Things to See and Do on the Jurassic Coast
From fossil walks and boat trips to kayaking and discovering dinosaurs, there is plenty to see and do during your visit to the Jurassic Coast.
Millions of years ago this area was a swampy tropical sea, home to wonderful sea creatures like Ammonites and fearsome marine reptiles such as Pliosaurs - the top underwater predator of their day. Along the coast you'll find lots of ways to find out more about Dorset's pre-historic past, when dinosaurs ruled the earth.
This stretch of coastline provides some of the most jaw dropping scenery and views that will live long in your heart, and is a favourite destination for walkers and nature lovers alike. So put on your walking boots and explore this fascinating and inspiring wonder of the natural world.
Britain's longest national trail
The South West Coast Path follows the entire length of the Jurassic Coast and carries on around the coastline through Devon and Cornwall to Minehead in Somerset.
There are lots of suggested walking routes for day walks or longer, whatever your ability and fitness level. Here are a few ideas to get you started - fossil hunting at Charmouth and enjoying a riverside walk in Lyme Regis.
Views from the water
One of the best ways to see the Jurassic Coast is from the water. From this angle you can see the majestic cliffs, layers of geological rock and impressive iconic landmarks such as Old Harry Rocks and Durdle Door.
There are lots of boat trips and rib rides along the coast or you can use your own power and go on a guided kayak tour.
Fossil hunters big and small will have great fun looking for your own piece of history on the beaches at Lyme Regis and Charmouth. Fossils of Ammonites and Belemnites are often found at the shoreline and are easy to find once you know what you're looking for! You don't need to buy geologist hammers (and many beaches don't allow their use anyway), all you need is patience.
See the fossils in their collection or take part in a guided fossil walk at Charmouth Heritage Centre. Entry to the Centre is free and there are offers hands-on displays and interactive computers to keep all ages entertained.
Lyme Regis Museum has fossils galore in their new interactive geology gallery and information about Lyme’s most famous fossil hunter, Mary Anning. They also offer guided fossil walks.
At Kimmeridge, the Museum of Jurassic Marine Life is home to a collection of fossils all found and preserved by one man - Dr Steve Etches MBE. He even discovered new species which have been named after him!
Walk in the footsteps of giants
The Jurassic Coast is a living breathing history walk. You'll find evidence of times gone by, when giants roamed the earth and you might just find your own fossil.
You can literally walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs near Swanage. At Spyway Dinosaur Footprints there is over 100 fossilised tracks, which are preserved in a flat layer of rock. There is an information board telling the story of the footprints and the dinosaurs that made them.
Dino days out
For families, the Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester will excite any young dinosaur fan with life sized replicas and lots of interactive fun. See and touch their real fossil displays including dinosaur heads, teeth, eggs and even poo!
Explore inland at Dorset’s newest dinosaur attraction – The World of Dinosaur Roar at Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park. Perfect for pre-schoolers, you’ll now find dinosaur characters alongside their Woodland Walk.
It is vital you keep yourself and others safe while visiting the coast, please take a moment to read the information below.
- The risk of landslides and rock falls increase following severe weather and sea conditions. Residents and visitors to the county are encouraged to follow safety advice along the coastline as landslides and rock falls can occur quickly and without warning. Tides have also re-shaped and stripped beaches around the coast meaning it is easier to be cut off by the incoming tides. More information about landslides and rock falls can be found on the Jurassic Coast website.
- Walking along coastal paths may be muddy and slippery in places - be sure to stay on official routes and follow warning signs at all times.
- Before heading off on a fossil hunt, find out where to go and what to take with you.
- Why not view our stunning video footage of the Dorset Coastline, truly amazing!
- Explore the Jurassic Coast by bus! The hop-on hop-off Jurassic Coaster bus is a perfect way to visit one of the Jurassic Coast attractions, walk a section of the South West Coast Path or just sit back and marvel at the views from the top deck.