durlston country park
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Durlston Country Park

Attractions

Durlston Country Park occupies a scenic position on the Jurassic Coast in Swanage. The 320 acre site boasts a variety of habitats and panoramic views across Swanage Bay to the Isle of Wight on a clear day. The grounds consist of a range of different habitats, which makes it a haven for native and visiting wildlife. As you explore the various nooks and crannies you’ll discover extensive woodland, meadows, downland and cliff formations, which are home to rare flora, fauna, insects, mammals and birds.

The cliffs are on of the major draws to the area, attracting wildlife photographers in their droves. The various ledges house huge colonies of nesting seabirds, including razor bills, guillemots, gannets and fulmars. Durlston Country Park is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the offshore waters are part of the Marine Research Area. It’s often possible to see pods of dolphins passing, so don’t forget to bring your binoculars!  The park rangers compile a list of species seen during the day for posting on the Durlston website. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you have and help you identify your sightings!

Scenic trails

If you’re not into wildlife there are plenty of walking trails to explore and take in the views. Some of the routes form part of the South West Coast Path – a long distance walking trail stretching all the way from Minehead in Somerset to the shores of Poole Harbour. If you have limited mobility there are two all-terrain mobility scooters to hire. There are lots of places to have a picnic or a well earned rest! Or, if you’d prefer someone else to do the cooking you can stop by the Seventhwave cafe for a delicious breakfast, lunch or afternoon snap.

We recommend making the short walk to the globe sculpture. From here you can soak up the scenery and enjoy far-reaching vistas in every direction.

Stargazing

The skies above Durlston are renowned for their lack of light pollution making it a popular stargazing destination. There is a 14″ Meade telescope in the Astronomy Centre observatory and various talks and lectures are held throughout the year. The Victorian castle has been fully restored and hosts an exciting programme of exhibitions and events. Many family friendly activities and workshops are held during the school holidays.

 

Header photo credit: Tim Parkinson, Flickr

Attraction information

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What our guests think

quote marks What a fabulous place! Our first outing in our new campervan to try it out, the campsite and facilities are... quote marks thewardrobem, Nov 2023

quote marks The best campsite I've ever stayed at, usually large complexes lose a bit of what camping is about, but not... quote marks Colin, May 2023

quote marks Great stay, very clean excellent facilities. Bus into Poole 15 mins nice shops and great walk by the Quay. Definitely... quote marks Janet, Nov 2023

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