Gramping at Lullworth Cove and Durdle Door

Gramping at Lullworth Cove and Durdle Door

First there was camping.  Then someone decided that was too primitive, fancied it up a bit and invented ‘glamping’.  Well, I’ve just invented a new type of holiday (it’s an old type really, but keep using the new name and no-one will notice).  I have invented ‘gramping’.  Gramping is when you take your kids to visit their grandparents and everyone has a lovely time together, without once needing to remember how to assemble a tent, spend the night shivering in a sleeping bag, or trek through the dark at 2am to the toilet block.

This bank holiday weekend we went gramping and, as well as the great time spent with my folks who kindly put us up (and put up with us) we also had a day out to the Dorset coastline.  Toby is currently into geology in a big way, so following on from fossil hunting at Bracklesham Bay the previous Monday, Lulworth cove seemed like the ideal place to look at how rocks have been folded and eroded to create coastal features.  This used to be part of my old stomping ground when I worked down the road at a field centre at Osmington Bay, so it was really exciting to be able to introduce my own children to a place that I had guided so many other kids around.  The geology of the area is really interesting, there’s a link here for more information.

Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove on a bank holiday weekend may seem like madness given how popular a destination it is, but one of the benefits of none of us being particularly late sleepers is that you can get in and out of tourist destinations before most people have arrived by coach, or finished brunch in the nearby caravan parks and hotels.

We started off at Lulworth itself, parking for the day in the car park which fills rapidly to bursting point if you’re not quick.  We admired the little cottages and then the kids saw the cove itself ‘WOW!’ gasped Ollie ‘I thought it was going to be boring, just sea, but that is amazing!’.

Our kids, you see, had never seen crystal clear sea – the sea near us is all highly turbid, like a mysterious brown soup.  Ollie kept

Getting ready to head up the hill
Getting ready to head up the hill

shouting out that it was a tropical sea (at around 12 degrees C it had the look but not the temperature) and was fascinated to see seaweed fronds floating in the clear waters – the only seaweed he’s seen is the odd desiccated bits washed up on the strand line.  I expected the boys to be interested in the curious way the rock layers twist and fold, but hadn’t considered how astonishing it would be to them just to see clear water.


After exploring the cove, we headed over the cliffs to the sea arch of Durdle Door.  The walk was breath taking (literally on the steepest parts) and I was glad of my hiking pole to help me down the steps to the beach as it’s been ten years, two kids and a dodgy knee since I last navigated them.  We continued the lesson on coastal formations, looking at the arch and the caves, then devoted the rest of our time to paddling and making ‘sand’ castles in the fine gravel of the beach.  I think we have a different definition of hot weather though as we were sunning ourselves in shorts and splashing in the sea, while bemused looking tourists passed us wrapped up in winter coats, hats and scarfs!

Durdle Door
Durdle Door

Around lunch time we headed back up the steps and along the coast to Lulworth as the crowds finally descended.  We enjoyed a look at the visitor centre displays, including more information on how the cove was formed and a peek at some colossal ammonites found nearby.  Finally I bought a couple more geology guides from the gift shop for Toby’s folder, plus a cheeky ice-cream each.  It couldn’t have been nicer that day and for anyone with an interest in geology or geography it is a must-see destination.


Notes: There are toilets at Lulworth and at Durdle Door, and car parking at both.  Lulworth is reasonably accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs, Durdle Door is not accessible to wheeled vehicles due to the very steep path and steps to the beach.  The path between the two is  mostly fenced but vigilance still needed if you have kids or dogs with you.  Usual vigilance of children near water also required.  Finally, it’s tempting to sit at the base of the cliffs, but due to occasional rock falls this is extremely hazardous and caution should be exercised, including staying right away from the base of the cliffs.  I have no affiliation with the Lulworth Estate, links are for information only, all images and opinions are my own.



  • Plutonium Sox

    17th April 2017 at 9:52 pm Reply

    Oh I love the term gramping haha! These look like lovely places to visit. We’re hoping to head back down in that direction this summer so we’ll have to check them out. I’ll let you know when we go and see if we can coordinate!

    • admin

      18th April 2017 at 7:53 pm Reply

      We love staying with them as it’s a chance to have a proper catch up, it sucks being hours away from them. Definitely recommend Lulworth, Durdle Door may be a bit of a stretch for Lia’s little legs though 🙂 It was lovely to see you at the weekend, definitely calls for more random hanging out on beaches!

  • Becky Willoughby

    18th April 2017 at 7:31 pm Reply

    We have been gramping too and my parents camp in style! Lulworth looks a beautiful spot to explore.

    • admin

      18th April 2017 at 7:49 pm Reply

      We’re very lucky to have them, the kids are always super excited to see them 🙂

  • Fiona Cambouropoulos

    18th April 2017 at 8:46 pm Reply

    I love your new holiday heading. We have been Gramping since the kids were born! In fact until we discovered “cousining” at their house in France it was the only holidays we did as a family. There was no way I was camping with 6 small kids and we couldn’t fly as it was too expensive and we didn’t have enough adults! Gramping in Sussex has served as well as Dorset has for you. I’ve never been to Lullworth cove or Turtle Door, but I’ve seen so many Country Kids posts from there over the years I feel like I have visited. You capture the beauty of the location so well in your photos and it’s clear the kids were having the best time in those clear waters. Three cheers for Gramping!

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    • admin

      20th April 2017 at 7:37 am Reply

      Thanks for commenting, being with family makes it all so much more special 🙂

  • otisandus

    18th April 2017 at 9:22 pm Reply

    Ha ha I absolutely love Gramping! We visited Lullworth cove last year – isn’t it just beautiful! you have shared some really lovely photos.#Countrykids

    • admin

      20th April 2017 at 7:36 am Reply

      Even if we never left the house, Gramping would still be awesome as we live too far away and really miss them 🙂 Thanks for commenting x

  • Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    19th April 2017 at 12:54 pm Reply

    I love the term “gramping” and this is a beautiful location for it. I’ve never been to Lulworth Cove but I’ve seen lots of photos of it and it looks stunning. Sounds like you all had a lovely time there 🙂 #countrykids

    • admin

      20th April 2017 at 7:35 am Reply

      It’s a lovely stretch of coastline. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Sian - The Mama Story

    19th April 2017 at 10:32 pm Reply

    Hahaha I totally misread it and was looking for the glamping part! Gorgeous photos and sounds like a lovely visit. I had a wonderful holiday in the area with my husband nearly 10 years ago, would be fab to go back with the kids now. We have a painting of Durdle Door in our sitting room too!

    • admin

      20th April 2017 at 7:35 am Reply

      Definitely worth a visit 🙂 Thanks for commenting x

  • Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope)

    20th April 2017 at 9:47 am Reply

    HAha I was thinking its a typo for glamping but I was wrong! Firstly you should register the copyright(?) for that name! Looks like a fun trip and made me miss camping! #countrykids

    • admin

      21st April 2017 at 8:56 am Reply

      Brilliant 🙂 Thanks for commenting x

  • Helena

    20th April 2017 at 12:03 pm Reply

    Hehe I’m very tempted by the sound of glamping. Not so sure about gramping mine tend to like relaxing on a beach more than sightseeing. #CountryKids

    • admin

      21st April 2017 at 8:56 am Reply

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Jo

    20th April 2017 at 6:04 pm Reply

    Beautiful day out – 2 of my favourites here. Love the gramping! #Countrykids

    • admin

      21st April 2017 at 8:55 am Reply

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • tracey at Mummyshire

    21st April 2017 at 12:24 am Reply

    Oh I love that – Gramping! Classic, I’m absolutely going to remember than when my kids go off with their grandparents in the summer! How lovely to spend quality time together and to be able to avoid the crowds until you did. There are some gorgeous, ‘tropical’ almost as your Ollie would say, parts of the UK and it’s so lovely to explore them with the kids. I agree, my children don’t know that the sea is as glorious here as part of the continent – allbeit a little bit colder!
    Popping across from #CountryKids = sorry I’m a bit late with commenting

    • admin

      21st April 2017 at 8:54 am Reply

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Anne

    22nd April 2017 at 12:42 pm Reply

    We will be down that way next month and I can’t wait. I can remember many years ago sitting in a pub garden with my family at the top of Durdle Door. I wouldn’t be able to make it down to the beach now, thanks for the information, but I’m happy to know I’ll be able to visit Lulworth.

    • admin

      25th April 2017 at 10:04 am Reply

      Lulworth is by far the more accessible of the two. If you head round to Studland bay that’s really good too – a wooden walkway from the carpark nearest the chain ferry makes getting onto the beach much easier if you have mobility issues or a pram, then you’re on to sandy beaches and clear shallow sea for paddling 🙂