Shore Campers – A Long Weekend in the Purbecks6 Aug 2021
Interested to learn more about campervan pitches at Durdle Door? Our friends at Shore Campers are based in nearby Bournemouth. They came to stay with us as soon as restrictions allowed at the beginning of the 2021 season. Stefan and his family tested out their new camper, making sure it was ready for all the excursions it would take people on this year. Here is their take on basing a campervan trip at Durdle Door.
The Isle of Purbeck is a sixty square mile peninsula along the Jurassic coast of Dorset with dramatic coastlines, rolling hills, little villages and a traditional seaside town. We truly believe that a campervan is simply the best way to explore this beautiful part of Dorset; nothing beats parking up with a spectacular view and enjoying an al fresco drink and snack in the campervan whilst taking in the scenery.
Day 1 (Friday)
If this is your first time camping in a campervan, we usually recommend getting to your campsite nice and early to give yourself time to familiarise yourself with the van. For short breaks it could also make sense to just base yourself at a single campsite so you know what to expect after exploring out and about. Bearing this in mind, whether you hire a campervan from us at Shore Campers or are going off in your own van, we think Durdle Door Holiday Park makes an excellent choice for your Purbeck adventure. Located right by the iconic Durdle Door, you’re within easy reach of everything the Purbecks have to offer and it’s also just under an hour from the Shore Campers campervan HQ. With a well-stocked shop, bar & restaurant and children’s adventure playground you have everything you need on-site.
Once you’re pitched up and settled in, there should be enough time to go and see one of the most photographed landmarks in Dorset, Durdle Door. If the legs are up for it, follow the steps all the way down to the beach and get your own postcard photo of this natural limestone arch but be warned, the climb back up can be a bit challenging. That being said, some bribery of a promised ice creams at the top motivated our 4- and 8-year-olds to tackle this without too much grumbling on a recent stay at the campsite.
Once you’re back, get an ice-cold drink from the campervan, get the BBQ going and prepare for your first night living the campervan lifestyle. Of course if you’re feeling a bit lazy, simply pop to the on-site restaurant.
Day 2 (Saturday)
Time to hit the road in the campervan and explore. Make sure the tea, coffee and cold drinks are packed along with snacks and a picnic then head “next door” towards the beautiful Lulworth Cove, a tiny seaside village with a picture-perfect cove as a backdrop. With a large car park, you’re sure to find space and once parked up you can take a walk down to the beach and explore the calm waters, making sure to stop of for a cake and a coffee in one of the tea rooms.
After exploring Lulworth, get back to the van and head further east, aiming for Kimmeridge Bay, a Shore Campers personal favourite. The road between East Lulworth and Kimmeridge crosses an MOD tank firing range, which is sometimes closed due to firing so look out for the signs, it does offer fantastic views over the rolling hills though and you can play spot the tank firing targets, and some tanks along the way.
Kimmeridge Bay, famous for its fossils, is especially good to visit during low tide when you can see the geological formations in the bay. If the tide is higher you can also do the brilliant snorkel trial laid out in the bay. A map, snorkel and fins can be purchased from the small marine wildlife reserve where you can also learn about the local area. “K Bay” is also one of the south coast’s best surfing areas with three different waves, Ledges, the Bay and the Bench. Only advised for intermediate and experienced surfers but with the right conditions produces some great groundswell.
Parking up on Kimmeridge with a campervan picnic is what campervan life is all about. You have the convenience of a kettle, stove and ice-cold fridge right there with you for the perfect picnic all set with a beautiful backdrop.
On your way back through Kimmeridge village, make sure you stop off at the small but brilliantly put together Etches Collection museum. Trust us, kids and adults alike will love it.
Back at your base at Durdle Door you may still have time to go for a bit of a walk, explore the local area or just relax with a pint at the bar.
Day 3 (Sunday)
Time to venture a bit further today and spend the morning exploring the beautiful seaside town of Swanage. With its sandy beach and calm waters, it’s the perfect way to spend the morning at the seaside. Have a stroll along the beach, take a walk out on the pier and explore the town. If you’ve not gotten around to seeing Corfe Castle yet you can take a steam train that runs from Swanage to Corfe Castle. There’s also the excellent Durlston Country Park at the bottom end of Swanage which is well worth a visit. Swanage has plenty of eating options for lunch, whether it’s fish and chips or a picnic on the beach.
In the afternoon, take a drive up to Studland and stop of at Knoll Beach, a national trust property with plenty of parking and a spectacular beach overlooking Studland Bay and Old Harry Rocks. If the weather permits, hire a paddleboard or a kayak and get out on the water for a bit of a paddle.
When you head back to Durdle Door be sure to keep an eye out for scenic viewpoints or car parks with some more views where you can park up and fire the kettle up once again.
Day 4 (Monday)
It may well be time to head home today, but if there’s time in the morning you can’t beat an early morning sunrise walk down to Durdle Door beach for a few more snaps before it’s time to pack up and head on back to the Shore Campers HQ or home in your own van.
Some other Shore Campers recommended things to see and do in the area:
Tyneham – Ghost village deserted during WWII
Lulworth Castle – Early 17th Century mock castle and museum
Walk to Old Harry Rocks – Relatively easy walk with views over Studland and Poole Bay.
Keates Quarry dinosaur footprints – Hard to find but you can literally walk in the footsteps of giants.
Dorset Adventure Park – Playground on lakes where you are guaranteed to get wet and muddy. Great fun.
Blue Pool – Picturesque lake and tea rooms with family friendly walks (spot the fairy doors and model squirrels!) and play areas.
Our Abbeyfield Premium Pitches – adjacent to the Rookery, are for touring vehicles only. They are hard-standing, gravel pitches with electric hook up and water.
Our Sea View Campervan Pitches – for small campervans only, up to a maximum of 5m in length – are just outside the Holiday Park itself, adjacent to the public car park for Durdle Door beach.