South West Coast Path

South West Coast Path

An epic walk along the coastline of Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

3 to 12 nights
630 miles
Easy to Demanding / Strenuous

From £355 per person

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About the trail

At 630 miles (1,008 km) in length, the South West Coast Path is Britain’s longest waymarked footpath and the ultimate challenge for any long distance walker. The route curls around the entire peninsula of Devon and Cornwall, rounds the south-western tip of England at Land’s End, and follows the southern shore through the dramatic scenery of Dorset, constituting a major portion of the England Coast Path.

Although we provide some gentler itineraries, on most holidays, expect stiff climbs on jaw-dropping coastal trails; mile after mile of sea views; and plenty of cream teas and Cornish pasties enjoyed in seaside towns. Walking the South West Coast Path is a challenge, but an immensely (and often tastily) rewarding one.

We’ve broken the full SWCP into ten stages so you can pick and choose your favourite stretches of coast. We also offer a choice of short breaks along the path, which you can find on the South West Coast Path Short Breaks page. If you’re looking for a circular tour, take a look at our walking holiday around the far point of Land’s End Peninsula and inland along St Michael’s Way.

Choose your route

  • This route includes dog friendly tour options North Devon
  • Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - North
  • Cornwall's Atlantic Coast - South
  • Far West of Cornwall
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options South West Cornwall
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options South Cornwall
  • South Devon
  • This route includes dog friendly tour options Tor Bay and Babbacombe Bay
  • East Devon
  • Dorset

Dog friendly tours available

Dogs are welcome on select routes along this trail. Look for the pawprint icon when choosing your holiday.

Trail running tours available

We also organise trail running holidays along this route. Find out more.

About this route

7 to 8 nights
80 miles
Moderate / Demanding
2nd January to 24th December

From £855 per person

Dorset

Nature shows its artistic flair here in Dorset, where high cliffs rear abruptly from tranquil shores and beaches of white sand. Sea-sculpted coves, stacks and arches draw the eye at every turn of the South West Coast Path, offset by the soft lines of the dunes of Studland Heath and the tidal flats of Poole harbour.

History is well-represented in the old market town of Bridport, not to mention picturesque Lulworth and the medieval swannery of Abbotsbury.

Book an extra night at Weymouth if you wish to enjoy the circuit of the Isle of Portland (15½ miles/25 km).

We also offer a Dorset Short Break option that explores the path from Weymouth to Swanage. Click here for more information.

Available tours

Code Tour Duration Difficulty Price per person
DOR1 From Lyme Regis to Sandbanks, Poole Harbour(T) 7 nights, 6 days walking Moderate / Demanding £855
DOR2 From Lyme Regis to Sandbanks, Poole Harbour(T) 8 nights, 7 days walking Moderate / Demanding £970

Dorset 7 nights, 6 days walking

£NNN per person
  • Itinerary
  • What's included?
  • Extra nights?
  • Tour facts
  • Route profile
  • Travel info
  • Weather
  • Holiday Highlights

Important information

Please Note: The Dorset Coast Path goes through the Lulworth Ranges. These are normally open most weekends and around Easter, May Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday and most of the summer period. 

If your walk between Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge falls when the ranges are closed, it will be necessary to take a detour inland. There are various options available for this detour and all of them are given in our information pack.

More information on the Lulworth Ranges can be found on the MOD website. Before booking please check that the ranges will be open. A list of opening times can be reached by clicking here.

Additionally: The South West Coast Path concludes at Sandbanks, after a short ferry ride over from Shell Bay. After disembarking from the ferry, you will be taken by taxi to your final night's accommodation, either in Poole or Bournemouth. The cost of this transfer is included in the cost of your tour. 

Start

Travel to Lyme Regis where your first night's accommodation will be booked

Day 1

Lyme Regis to Bridport. 12 miles (19.5km) / 2169 ft (661 m) ascent

Day 2

Bridport to Abbotsbury. 11.5 miles (18.5km) / 495 ft (151 m) ascent

Day 3

Abbotsbury to Weymouth. 13.5 miles (21.5km) / 866 ft (264 m) ascent

Day 4

Weymouth to Lulworth Cove. 12 miles (19.5km) / 1729 ft (527 m) ascent

Day 5

Lulworth Cove to Worth Matravers(L). 13 miles (21km) / 2480 ft (756 m) ascent

Day 6

Worth Matravers(L) to Sandbanks, Poole Harbour(T). 17 miles (27km) / 1801 ft (549 m) ascent

Finish

Depart from Sandbanks, Poole Harbour(T) after breakfast

Your Itinerary

This itinerary lists our preferred overnight stops for this tour. Sometimes there may be a shortage of available accommodation in a preferred location, in which case we will transfer you from the trail to your accommodation and back again at no extra charge. Overnight stops marked with a (T) will always require transfers as standard.

Overnight stops marked with an (L) have very limited accommodation, and therefore more often than not will also require a transfer, particularly on bank holidays and weekends. We will use non-transfer accommodation wherever possible.

The daily mileages quoted are average trail miles only and do not include the distance from the trail to your accommodation. We do not expect you to have to travel more than a mile from the trail to your accommodation in most cases; should your accommodation be further than this, transfers will be provided as standard if practical. A very limited number of stops will require you to travel on foot up to two miles off the trail, however these instances will be clearly communicated to you if applicable.

Further transfers may also be required due to some accommodations having a two-night minimum booking policy, especially at weekends.

Below are the additional costs that may apply depending on your requirements. Dog-friendly tours are subject to a Daily Dog Charge, which will be listed below if applicable. Our standard prices per person are based upon two people sharing a room; if you are on your own, or are part of a group but require a room of your own, then the Solo Traveller or Single Supplements apply respectively:

A note about transfers
Solo Traveller Supplement
£60.00 per person / per night
Single Supplement
£50.00 per person / per night


You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Lyme Regis)
Price on request
Standard
Interactive
© Contours Walking Holidays Dorset map
Lyme Regis to Poole Harbour
80 miles (127 km)
2nd January to 24th December

Holiday highlights

Following in the footsteps of Lady Mary Anning, who popularised fossil hunting in Lyme Regis.

Tracing the stark geology of the Jurassic Coastline, with stand-out examples such as Durdle Door, Old Harry Rocks, and Dancing Ledge.

Basking in your own achievement as you reach the end of the South West Coast Path in Poole.

What's included?

  • 7 nights' accommodation in en-suite rooms (where available) in selected B&B’s, hotels, inns and guesthouses along the trail, or a short distance away via taxi provided at our expense.
  • Breakfast each day.
  • Door to door luggage transfer.
  • Maps with the route marked on and a guidebook or route notes describing the trail.
  • An information pack containing an itinerary, instructions on how to find your accommodation each night and a kit list.
  • Detailed travel instructions on how to get to the start of your holiday and back from the end of it.

Extra Nights & Rest Days

An extra night gives you the chance to explore some of the towns and villages along the trail or to simply relax and give those weary legs a rest.

Lyme Regis, with its beautiful harbour, fascinating museum and parish church with its amazingly large chained bible, is a good choice for an extra night.

There is a lot to see and do in Bridport - a fine medieval church, interesting museum, thatched brewery with its waterwheel, some fine almshouses and a lovely old harbour.

If you fancy somewhere quieter, consider Worth Matravers, a lovely village with fascinating history while Poole, with its rich history and wealth of fine old buildings is another good choice.

Book an extra night at Weymouth if you wish to enjoy the circuit of the Isle of Portland (15½ miles/25 km).

You can add rest days at any of the overnight stops:

Extra night (Standard)
£65.00 per person / per night
Extra night (Lyme Regis)
Price on request

Tour Facts

Total distance: 79.5 miles (127 km)
Duration: 7 nights, 6 days walking
Minimum daily distance: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
Maximum daily distance: 17 miles (27 km)
Code: DOR1 Grade: Moderate / Demanding
Season: 2nd January - 24th December
Start of holiday: Lyme Regis
End of holiday: Sandbanks, Poole Harbour(T)

Route Profile

Dorset Route Profile

Travel Information

Useful information and travel links that will assist you in your plans to travel to the start of the holiday and back from the end of it are sent to you with your full tour pack. A summary is given below:

By Air - The most convenient major city and international airports are Exeter and Bristol.

By Rail - The nearest rail station to the start of the trail (Lyme Regis) is at Axminster (about 6 miles away). There is a rail station at the end of the trail (Poole, or at nearby Bournemouth). The most convenient station will depend on where your accommodation is booked.

By Bus - There is a bus service from Axminster to Lyme Regis Monday to Saturday only, so a taxi will be required on a Sunday.

Various buses run from Poole or Bournemouth. There is also a bus service between Poole & Bournemouth, although the train is much quicker.

From London - Trains run from London Waterloo station to Axminster. From here a bus or taxi will be required to Lyme Regis.

Return To The Start - The easiest way to return to the start of the trail from Poole or Bournemouth is to take the train to Dorchester South & then a taxi to Lyme Regis. There is a bus from Dorchester South to Lyme Regis Monday to Saturday only, but this takes much longer.
Alternatively, take a train from either Poole or Bournemouth to Weymouth, followed by a taxi to Lyme Regis (again, there is a bus service but this would take much longer and only runs Monday to Friday).

The best option for these journeys varies at different times of the day and week. A taxi may be better option for the whole journey. See Traveline and National Rail Enquiries for the best option for you the time & date your are travelling.

Weather Information

To find out more about the weather forecast for your chosen holiday's general location, please see the following websites:

  • MetCheck - This website allows you to look up detailed weather information for specific locations as far as six months in advance.
  • Met Office - This website shows regional area forecasts a few days in advance, with a general UK forecast description of up to 30 days in advance.
  • Mountain Forecast - This website shows what the forecast is like up on specific hills and fells, and offers forecasts a few days in advance.
"East Ebb Cove" by Raymond Riggs (2023) "East Ebb Cove" by Raymond Riggs (2023)
"Thorncombe Beacon" by Raymond Riggs (2023) "Thorncombe Beacon" by Raymond Riggs (2023)
"Signpost East of Charmouth by Raymond Riggs (2023) "Signpost East of Charmouth by Raymond Riggs (2023)
"Seatown" by Raymond Riggs (2023) "Seatown" by Raymond Riggs (2023)
"Portland Bill Lighthouse" by Raymond Riggs (2023) "Portland Bill Lighthouse" by Raymond Riggs (2023)
"Doghouse Hill" by Raymond Riggs (2023) "Doghouse Hill" by Raymond Riggs (2023)
"Leaving Charmouth" by Alison Baillie (2023) "Leaving Charmouth" by Alison Baillie (2023)
"Heading out of Abbotsbury" by Alison Baillie (2023) "Heading out of Abbotsbury" by Alison Baillie (2023)
"Towards West Bay" by Alison Baillie (2023) "Towards West Bay" by Alison Baillie (2023)
"Heading into Weymouth" by Alison Baillie (2023) "Heading into Weymouth" by Alison Baillie (2023)
"Esplanade at Weymouth" by David Keogh (2018) "Esplanade at Weymouth" by David Keogh (2018)
"Southern End of Fleet" by David Keogh (2018) "Southern End of Fleet" by David Keogh (2018)
"Lulworth Cove" by John Wilkins (2019) "Lulworth Cove" by John Wilkins (2019)

Customer reviews from the Dorset

“Thoroughly enjoyed the walk. This was a lovely holiday.”
Ms Kim-Scott, USA
“Excellent organisation and accommodation as ever.”
Mrs Baillie, UK
“I enjoyed having short distances per day for a winter walk with limited daylight hours. It stopped me from panicking about making it before dark. Ok, some a bit short, but it allowed me to enjoy the days and I realise it's sometimes necessary because of location of accommodations in winter.”
Mr Garlick, UK
“The SWCP is truly amazing. It’s a very special place.”
Mr Fuller, USA
“Really loved the walk! Scenery was gorgeous, B&B's were all very good, trail was very easy to follow. Overall very lovely. Had to call once about a trail question, another walker had recommended we skip a section of trail due to shingle on the path. Right during your phone call, you folks looked up recent trail reports and you were able to reassure us it looked OK to stay on the trail.”
Ms Going, USA
“The walking was great - the length and amount of effort suited us. The booking was easy, organisation good and the pick-up/drop-off of luggage worked well.”
Mr Hadaway, UK
“It was just as brilliant as the last four. For one of our party this was her first walking holiday and she is just as keen as me to book again. I don't think we could pick out one as there were so many beautiful places along the way. For myself I was most looking forward to seeing the Lulworth Cove area and it did not disappoint.”
Mrs Chopra, UK
“The accommodation and luggage transfer were excellent. We enjoyed all the different aspects of the walk.”
Mrs Burton, UK
“The holiday was specifically tailored to my requirement to complete the SWCP from Weymouth clock tower to South Haven point in 4 days in August and it all worked out very well indeed, including the weather.”
Mr Wyatt, UK
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