Dorset in the South of England is known for a range of reasons. Lush countryside, sprawling harbours, luxury properties and of course, breathtaking beaches.
The jewel in the crown of Dorset has to be Kimmeridge Bay which is one of the most loved locations on the 95 mile-long Jurassic Coast. If you’re planning a trip to the Jurassic Coast in the future, we recommend that you put some time aside to experience all that the bay has to offer.
The History of Kimmeridge Bay
If you have a keen interest in natural history, you’ll be intrigued to know that the rocks that form the bay were laid down a staggering 155 million years ago! Today, the rocks are explored by day-tripping families and other eager explorers who come to investigate the rock pools that are teeming with marine life.
You may also be lucky and find some fossils laying loosely amongst the rocks that you’ll be able to take home with you. Fossil collecting using hammers is prohibited however, if you happen to come across some just lying around, you can examine these at your leisure. There are many reasons why this bay on the Dorset coast is so incredibly popular with those holidaying in the UK due to its beauty, geology and history.
Why Visit the Kimmeridge Bay Beauty Spot?
The exquisite beauty of the bay has been repeatedly recognised. Because Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Jurassic Coast, it is classed as a World Heritage Site, one of 1,121 globally. Not only is it known for its beauty, but it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This means that it has been acknowledged for the sheer variety of wildlife and staggering geology. Let’s explore all the things to do at Kimmeridge Bay in some more detail…
Geology and Natural History
The clay cliffs of Kimmeridge Bay are composed of fossil rich mudstones and oil shales which formed approximately 156 million years ago. During this time, the rocks of the bay were submerged underwater. The Kimmeridge Bay fossils are almost legendary; local palaeontologists dedicate much of their time to discovering new fossils that have been hidden away for millions of years.
Kimmeridge Bay Video
Kimmeridge Bay Surfing
If you feel at home in the waves, you’re going to want to explore the Kimmeridge Bay surfing scene. Locals claim that the bay is the best place to surf on the south coast. No matter what stage you are at in your surfing journey, Kimmeridge Bay has the waves to suit your competency.
There are three options of places to surf in the bay – The Ledges, The Bay and The Bench. The Ledges and The Bay are great spots for longboarding, making them more suitable spots for surfing novices.
The Bench is known for its fast, hollow waves that attract avid surfers from all over the UK. If you’re searching for a new surfing spot, Kimmeridge Bay might just be the place for you! Please note that there are no lifeguards available at Kimmeridge Bay so surfing is at your own risk.
If you’re not a surfing enthusiast, you may prefer to go swimming instead. Wild swimming is an activity that is steadily growing in popularity in the UK. Kimmeridge Bay is known for its safe and clear waters, making it the ideal wild swimming spot.
Those interested in marine life will want to grab their snorkels and get themselves into the clear water of the bay. Visitors have reported spotting spider crabs, bass, velvet swimming crab, and anglerfish. Keen swimmers might also want to visit Chapman’s Pool, a secluded bay approximately 5 miles from Kimmeridge Bay. You can find more details on our guide for Chapman’s Pool visitor information here.
Museum of Jurassic Marine Life
The Museum of Jurassic Marine Life is located in the village of Kimmeridge, which houses a small population of only 90. The museum items are almost single handedly down to the work of one man, Dr Steve Etches MBE. Steve, a plumber turned amateur palaeontologist, collected the museum’s 2,500+ fossils from the Kimmeridge Bay area over approximately 35 years.
As well as fascinating exhibitions and events, the museum operates regular tours of the bay from September to April when the fossil ledges are safe to traverse. You’ll be able to combine both education and enjoyment at this fascinating museum.
Wild Seas Centre
If you’re excited by marine life or have some restless children who need entertaining, we recommend visiting the Wild Seas Centre. Inside the building, you’ll find interactive displays that the whole family can get involved in.
The centre allows you to get up close and personal with a wide variety of beautiful aquatic life and learn more about the Jurassic Coast origins. If you’ve got any questions, an expert team of marine wardens can tell you more about the sea creatures, or point you in the direction of some particularly good rock pools or snorkelling spots. If you’ve found fossils on the beach, the wardens can also help you identify them.
Clavell Tower is a short walk from Kimmeridge Bay, approximately half a mile by foot. Construction of the tower began in 1830 and was funded by Reverend John Richards Clavell.
Reverend Clavell inherited the land in which it is situated, Smedmore Estate, in 1817. The Tuscan style tower was previously at risk of falling into the sea as the cliffs it stands were quickly eroding. Luckily, the Landmark Trust stepped in. They moved the tower 25 metres inland to avoid what would be a devastating topple into the English Channel.
Those looking for a unique staycation will be delighted to discover that the tower can be rented for a short break. The four storey tower has an unbeatable view of the coast that will leave you speechless!
You can visit Landmark Trust website page for Clavell Tower bookings here:
The Jurassic Coast is crammed full of fascinating natural history. Arguably the most famous landmark in Dorset is Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch formed around 140 million years ago. The spectacular arch is one of the most photographed natural landmarks in the South of England.
Durdle Door is only 10 miles away from Kimmeridge Bay. This means that you can traverse the two places in one day if you’re looking for a fun filled day of exploration. If you’re looking for a day out that all the whole family can enjoy, we certainly recommend Kimmeridge Bay and the surrounding areas and attractions. Here’s a link to our article on Durdle Door visitor information and how to get here.
How to Get to Kimmeridge Bay
Getting to Kimmeridge Bay by Car
The address to get to Kimmeridge Bay is Kimmeridge, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5PF
Postcode for Kimmeridge Bay car park for your satnav is – BH20 5PF
This post code will take you close to the beach car park, however, you can also use these co ordinates on your satnav:
From Wareham, follow the signs to Kimmeridge on the B3075. You’ll then come to a toll road leading to the main car park. To access Kimmeridge Bay, the toll road and car parking charges for the day are:
Mini Buses/Motorhomes: £10
Cars with a boat on the roof: £10
Vehicle and trailer: £15
Coaches with more than 15 seats: £20
On Foot/Bicycle: Free
Getting to Kimmeridge Bay by Train
The nearest train stations to Kimmeridge Bay are Wareham and Swanage. From these train stations, you can then get buses and taxis to Kimmeridge Bay as outlined below.
Getting to Kimmeridge Bay by Bus
From Wareham train station, you can get bus number 40 towards Swanage and alight at Norden (Dorset), Norden Farm. From here, you’ll then need to take a taxi for about a 10 minute drive to Kimmeridge Bay.
From Swanage train station, again, take bus number 40 towards Poole and alight at Corfe Castle, Calcraft Road. From here, you’ll need to take a 10 minute taxi drive to Kimmeridge Bay.
Opening Times and Ticket Prices for Kimmeridge Bay
Kimmeridge Bay is open all year round. The car park is open during daylight hours and the Wild Seas Centre is open daily from 10.30am – 5pm, April – October. Admission to Kimmeridge Bay and the Centre is free.
Kimmeridge Bay Car Park Map
Facilities at Kimmeridge Bay
There are toilets on site accommodating disabled access as well. Kimmeridge Bay is dog friendly with dogs being allowed all year round.
So why not pack a picnic, some suitable swimwear and your walking boots and get yourself down to Kimmeridge Bay for a memorable day exploring one of Britain’s most fascinating and beautiful beaches!