The best of the Jurassic Coast by motorhome or campervan

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Heading to the South coast in your motorhome/camper and looking for some truly stunning landscape, typical British villages, a whole bucket load of history and a very laid back feel. Maybe the Jurassic coast is the place for you?

In this article we’ll look at all the best places to visit along the Jurassic coast as well as were to stay to see as much as possible by motorhome or campervan.

What is the Jurassic Coast!?

Given the fabled accolade of World Heritage Site in 2001, the Jurassic Coast spans 95 miles along the South coast of England from Exmouth in the West to Studland Bay in the East and is riddled with 180 million years of history.

As well as being collectively, the most visually stunning place me and Agne have been to in England, the Jurassic Coastline also holds evidence of the whole Mesozoic era of the earths history. It’s one of the few places on earth where so much of the earths history is preserved in one place.

The cliffs and rocks here contain a record stretching all the way back to the 252 million years to the Triassic era, when the coastline was a baking desert. Fast forward 50 million years and into the Jurassic era where the baking desert is now below the sea level and is a tropical sea.

Fast forward another 60 million years to the start of the cretaceous era where the sea levels receded and the tropical sea turned into a forest. The cliffs and rocks here still retain fossils of different creatures that lived throughout the different era.

Well that’s the gist of it but if you want to know more about how the Jurassic coast was formed check out this article here.

The best of the Jurassic Coast by motorhome/campervan

Now that you have an idea of what the Jurassic Coast is all about, let’s have a look at the what me and Agne consider to be the best bits. We’ve spent the summer working on the South Coast pretty much bang on the centre of the Jurassic Coast so we’ve had plenty of time to explore it in our motorhome.

While the Jurassic Coast gets plenty of attention from hikers spending between 5-10 days to hike the length of the Jurassic coast me and Agne have been too busy with work so explored it as much as possible by motorhome one section at a time.

Although we explored MOST of the Jurassic Coast below will only include our favourite parts of the coastline.

I’ve broken down the route into our 8 favourite sections. Each section will comprise of:

  • Where we parked up for the day.
  • The route we took
  • Plenty of photos
  • Where to spend the night

Beer to Branscombe

The Beer to Branscombe section is without a doubt one of the best bits of the whole Jurassic Coastline. The views and terrain are just stunning.

Where to park:

beer car park

We parked at the Clifftop Long Stay Car Park in Beer:

Address: Common Hill, East Devon Beer EX12 34Q

Coordinates: 50.693714 – 3.094926

Getting to the car park itself isn’t the easiest affair as you have to drive through some fairly narrow village roads and up some very steep hills to get there.

Once there however, the car park is huge with plenty of parking space for motorhomes. A word of advice is that trying to find a flat place to park is a near impossible task. Not so good if you’ve got a fridge full of food or you plan on cooking your dinner before setting out to explore.

Parking cost is £4 for 24 hours but there is no overnight camping allowed.

The route:

Beer to brandscome map

Obviously us leaving the motorhome in Beer means that we had to walk to Branscombe and then back to Beer to pick up the motorhome. Me never wanting to walk the same path twice we chose to start with the low road.

This equated to 4.5kms there and 3.9kms back.

walking from eer to branscome
walking from beer to branscombe

The path starts on top of the cliff but soon descends between the cliff and some rocky out crops. This was perhaps our favourite part of the whole Jurassic coast.

walking from beer to branscombe
walking from branscombe to beer
looking back to Branscome while walking to Beer

Where to spend the night:

The nearest campsite to Beer is the Beer Head Caravan Park.

Lyme Regis to Charmouth

One of the busiest and most famous parts of the route. The cliffs just east of Lyme Regis is where you’ll find most of the fossil hunters as the cliffs and rocks on the beach are awash with ammonite and ichthyosaur fossils.

Lyme Regis is also one of the most popular places to use as a base for exploring the Jurassic Coast. It’s also worth planning enough time in you trip to spend a day in Lyme Regis as we absolutely love the character of the town.

Where to park:

We parked up at Holmbush long stay car park:

Address: Pound Street, Lyme Regis DT7 3HX

Coordinates: 50.723711 – 2.941104

The car park itself it located at the top the hill just above the Lyme Regis town centre. It’s pretty flat and has all day parking for motorhomes at £2 but no overnight camping allowed.

To get to this car park without driving through the narrow streets of Lyme Regis we recommend that you stay on the A35 and turn onto Lyme Road (B3156) through Uplyme.

The route:

On this leg of the Jurassic coast we set off from the beach front at Lyme Regis and walked around 2.5 kms along the beach to Charmouth. It’s flat and easy going, well apart from walking on sand does seem to take it out of you.

walking from lyme regis to charmouth

This is where all the fossils are to be found. Everyday there’s hundreds of people armed with tiny hammers trying to find the perfect ammonite.

Be sure to check the tides before walking this route as it is possible to be cut off by the tide.

walking from lyme regis to charmouth

On the way back we decided to walk the long way around along Axminster road and then onto Timber Hill.

walking from charmouth to lyme regis

Where to spend the night:

On this leg of the journey we decided to stay at the Hook Farm campsite. It’s certainly not the cheapest but the terraced land give the park some real character. Much better than those flat, boring, everything is square campsites.

Eype to Golden Cap

Parking up in Eype we explored the Jurassic Coast both East and West. The word “Eype” means steep hill and with these massive hills East and West they certainly aren’t kidding.

Eype is a small village that is said to be one of the most beautiful villages in West Dorset. Full of history and thatched cottages, it’s not hard to see why.

Where to park:

rest stop at eype

When we visit Eype we choose to park up at the free parking/truck stop just of the A35. It’s about half an hour walk from this truck stop to the coastline but it’s a pretty nice walk so we don’t mind too much.

Address: Eype, Symondsbury, Bridport, DT6 6AS

Coordintes: 50.726494 – 2.778129

Eype beach car park

If you’re not up for the 30 minute stroll to the coast then there is a car park right on the sea front but getting there in anything other than the smallest motorhome could be a little tight.

Address: SW coast path Bridport, DT6 6AL

Coordinates: 50.717634 – 2.784496

This parking spot has ample room for motorhomes and costs £4 per day but once again, no overnight camping.

The route:

eype to golden cap map

This part of the journey consisted of 6.4kms from Eype to Golden Cap and 5.6 on the way back. On the way to Golden Cap we walked over the tops of Thorncombe Beacon and Ridge Cliff.

the beach at eype
walking from eype to golden cap
walking from eype to golden cap

The views from here are spectacular all the way. Just a shame as good as the views are the hills are steep. Ok it’s not like trekking through the Himalayas but it’s still pretty tiring especially when it’s 25C+.

walking from eype to golden cap
walking from eype to golden cap
wooden sign post golden cap
view from golden cap

Seatown is absolutely idyllic. The perfect place to stop for some food/picnic.

seatown next to the sea
Seatown

And the view from the Golden Cap/highest peak (627ft) on the South coast of England.

view from the top of golden cap

Where to spend the night:

We spent the night at the above mentioned truck stop/free car park. It’s completely free, there is public toilets and even an onsite cafe that’s open every day.

The only stipulation is that you can only stay there for 24 hours and there is no return within 1 hour. With that said we have been there a few times over the months and there is always the same 2 caravans with no cars there. I’m guessing they’re working locally and choosing to save themselves a few quid.

No one would bat an eyelid if you stayed 2 or 3 nights….

If you’re not really one for “Wild camping” then the nearest campsite is:

Eype House Caravan and Camping Park

Address: Mount Lane, Eype, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6AL.

Coordinates: 50.717634 – 2.784496

Eype to West Bay

Where to park:

Same as above.

The route:

eype to west bay map

Once again starting from our free camping spot in Eype, this time we headed East for 3.8kms to West Bay. We decided to stay on the lower ground and on the beach for this leg.

walk along the beach to west bay
walking down the beach to west bay

Hardly anyone else walking this path. At some points we had the whole beach to ourselves.

looking back towards eype
west bay harbour
west bay harbour
the beach at west bay

Where to spend the night:

Same as above.

West bay to Burton Bradstock

West Bay/Bridport Harbour is a really lively fishing town with plenty going on, it was even the place that they filmed the BBC series “Broadchurch”. Situated at the mouth of the River Brit, the cliffs just to the east of West Bay really are something else.

Towering 140ft into the air, the cliffs at West Bay tell the storey of falling sea levels 175 million years ago.

Where to park:

car park at west bay

Parking in West Bay is easy. Huge, empty, flat, in the centre and cheap, what more can you want!?

Address: Station Road, West Bay, Bridport DT6 4EW.

Coordinates: 50.710786 -2.758788

Parking here costs 50p an hour or £2 for all day. Again, no overnight camping.

The route:

Once again we decided to take the low road West Bay to Burton Bradstock and return over the tops. The route was 2.9kms on the way there and 2.8kms on the way back.

Pretty much the whole way to Burton Bradstock we were shadowed by this impressive if not a little crumbly cliff.

cliffs at west bay

Burton Bradstock is a very picturesque and quite village. You should definitely check it out if you get chance.

the village of burton bradstock

If you can only go one way between these two, we would definitely recommend going over the tops as the views are amazing.

heading back to west bay
walking from burton bradstock to west bay
walking on top of the hill at west bay

A little bit more work but definitely worth it….

climbing back down the hill with sea view
When the 5 second timer just isn’t enough but we like it.
caravan park by the sea
view of west bay from the top of the hill

Where to spend the night:

The day we went to West Bay the local campsite (West Bay Holiday Park) was fully booked so we headed once again back to Eype where there’s always a free place to spend the night.

Abbotsbury

A picturesque parish of only 481 inhabitants, Abbotsbury is set back around one mile from the English Channel. Abbotsbury is smack bang in the middle of 18 mile long Chesil beach which was formed at the end of the last ice age as sea levels rose rapidly and left behind millions of tonnes of shingle.

Chesil beach is one of the largest shingle structures on earth.

twisty country road
Even the roads around here are amazing.

Where to park:

motorhome in middle of field in abbotsbury

When it comes to long stay parking for a motorhome in Abbotsbury there’s only really one place to park and it doesn’t have a name, well not that we know of. This one was a nice little find on the park4night app.

It’s a quaint little car park that instead of a pay and display meter still has the old “man in a wooden shack” to take your money. He’s a nice chap and only charges £3.50 for all day parking or £2 after 3pm. You can even stay here overnight.

Just get in early as there are only a few spaces big enough for a motorhome that are flat and if you don’t get one then like us you’ll be in the wonky overflow car park.

Address: 3 Rodden Row, Abbotsbury, Weymouth DT3 4YL

Coordinates: 50.665116 – 2.597563

The route:

The route we took was up to St Catherines Chapel and then onto chesil beach and back to the parking spot.

sign post to st catherines chapel
view over abbotsbury

The 20 minute hike up to St Catherines Chapel we certainly worth it.

view of a church on top of the hill abbotsbury

Chesil beach isn’t really somewhere you’d want to go swimming and to be fair they do warn against it as there are some really strong currents.

This place just makes you realise just how strong mother nature can be.

view of chesil beach
shingle dumped at the end of the last ice age.

Where to spend the night:

We spent the night in the car park mentioned above. We waited until one of the motorhomes moved off and within seconds we were in and flat 🙂

If you need more facilities than a half empty car park has to offer then the nearest campsite is the Portsham Dairy Farm Campsite.

Portland

Portland was one of those places on the map that me and Agne kept on saying one day we’ll go and check it out but in all honesty, for some reason we kept putting it off until the one of the last places.

Portland is a tied island of just 4 miles long by 1.7 miles wide and is only connected to the mainland by a barrier beach (Chesil Beach).

One thing is for sure the Portland coastline is stunning. Crystal clear turquoise water, rugged rocky outcrops, amazing views of Chesil Beach and less tourists. Portland reminded us of a Game Of Thrones set and is by far one of our favourite parts of the Jurassic Coast.

Where to park:

car park in portland

With Portland being so small it doesn’t really matter where you park especially if you plan on getting out and exploring it all. However, there are some really nice free parking places on Portland. It said no overnight parking but there were plenty of people that were.

We found this one overlooking Chesil Beach:

Address: New Ground, Portland DT5 1LQ

Coordinates: 50.55696 – 2.439245

The route:

portland walking route map

We headed to Portland’s West coast and stumbled upon this view of the English Channel and The Fleet divided by Chesil beach.

view of chesil beach from portland

Not long after we landed upon Tout Quarry Reserve and Sculpture Park. This place is definitely worth a look. An absolute maze of Portland stone with hidden sculptures. Hours of fun trying to locate them all.

portland stone quarry
boulders of portland stone.

We carried on until we got to Blacknor Fort. The fort itself isn’t much to see but that rugged coastline is. We kept on waiting to see Tirion Lannister pop up from behind a rock, glass of grog in one hand and some dragon glass in the other.

Where to spend the night:

We were out most of the day and on return the sun was going down and there were a couple of other motorhomes that looked like they had settled down for the night so we thought we would be cheeky and join them.

Although it said no overnight camping we weren’t disturbed and we were gone first thing in the morning.

If free camping isn’t your thing, the nearest campsite is Martleaves Farm Campsite.

Durdle Door

Durdle Door is a limestone outcrop which has been naturally eroded into an arch over thousands of years. According to my research, Durdle Door is privately owned by the Welds family who have been kind enough to open it to the public.

Kind enough or the clever business people that own the only nearby car park that charges motorhomes £15 to park there….

Where to park:

To get anywhere near Durdle Door with your motorhome there is only one place to park and that is the aptly named Durdle Door car park. At £15 regardless of whether you stay for 1 hour or 6 it certainly isn’t cheap. There’s no overnight parking here.

Address: Wareham DH20 5PU

Coordinates: 50.624139 – 2.26916

view of durdle door from top of hill

Where to spend the night:

When we were there looking for a pitch for the night it was middle of high season and Durdle Door Holiday Park wanted £60 for one night. I guess it comes as no surprise that we declined their offer of a patch of grass/gravel.

We decided to head back to the free place in Eype for the night as we had planned to head that way the next morning anyway. £60 richer.

When is the best time to visit the Jurassic Coast?

SUMMER!!!

After spending 7 months in the area we feel pretty well qualified to say when is best to explore the Jurassic coast. As always, it depends on what you’re looking for. Are you the type of person that love the hustle and bustle of the the tourist season or are you like us, travelling out of tourist season and hoping for some sunshine.

Obviously, as it’s England it’s not advisable to come in November as being on the coast the chances are it’ll be windy and wet most days. Same goes before April.

Outside of tourist season all the towns and villages along the Jurassic Coast are pretty sleepy slow paced places but once the school holidays hit, they are manic!

Numerous times we’ve been surprised at how quiet these towns have been on sunny June weekends. One nice Sunday morning we went to West Bay expecting the beach to be packed but it was completely dead. No more than 20 people on the beach.

On the other hand, you come anywhere near the Jurassic coast in between mid-July and the beginning of September and everything is jam packed. Getting a last minute booking into many of the campsites is a struggle. If you plan on coming in the summer holidays and wish to stay on decent campsites not a million miles away from the action book in advance.

To sum it up:

Don’t come too early in the year because there isn’t much open as these towns and villages are very seasonal. If you’re after a good chance of decent weather, everything to be open but not too busy we would have to say June is the best month to Visit the Jurassic Coast.


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