Durdle Door

A visit to Durdle Door is a must-see for any trip to Dorset and can easily be combined with a trip to the nearby Lulworth Cove (2 mile drive or 1 mile walking from Lulworth Cove car park which takes around 30 minutes). Durdle Door is probably the World’s most famous rock arch and is open to the public all year round but access to the beach is not permitted after 10pm or dusk so late night barbecues, parties or sleeping on the beach are not permitted.

Sat Nav postcode BH20 5PU (Google map) – entrance to the car park is through the Durdle Door Holiday Park.

Official website: https://www.lulworth.com/visit/places-to-visit/durdle-door/

This is a panoramic view of the famous Durdle Door arch and the beach.
Durdle Door arch and beach. The rock out to sea on the right is known as The Bull. It’s only 130m out and looks like an attractive target for many swimmers but sometimes, depending on the tides, a rip current runs between the rock and the beach and it’s easy to run into difficulty and people have died attempting it. There are no lifeguards patrolling this busy beach so be careful and don’t get over confident about your swimming abilities.

Just like Lulworth Cove, access to the beach is free to the public but there is hardly any free parking in the area so you’ll have to pay for car parking. There is a car park at the top of the cliffs (details and charges included further down the page) however it should be noted that the walk down from the car park to the beach is very uneven and steep in places. It is not suitable for wheelchairs or people with walking difficulties and the last section of the path down to the beach is very steep (see photos below).

Another panoramic view of the beach with the chalky cliffs of Bat's Head in the distance
A sweeping view of the beach. The chalky headland in the distance is known as Bat’s Head.

There are public toilets and refreshments at the entrance to the car park but there are no facilities at the beach itself – no toilets, no ice cream kiosk and no lifeguard services. The water also gets deep and cold very quickly so overall Durdle Door looks fantastic but may not be suitable for some people particularly families with young kids.

This is a geological map of the Durdle Door arch showing the 5 types of rock exposed. Each was formed underwater and later tilted as continents collided.
Information board showing the geology of the region. As you can imagine Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove are popular destinations for school geography trips and you’ll frequently see groups of students wandering around with clipboards.

Durdle Door Parking Charges

Durdle Door has become particularly popular during the summer and the car park is often full on sunny days and at weekends.

Before arriving we recommend that you check out the official Lulworth Estate website for up-to-date information about car parking charges and details. https://lulworth.com/visit/

There is now alternative car parking at Newlands Meadow which is a bit further away from Durdle Door but the car park opens at 6am which is great for photographers and early morning walkers. Same price as above and same web li k for details.

0-4 hours£5
All day (until 9pm or dusk)£10
Motorhomes & oversized vehicles£15
Standard pay-on-arrival car park charges subject to charge. Info checked and updated on 06 March 2023

It is also useful to note that tickets purchased using the pay-on-arrival machines at Durdle Door Standard car parking are valid at Newlands Meadow, Lulworth Cove and Lulworth Castle.

Durdle Door car park is located at the top of the cliffs. Access to the car park is through the Holiday Park
Durdle Door car park sat nav postcode BH20 5PU (Google map) – For car park charges see above

Warning to Swimmers

Every year there are stories of swimmers getting into difficulties at Durdle Door and there have been several deaths.

Following the death of a swimmer in June 2020 the Poole Police posted on Facebook:

“Durdle Door is beautiful, but please do not underestimate this location. Whilst the water looks inviting, once eight metres from shore, the shelf drops into deep water. Currents, rips and changing tides are hugely prevalent here. There are no lifeguards on duty at this location. If you enter the water further than eight metres from shore you are placing yourself at significant risk. We urge visitors to think before they act. Help is a greater distance away than you think.”

The beach lies on the South West Coast Path. It is a 30 minute walk east along the path to Lulworth Cove
The beach lies on the South West Coast Path. When leaving the car park just follow the path straight ahead to the beach for 1/4 mile. If you want to walk to Lulworth Cove it’s only 1 mile away (even though the sign says 3/4) and takes about 30 minutes.
Photo showing the path leading from the car park down to the beach. It's quite a steep gravel path uneven in places so not suitable for some people.
The steep walk from the car park down to the beach. You can just see the top of the arch in the distance. On the horizon to the left you can see the Isle of Portland. Portland is joined to the mainland by Chesil Beach. Portland is the southernmost point of the county of Dorset. On the horizon to the right you can see Weymouth.
A view of the headland from the car park. Man O War Bay is on the left of the headland whilst Durdle Door is on the right.
Durdle Door is to the right of the headland. The steep path from the headland down to the beach on the left leads down to Man O War Bay.
A view of the arch and the beach. Jurassic Tours offer kayak tours from Lulworth Cove
The last section of path down to the beach is very steep. There are supposed to be some steps but these are frequently impassable due to landslides. Not suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs, young kids, or people with difficulty walking.
There's an excellent walk along the coats to White Nothe. This photo is a view looking back towards the beach
There are some great walks starting at the car park. This photo was taken on a walk to White Nothe along the cliff tops. Stunning views but steep in places.

Related pages: Man O War Bay | Lulworth Cove | West Lulworth Village | Lulworth Castle