If you’re planning a camping trip at Durdle Door, you’ve come to the right place. We recently spent a night at Durdle Door holiday park in our camper van, overlooking stunning cliff top views. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing everything you need to know about Durdle Door camping, whether you have a tent, a camper van, or a motorhome.
Durdle Door in Dorset is one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks. Hundreds of thousands of people visit every year to see the famous limestone arch, which I would argue is the pinnacle of the Jurassic Coast.
To give you a bit of background, the astonishing Jurassic Coastline stretches for 95 miles along the South Coast of England. In 2001, it was granted UNESCO status for its outstanding geology, revealing prehistoric remains of 185 million years of Earth’s history.
If the Jurassic Coast is the show, Durdle Door is the star. The 10,000-year-old arch alongside a stunning stretch of beach makes it one of the most picturesque spots in all of England.
To take advantage of all there is to see and do in the area, I would highly recommend camping at Durdle Door. Not only so you can check out other nearby landmarks such as Lulworth Cove and Man’o’War Beach, but also so you can enjoy Durdle Door without the crowds.
Anyway, we’ve got a lot to get through so let’s get to it. Here’s everything you need to know about Camping at Durdle Door, Dorset.
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Why Camp at Durdle Door?
So, first of all, why would you bother camping at Durdle Door when you could just visit for the day? Well, there are a few reasons, and I’ll go through each of them now so you can decide if it’s worth it or not.
I’ll start with what was probably the number one reason for us personally. Naturally, Durdle Door gets extremely busy – particularly at weekends and during the Summer. I loved that by staying the night, we had the opportunity to enjoy the area without the crowds.
You see, during the Summer, the main car park for Durdle Door opens at 9 am and is locked at 9 pm. Therefore, if you don’t mind getting up early, you have a few hours of daylight all to yourself. Honestly, Durdle Door felt even more idyllic at sunrise and was, by far, our favourite part of the trip.
Another reason for staying is to allow enough time to take in all the other things to do near Durdle Door. You may have already heard of Lulworth Cove and Man O’War beach; however, there are other places along the coast that are well worth checking out.
Finally, we found it to be more cost-effective to camp at Durdle Door. To park for the entire day with a car is £10 and for a camper van, it’s £15. So, considering we paid just £20 to stay for the night at Durdle Door Holiday Park, we got a pretty good deal.
Best Time to Camp at Durdle Door
In terms of weather, the best time for camping at Durdle Door will be between May and September, when the weather is warmer. That way, you can enjoy the beach and maybe even take a swim by the arch.
That said, you may want to avoid the peak summer months (July & August) when the kids are on school holidays. It gets swamped during this time, and you may have trouble finding somewhere to camp.
We visited at the weekend during the first week of September. It was busy, but not busy enough to spoil the experience. And we even managed to take an early morning dip in the sea.
You’ll also find that most of the campsites will close for winter. Durdle Door Holiday Park, for example, opens from 1st March – 31st October each year.
Free Camping at Durdle Door
We love a bit of wild camping, so naturally, we looked into ways to camp for free at Durdle Door.
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t have much luck. Camping is not permitted anywhere along the coast or the beaches near Durdle Door, and we found no nearby park ups on Park 4 Night either.
At any popular tourist destination such as Durdle Door, this is not uncommon. Unfortunately, not all campers are responsible, and so the rules are there to preserve the area.
We encourage you to follow the rules so we can all continue to enjoy the natural beauty of this heritage site in Dorset. Below, I will be sharing alternative options that allow you to camp legitimately near Durdle Door.
Camper Van Pitches at Durdle Door
When we were looking into camping at Durdle Door, we did so with our newly renovated camper van in mind. It was our first trip away in our van since we’d finished the build (well, almost finished), so saying we were excited is an understatement.
A quick Google search led us to Durdle Door Holiday Park – a family-owned business providing unrivalled access to Durdle Door and the surrounding coastline. Here, they offer two kinds of pitches for camper vans and motorhomes.
Sea View Camping at Durdle Door
The first, where we stayed, is the Sea View Camper Van pitches. As the name suggests, this spot provides incredible views over the ocean. And although you can’t see it from your pitch, Durdle Door is just a 5-10 minute walk away.
We paid just £20 for this pitch which includes an electric hook up and access to the extensive campsite facilities, including toilets, shower facilities, fresh and grey water points, and a kitchen area. It was an extra £5 to bring our dog, Ronnie.
It states on the website that only vehicles under 5 metres are permitted to stay on this pitch; however, we are around 5.5 metres, and we had no issues. There was plenty of space around us, so I’m not sure why the restriction is there, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
Our only complaint about this pitching area is that it slopes to such a degree that even our levellers couldn’t fix it. But for just one night, it wasn’t too much of an issue. There’s also a public car park in front of the pitching area, but it closes in the evening, leaving an unobstructed sea view.
Abbeyfield Camping Pitches
The second, the Abbeyfield pitches, allow for more privacy, and the ground is flat in comparison. However, I’ll leave it to you to decide if it warrants the additional £5 to stay there.
Located in a beautiful Dorset woodland area, you get all the same perks as a sea view camping pitch; however, in my opinion, it’s just not the same vibe without the sea view.
Perhaps if you stay for longer than one night, you would be more comfortable here because of the level ground and protection from the wind.
It’s also an option for larger camper vans and motorhomes that are too long for the sea view camping area.
Durdle Door Tent Camping
If you want to camp near Durdle Door in your tent, then you are in luck. While it is not permitted to camp anywhere along the coastal path or beaches in this area, Durdle Door Holiday Park cater for tents up to 4 x 4m in size.
The dedicated area for tent camping at Durdle Door Holiday Park is called Rookery Camping. As the name suggests, the trees in this area are home to resident rooks during the nesting season.
It’s £20 for a tent pitch that allows 2 adults and 2 children, plus 1 tent and 1 car. There is no electric hook up available; however, you do have access to all campsite facilities.
Durdle Door Glamping
If you don’t have a camper van or motorhome and staying in a tent is out of the question, then you do have the option of glamping at Durdle Door.
Alongside their camping pitches, the holiday park offers premium holiday homes, caravans, camping pods, and glamping cabins, so there is truly something for everyone.
The camping pods and glamping cabins, in particular, offer the best of both worlds. They are perfect if you enjoy the camping lifestyle but prefer a warm and comfortable environment.
Regardless of whether you are camping or glamping at Durdle Door, you have immediate access to the coastal path and its incredible views.
Other Campsites Near Durdle Door
While Durdle Door Holiday Park is the closest and most convenient campsite near Durdle Door, it’s often fully booked during the Summer, so you may need to look at alternative options.
Other campsites in the area include Purbeck Glamping, Galton Campsite, The Creek Caravan Site, Friendship Cottage, and Swannys Campsite.
Things to do Near Durdle Door
There are plenty of things to see and do near Durdle Door, other than the arch itself. Especially if you enjoy walking and being outside, you could easily spend a week here exploring all that the Jurassic Coast has to offer.
I’ll cover a few of the places here with a short description, but for more, check out my complete guide to things to do near Durdle Door.
Man O’War Beach
Just east of the famous arch is Man O’War beach. Like Durdle Door, it is a pebble beach boasting crystal clear water and astonishing views of the Jurassic Coast.
In my experience, the water is often calmer here, so it’s better for swimming.
Even further East of Durdle Door is Lulworth Cove – Another secluded coved beach that is almost a perfect circle.
You can reach Lulworth Cove via the South West Coast Path, and it’s around a 20 – 30 minute walk from Durdle Door, Dorset.
You’ll find several amenities in this area, including pubs, hotels, and souvenir shops.
Not too far from Lulworth Cove is Lulworth Castle – an early 17th-century hunting lodge steeped in history.
You can explore the castle or enjoy the extensive garden area home to woodland walks and parks.
Sunsets, Sunrise, & Star Gazing
If you’re lucky enough to get good conditions, you can expect spectacular sunsets and sunrises when camping near Durdle Door.
Not only that, the Jurassic Coast provides some incredible stargazing opportunities.
Walks and Hikes
There are endless opportunities to explore the Jurassic Coast and surrounding countryside on foot.
Walking guides and maps are available from the Lulworth Cove Visitor Centre. Or we also like to use the Komoot app for planning routes.
If you plan on staying longer than a day or two, you may want to consider taking some day trips to other beaches and landmarks along the Jurassic Coast.
I recommend Weymouth, Old Harry Rocks, Corfe Castle and West Bay, to name but a few.
Save Time and Book a Tour
For a more local experience, we recommend checking out the guided tours on Get Your Guide:
Enjoy Camping at Durdle Door!
Well, that’s about all you need to know in regards to camping at Durdle Door. I hope you have a fantastic time visiting this incredible place. Do you have any other questions or comments?
Let us know! We love hearing from you. You can reach out to us in the comment section below.
Stay adventurous and happy travels.