Talk to me about the Dorset/Jurassic coast please

(45 Posts)
DilysPrice Wed 22-Feb-12 18:36:38

I've suddenly had the urge to go there this summer, on the grounds that it's closer than Cornwall, warmer than Wales, involves fewer aeroplanes than Lake Como, and is less likely to bankrupt us than Switzerland.

And DS has just wandered in from watching All Over The Place on CBBC and asked "Is it true that there's a place called The Jurassic Coast where you can just find fossils on the beach and take them away?!!"

Talk to me about it please? Weather, things to do, places to stay - (not campsites: cottages, farms or hotels), can we promise DS actualy fossils of his very own? There'll be 4 of us, DCs will be 10 and 8.

OP’s posts: |
jenpetronus Wed 22-Feb-12 19:20:40

Oh yes! We did this last year with my just-bereaved mum & DS'S (9 & 3) Book a "walk" in Lyme Regis - I thought (grrr, that's £5.00 wasted but at least I tried) how wrong can you be?? There are literally thousands of ammonites & belamites to be discovered, and the guides who show you where to look make it really interesting - I'd sent DS1 & Mum while I went shopping with DS2 - they were hours longer than planned & then we all went back together and found dozens of ammonites - some bits and some whole ones, it really is amazing. I really liked Lyme Regis, and there are other fascinating things to do too - a prehistory museum etc - we'd come from France where we live to try & cheer my Mum up a bit, and my only regret is we didn't stay longer, 4 days was not enough (though we did manage to get to Hugh F'W's River Cottage canteen which is really nearby too!)

Go for it, I'd be back like a shot given the chance!

thisisyesterday Wed 22-Feb-12 19:26:26

we did this late last year and found...... nothing!!!

there were loads of fossil hunters and it was unfortunately during a neap tide (the tide wasn't coming up far enough to hit the cliffs) and so we found absolutely notjhing
my 7 year old was really quite upset, having been regaled with stories of how i found beautiful fossils there as a child :-S oops

so.... i wouldn't promise anything! but def do one of the guided walks and you'll have more chance

DilysPrice Wed 22-Feb-12 20:21:50

Thanks guys.
Anyone got any tips on good places to stay? I think we fancy a town/village right by a beach - DH doesn't really like driving and thinks it isn't a proper holiday if he has to ferry the family around every single day, so I'd like us to have the option of just walking to the beach and back for a couple of days..

OP’s posts: |
Sparklingbrook Wed 22-Feb-12 20:24:37

The Olympic sailing is happening in Weymouth so you may want to check the dates before booking anything. It will presumably get even busier than normal in Dorset. smile

GreenandBlacksAddict Wed 22-Feb-12 20:27:01

We went 2 summers ago and didn't find a single fossil , like everyone else at our school who went we ended up in the Fossil Shop in Lyme Regis ! Seaton beach was huge and empty unlike Lyme regis which was heaving ! Hugh fearnly Whittingstall has a lovely cafe/restaurant in Axminster, fab cake !!! Won't recommend the hotel we stayed at as 1. cannot remember name 2. was next to a bypass and racing motorbikes kept us awake until early hours of the morning 3. outdoor pool gave me and DS1 ear infection 4. food was average

Merrylegs Wed 22-Feb-12 20:28:12

We did this when the DSs were about 8 and 6 - (so a while ago - they are teens now). We went with the GPs and they booked a walk with a really cool fossil hunting guy who took the DSs out all day and they came back with loads and loads and loads of fantastic fossils. They loved it. Sorry, have no idea who it was or what company but I do know they booked it while we were there - so not a lot of forward planning. The coast was Charmouth and Portland if that helps.

Grockle Wed 22-Feb-12 20:32:46

Yes, yes, we have tons of fossils from Kimmeridge Bay. You MUST go there. Beautiful, lovely area. I am lucky to live close by smile

You need FiveGoMad for accommodation.

TheReturnOfStropperella Wed 22-Feb-12 20:42:18

Charmouth and Lyme are good for fossils. Burton Bradstock is a nice village to stay in and has this beach cafe.

Bunsouttheoven Wed 22-Feb-12 20:47:30

I live in Dorset it is a beautiful county.
Good fossiling at Lyme & kimmeridge. Also loads of lovely beaches studland, lulworth cove, durdle door, ringstead bay...... Corfe castle is great for kids.

A quick google came up with this article
It may be of interest.

thisisyesterday Wed 22-Feb-12 20:56:56

quick hijack.... does anyone know any good campsites in the area that allow campfires?

we used to go to wareham when i was little and i'm getting all nostalgic for studland and kimmeridge now!

nannyl Wed 22-Feb-12 21:23:57

I have found fossils in kimmeridge too

i LOVE dorset.... its my favourite place (in the uk) ever

as for campsites, it HAS to be longthorns the best site i have evr stayed at, fab owners, campfires, and the honesty shop and fridge freezer is a bonus (can have ICECREAM when camping in the summer!)

Its right next to monkey world (It has a gate into monkey worlds car park!)

FriedSprout Wed 22-Feb-12 21:41:44


Try this site, I think you can use their advanced search to look for campfire sites. If you find a good one let me know grin

meeliesmum Wed 22-Feb-12 22:01:09

We found fossils at Charmouth. Dorset is a wonderful area-loads for families to do. We are going back this year for a 3rd time as we feel we still havnt scratched the surface yet.

thisisyesterday Wed 22-Feb-12 22:31:35

k have booked this place

well, have e-mailed them and asked if I can book lol
new this season, so taking a risk grin

Hassled Wed 22-Feb-12 22:35:24

I've wanted to go there ever since I read this novel about Mary Anning - Remarkable Creatures. One of these days...

Lilymaid Wed 22-Feb-12 22:40:14

Best time to find fossils is after a storm - Feb half term is a good time for fossiling.
We have spent many days down on Charmouth beach when PILs lived nearby and found a few fossils. There was a museum/tourist information place by the beach where you could leave your fossils for identification.

Voidka Wed 22-Feb-12 22:40:28

Does anyone have any more info for the fossil guy - we are off to Dorset in june and its been specifically picked so DS1 can find fossils.

BustersOfDoom Wed 22-Feb-12 22:56:04

I second the recommendations for Charmouth. We spent a lovely day there it has a great beach and fab fossil hunting. I actually could not believe the number of people attacking the cliffs with hammers! Am not sure that's entirely the right way to go but we did find some nice ammonites etc without needing to beat crap out of the landscape.

Bunbaker Thu 23-Feb-12 16:34:00

Marking my place because we have booked to go to Dorset in June. I have been to Dorset a couple of times and am really looking forward to it. I love Dorset.

fivegomadindorset Thu 23-Feb-12 19:07:17


fivegomadindorset Thu 23-Feb-12 19:10:32

Right for the third time I have come in search of Dilys.

Highwood is lovely a couple of woods and a few fields away.

Things to do in Dorset.

Monkey World if you have to.
Bovington Tank Museum is great on a wet day.
Abbostbury for the swans and gardens
Studland beach is lovely. The cafe at the end of the beach to the right if you face the sea (not the NT one) does the best chips, cash only.
Corfe Castle and the Steam train
Swanage and Weymouth for seaside towns
Lulworth Cove (a bit biased that one)
Kimmeridge for fossils and rockpools.

Dilys PM me about accommodation, what are you looking for?

fivegomadindorset Thu 23-Feb-12 19:10:46


DilysPrice Thu 23-Feb-12 19:52:38

Thanks Five, will PM you.

Lots of people here recommending Kimmeridge for fossils, but fossil-seekers website I found says it's a bit hairy for children due to scary fast tides - are they being paranoid?

OP’s posts: |
Umicar Thu 23-Feb-12 20:10:59

I have been to Dorset every year since I was 4! We usually stay in Langton Matravers near Swanage.

Kimmeridge is lovely but don't go there on a wet day as it can be very slippery. Also be very careful with children as I sat down on a rock when I was about 8 and got stung on my bot by a jellyfish, ouch! Also have to make sure the ranges are open (MOD uses surrounding area for tank practise!)

There is so much to do in the area, few more suggestions:

Tyneham the abandoned village is well worth a visit,
Poole is a nice town, home of Lush and Poole pottery (if it's still going?)
Studland are the most beautiful beaches, we prefer Shell Bay to the Knoll but both lovely ( there is a nudist beach between them, which I got lost on once!)
Ferry to Brownsea Island, lovely there though beware of the over friendly peacocks!
Old Harry, can walk right along the cliff, beautiful.

I went on a Geology field trip to Charmouth/ Lyme -lots of fossils!

I hope enjoy it! We now take our Children and they love it too. I have told DH when I die I want my ashes scattered at the end of the Old Harry Walk

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