammonites and star-shaped sea lilies on Charmouth beach was both fascinating and fun.

A view of pretty Lyme Regis from the harbour, known locally since the 14th century as ‘the Cobb’.

Why you should go
In good weather, the Jurassic Coast is an excellent beach destination, with miles of sand and pristine blue-green water. Kids will enjoy it here, and it is educational too; going fossil hunting and visiting the great local museums will help them to get interested in history and geology. If you are a watersports kind of person – or have ever wanted to become one – there’s no better place to try a whole host of activities from kayaking to coasteering.

How you can visit
You can reach the Jurassic Coast easily by bus, train or car. By train, the South Western Railway line connects Weymouth to London Waterloo. Great Western Railways connects Weymouth to Bristol. National Express coaches run between Weymouth and Victoria Coach station in London. If you’re driving, the journey takes around three hours. And once you are here, ‘hop on, hop off’ buses stop all along the coast between Poole and Axminster.

World Words writers have written plenty of England travel content, and they regularly write about the great outdoors too; read some of our stuff here. Follow us on Twitter for the latest tourism news and travel titbits.

– Article and photography by Jennifer Hudson.

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