Kimmeridge Bay is the jewel in Dorset’s crown. Its rugged landscape is famed for its fossils and rock pooling opportunities. Unlike many of the beaches on the Jurassic Coast, Kimmeridge Bay does not have shingle or sand. Instead limestone ledges extend out into the water.
Whilst this does mean it’s not ideal for sunbathing, it creates the perfect conditions for exploring the abundant marine life. Kimmeridge Bay is part of a Marine Special Area of Conservation and considered one of the best places in the country for snorkelling or scuba diving. The waters are shallow, crystal clear, protected from the tide and often unseasonably warm, making it the perfect place to seek out a range of species.
Kimmeridge is growing also increasingly popular amongst surfers and windsurfers.
Kimmeridge is renowned for fossil hunting and is of great Geological importance. Geologists from around the world travel to the area to investigate the clay ledges and the unique rock formations. If you’re lucky you might spot a fossil hidden amongst the stones or you could travel to the nearby Etches Collection where hundreds of examples are on display. If you venture to Kimmeridge in search of fossils it’s important to remember the use of hammers is strictly forbidden.
Next to the slip way you will find the Fine Foundation Marine Life Centre, which is managed by the Dorset Wildlife Trust. It’s free to enter and has proven extremely popular with younger members of the family. Spend some time perusing the interactive displays, which give an insight into the wealth of marine life present in the bay.
Experienced volunteers are on hand to teach visitors how to explore the waters responsibly and will offer guidance on how to crab in an eco-friendly way.
In the summer months a snorkel trail is marked by five buoys in the water, which show off the best underwater habitats in the bay. In the centre you’ll find laminated guide to help you identify anything you see. There’s even snorkelling equipment to hire, including full face masks, in case you don’t have any of your own.
If the weather’s taken a turn for the worse or you’ve finished exploring the rockpools in the bay, why not take a walk along the coastline to take in more of the incredible scenery for which this region is renowned. A gentle stroll onto the coastal path, rewards walkers with far reaching sea views over the bay.
Clavell Tower stands proud on the headland and creates an impressive backdrop for avid landscape photographers, particularly at sunset when beautiful orange hues light up the sky. Originally built in the Victorian times as an observation tower, the tower has served many purposed over the years, including acting as a way point for smugglers and sailors and more recently an exclusive holiday home.
The drive to Kimmeridge Bay follows a scenic route through the heart of the Isle of Purbeck. The beach is situated on private land and the car park is free of charge. To access the car park however, visitors are required to use a toll road as you enter the estate. The current price of this facility is £5 for cars and visitors can stay all day. From the car park there is a short path to the beach and a number of steps to descend before reaching the beach.
The slip way car park has toilet facilities for visitors to use. There are no food and drink kiosks, so it’s important to stock up on supplies before you arrive. There are a couple of pubs and café’s in nearby Kimmeridge village, which is about 30 minutes away by foot. In the height of the summer season and ice cream van can sometimes be found in the car park.
Kimmeridge bay is dog friendly throughout the year.
Follow signs to Wareham and then pick up signs for Lulworth
Distance from us:
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We booked for two nights in our Motorhome and ended up staying six nights. Staff very friendly and accommodating. Shower blocks were kept clean and water was lovely and hot. Bus stop directly outside site going to Poole and Swanage on the he number 40 bus route. Worth getting a return ticket to save money Mo, Oct 2021
We had a simply fabulous time at South Lytchett Manor last month. We were not sure about camping in October but the site is well insulated, the playground kept our kids well entertained and the facilities were super clean and comfortable. We loved having a shop onsite and there are water taps and electricity points in abundance.. we have stayed at a number of sites and couldn’t recommend this Beth, Nov 2020
Great campsite, really friendly and polite staff. Very clean facilities and felt ‘safe’ with all the hand sanitizer and clear signage, highly recommend - we’ll probably book one of the huts next time.... Richard , Oct 2020
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