Exploring England's South Coast: From Somerset to Dorset

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England’s South Coast is a real contender for one of the world’s top coasts. That’s if you like beautiful beaches backed by epic cliffs, gorgeous rolling hills and dozens of quaint seaside towns. And really who doesn’t?

The South Coast stretches out for hundreds of kilometres from Cornwall to Kent, but the section that falls within Somerset and Devon is home to some truly awesome attractions and stunning areas of natural beauty. It’s well worth checking out.

Fancy a trip to this mighty coastal enclave? Check out our essentials:

Make your way to Mudeford if you’re desperate to show off your brand-new bikini

Dorset is teeming with sandy coves and lively seaside towns where you can enjoy some sunshine, build a few sand sculptures and take a dip in the sea if you’re feeling brave!

You’ll find loads of classic seaside resorts (including the lovely Lyme Regis) further down the coast, but Mudeford in east Dorset is always a good shout. It sits at the entrance to Christchurch Harbour and is dotted with great places to tuck into fresh seafood and enjoy stunning views across the water.

Fancy stretching your legs? From Mudeford, you can stroll along the promenade to Avon beach or carry on to Friars Cliff beach which sits in the shadow of Highcliffe Castle.

If you want to test your sea legs too you can catch a ferry over to the glamorous Mudeford Sandbank and stretch out on golden sand. The slip of beach is famed for its colourful beach huts which are some of the priciest in the UK! Maybe look but don’t touch.

You want to (finally) impress your friends with your geography knowledge at Durdle Door

Try and remember what you actually learnt all those years ago. Well a trip here might jog your memory. Durdle Door is a limestone arch that juts impressively into the sea. There must be a reason for it somewhere in one of your old textbooks.

You’ll find it a short distance from Lulworth on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast (that’s from the dinosaur times) and it’s backed by a jaw-droppingly beautiful beach which rivals the Caribbean for its clear blue waters and soft sand. The weather might not be the same though.

Just remember, it can get quite busy, so it’s a good idea to visit in the off season or mid-week if you can!

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You prefer King Arthur than muddy festivals – make sure you time your trip to Glastonbury

This attraction may not be on the coast, but it’s less than an hour’s drive through lush countryside from Somerset’s best beaches.

As well as being the location and namesake of one of the world’s biggest festivals, the area is also shrouded in myth and legend! But if you’re not a fan of mud and big crowds, avoid coming at the end of June.

Glastonbury Tor is a cone-shaped hill with an ancient church at its summit and it’s believed by many to be the location of Avalon: the fabled island where King Arthur’s Excalibur sword was created. Now you might not have the opportunity to pull it from the ground, but it’s still pretty cool nonetheless.

Whether you’re a believer or not, Glastonbury is one of the most spiritual places in the UK and its Tor is well-worth a visit if you’re venturing around England’s South Coast.

You’re after some adventure and excitement on the Isle of Portland

Keen for an adrenaline rush? The South Coast isn’t all about pretty beaches. Sometimes the cliffs really come in handy too.

Portland’s craggy cliffs are prime spots for abseiling or rock-climbing adventures, plus they form part of the South West Coast Path if you’re craving a scenic walk or bike ride.

And the water is pretty fun-filled too! Blustery wind conditions offshore also make it ideal for windsurfing or sailing. In fact, the island is home to the National Sailing Academy which hosted some of the Olympic sailing events in 2012!

If you’re running out of ways to keep the kids entertained, wander down to Weston-Super-Mare

Holidaying with the kids? Always looking for something to keep them entertained?

You can’t get a more traditional holiday resort than Weston-Super-Mare. Its bustling Grand Pier is lined with funfair games and stalls selling candyfloss. What a great place to visit for some family fun!  The town on Somerset’s coast is also home to one of the longest sandy beaches in the UK, meaning you’ll have plenty of space to stretch out! And for the kids to run around on.

Ice cream eating, sandcastle making and rollercoaster rides not enough? Make sure you check out the resort’s events calendar. Highlights include the Weston-Super-Mare food festivals (think mouth-watering cuisine from across the globe) and the Weston Air Festival. Yes, you will get to see the Red Arrows!

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The Jurassic Coast is for you if your favourite animal as a kid was a dinosaur (and still is!)

You’ve seen the film, now make your way to the coastline.

Stretching for 150km from East Devon all the way to the monumental Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, the Jurassic Coast has been around for millions of years and – unsurprisingly – gets its name from the dinosaurs who once walked its shores and trekked across its cliffs.

While these mighty beasts might be long gone, the coastline has long been known as a hotspot for fossil hunting and has even been recognised by UNESCO as a highly important place for global geology!

Want to get involved in the dino action? The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is a great place to begin a Jurassic Coast tour. You’ll find hundreds of fossils, plus they organise guided walks to nearby beaches between Charmouth and Lyme Regis.


Getting around England’s South Coast

Feeling like a South Coast expedition? Well, there’s no better way to explore England’s South Coast than by car! It really gives you the freedom of going at your own pace and visiting attractions that are usually out of reach on public transport!


If you’re after more advice on what to see and do in the UK, why not discover how to make the most of the Scottish Highlands or take a peek at our guide to Britain’s Most Beautiful Beaches?

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