South England´s coast offers some amazing open water places to swim and explore.
I went with a friend to explore some swimming spots on 1st May, 2015. We knew the water temperature in the sea would not be the warmest, but this did not stop us from undertaking our swimming exploration.
Lulworth, most famous for being part of Dorset´s spectacular coast, is easily accessible by road. The nearest major road is the A352 at Wareham. From there you can take the A352 for approx. 1.5 miles then left onto the B3070-follow the signs for Lulworth Cove and West Lulworth. Or from Dorchester follow the A352 to Wool, then take the B3071 towards West Lulworth. Car parking is available all year around for 2 Hours £3, 4 hours £4, 6 hours £5, over 6 hours £7.50.
Lulworth beach is stunning and provides a great place to relax. You can swim in the cove, take a boat or kayak trip, walk around and enjoy the beauty. The Lulworth Cove Heritage Centre, next to the car park, reveals the history of Lulworth from 150+ million years ago to the present day. The Jurassic Coast is part of the Unesco World Heritage.
Swimming Lulworth Cove, Dorset, UK
We swam in this beautiful 400-500m wide cove where the water temperature was 13C and there were only three of us swimming that afternoon. Locals told us this place gets busy in the summer, therefore we suggest to go and explore out of the main holiday season. For colder months you can take your wetsuit and also enjoy the adventure even at a bit colder water temperatures.
More experienced swimmers can swim from Lulworth Cove straight out 0.5 mile to the Stair Hole on the right, a smaller cove outside of the cliff. You can swim through the arch hole inside and reach the rocky beach. Quite often this area gets windy, so watch out for waves and currents that you don´t get pushed into the rocks.
Swimming Man of War and Durdle Door, Dorset, UK
From Lulworth Cove and Stair hole, you can swim or walk west to the Durdle Door and Man O’War beach. The distance is about 1.5 miles and it takes about 30-40 mins by walk. If you swim, depending on how good you are, it can take up to one hour. Weather conditions in the English channel can get windy with strong currents, so you need to watch tides and conditions if you are going to swim along the shore in the open sea. Bright swim hats and safety floating devices are recommended if you don´t have an escort boat along.
Coming from Lulworth Cove direction you will first reach Man O´War beach which is usually more sheltered than Durdle Door beach on the other side and offers more chances for swimming exploration.
If you don´t swim it is still great for walking, sightseeing and looking for some cool old fossils. The south coast of England offers miles of beaches and also marked foot paths where you can hike for days. I hope you find this article useful and will enjoy the sea swimming adventure down there!