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Find your Feel Good: Camping in Dorset

There’s no better way to feel good this summer than heading for the great outdoors, and a week of adventure and camping in Dorset has it all. Immerse yourself in nature with long coastal walks and wildlife-watching; get active in the sea with swimming, snorkelling, and paddleboarding; take a break from life and relax on the beach. At night, get the best sleep of your life under the stars – from the comfort of your roadsurfer campervan bed of course! The camping in Dorset is stunning, with campsites deep in quiet rural landscapes or right on the beach. Pack your favourite swimwear, start your engines, and get ready to crack open a can of Feel Good on your South Coast adventure.

camping in dorset with roadsurfer

© roadsurfer GmbH

Day 1 – London to the Isle of Purbeck via Poole

Pick up your roadsurfer campervan from London and begin the drive from London to Poole. The journey takes two and a half hours, skirting the western flank of the South Downs and continuing on through the New Forest National Park to Poole. We’ve got you covered with a selection of refreshing Feel Good Drinks in your roadsurfer happy bags to sweeten up your journey.

What to do

  • Beach bum: Head down to pristine Sandbanks Beach, which has won the converted blue flag award for over 30 years in a row.
  • Wildlife watcher: Take a ferry from Poole Quay to Brownsea Island, home to nightjars, sika deer, and red squirrels.
  • Activity lover: Sandbanks beach offers windsurfing, paddleboarding, or a boat trip along the Jurassic coastline towards Swanage.
  • Refuel: Sandbanks offers plenty of cafes and restaurants. On Bownsea Island visit the National Trust café for delicious food and glorious views.

Back on the road, head southwest to the Isle of Purbeck. Visitors to Sandbanks can take the quick chain ferry across to Studland on the Isle of Purbeck from the Sandbanks ferry terminal.

Where to stay

The Isle of Purbeck has no shortage of beautiful campsites. Try East Creech Farm, surrounded by nature reserves and peaceful countryside.

Day 2 – Isle of Purbeck

dorset camping in purbeck with roadsurfer

The Isle of Purbeck is not actually an island, but it does border the sea on three sides. With extensive coastline and abundant countryside, there is truly something for everyone here.

What to do

  • Beach bum: Head to Kimmeridge Bay, a marine wildlife reserve perfect for swimming and snorkelling. Another beach away from the crowds is Chapman’s Pool: park at Worth Matravers and hunt for fossils on the shore or take a dip in the quiet waters. If you’re visiting on a weekend or during stand-down, take the opportunity of Lulworth Ranges being closed and visit Worbarrow Bay. The bay is a secluded sweep of beach surrounded by chalk and sandstone cliffs; being a mile from the car park means that it’s rarely busy. This is Ministry of Defence land, so sticking to the marked pathways is essential.
  • Wildlife watcher: Visit Arne, an RSPB sanctuary with open heaths, ancient oak woodland, walking trails, and the beautiful Shipstal beach.
  • Happy hiker: Set off east from Kimmeridge to Egmont Point along the southeast coast path, head north to Kingston, and then west back to Kimmeridge via the Swyre Head lookout point (an 8.7 mile loop with 800m of elevation change).
  • Activity lover: At Kimmeridge Bay, there’s a summer snorkelling trail underwater – pick up masks at the wildlife hut – and in the right conditions, there’s good surf off Broadbeach on the western side of the bay.
  • Refuel: Visit Clavell’s in Kimmeridge for locally sourced “field to fork” food. Head to the pub at Worth Matravers to warm up by the fire or cool down in the garden, depending on the season!

Where to stay

If you want to miss the crowds at Durdle Door on day 3 you’ll need an early start. Drive over to Durdle Door Holiday Park for the night and spend a quiet early morning enjoying the scenery before the crowds arrive. If you’d like to stay in the area, Steeple Leaze Farm and Smedmore Caravan Site both offer campervan pitches no more than a 10-minute drive from the beach.

Day 3 – Lulworth

camping in dorset durdle door

For most visitors, Lulworth means Durdle Door, but there’s plenty more to see and do.

What to do 

  • Beach bum: Durdle Door draws a big crowd on a good day, whatever the season, and it’s not hard to see why. Enjoy the view of the famous arch from the top of the cliffs and then spend the day on the beach here, or at Man O’War beach on the opposite side of the headland (the water at Man O’War can be more sheltered on days when the sea is rough). Nearby, Lulworth Cove is perfect for swimming in calm waters with its naturally formed harbour.
  • Happy hiker: Take a 30-minute walk to Lulworth Cove, or head westward from Durdle Door along the rugged coastline; White Noathe beach is 2.2 miles away plus a challenging scramble down the cliffs.
  • Activity lover: Adventure-seekers can head to Lulworth where Lulworth Outdoors offers activities such as coasteering and kayaking.
  • Refuel: Lulworth Cove has quaint seaside pubs and cafes.

Where to stay

You can either stay at Durdle Door to experience the morning magic once more or drive just under an hour to your next destination, Seatown and stay at Golden Cap Holiday Park. Visit the Anchor Inn for an evening drink or take a picnic on the beach.

Day 4 – Seatown and West Bay

camping in dorset west bay

With its rural setting and sweeping beach, Seatown is another Dorset coastal treasure. Nearby West Bay offers shops, cafes, and galleries with a backdrop of golden cliffs shimmering in the sunlight.

What to do

  • Beach bum: Seatown’s long beach means that even in summer you’re sure to find somewhere peaceful to lay out a towel and relax.
  • Happy hiker: Walkers will want to set out for Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast. There are plenty of footpaths to make up a loop back to Seatown if you don’t feel like retracing your steps; if you’ve had enough of the sea views or want some shade on a hot day, head for the woods at Langdon Hill.
  • Activity lover: Visit West Bay where you can head out on a paddle boarding. You can book a boat trip through Lyme Bay Rib Charter, who during summer also offer water-skiing and wakeboarding. Back in Seatown why not unwind with a sauna at Seaside Sauna Haus on the beach.
  • Refuel: In Seatown, the Anchor Inn offers great pub food, or at the weekend try the woodfired pizza at Chariot of Fire. Over in West Bay, there are plenty of options; our recommendation is Rise where you can enjoy a refreshing Feel Good drink and delicious food

Where to stay

Make the most of everything on offer in the area and stay another night at Golden Cap holiday Park, saving the driving for the journey back to London tomorrow.

Day 5 – Lyme Regis

camping in dorset lyme regis roadsurfer

A quick 20-minute drive from Seatown brings you to Lyme Regis, a geologically important town where Mary Anning identified dinosaur fossils in the 1800s.

What to do

  • Beach bum: All the beaches in the area are excellent for fossil hunting, and fossils are regularly replenished thanks to landslides that expose new rocks.
  • Activity lover: Rent a paddleboard from one of a number of water sports outlets on the beach. Don’t miss the Ammonite Pavement at the southwest end of town!
  • Refuel: Wander around town and refuel at one of the many pubs and cafes – Swim, sister to Rise in West Bay, is a favourite and is stocked with Feel Good drinks.

The drive back to the roadsurfer London depot takes around 3 hours.

Got extra time to spare?

If you have the time to extend your trip to seven days, why not spend some time in the New Forest National Park? The New Forest is an adventurer’s wonderland with miles of trails, tracks, and waterways to explore.

What to do

  • Wildlife watcher: You’ll be hard-pressed not to find any wildlife in the New Forest! Birds, insects, deer, and the famous New Forest ponies all make themselves at home. Venture down a quiet path and keep still, waiting for creatures to reveal themselves, or visit Bolderwood deer sanctuary for some guaranteed sightings.
  • Happy hiker: On foot, Bolderwood to the west of Lyndhurst and Rhinefield to the southwest both have incredible ornamental drives that make for great walking; Rhinefield has some of the tallest trees in the New Forest, while Bolderwood features the 500-year-old Knightswood Oak, and Highland Water for a peaceful meander along the river. Both areas of woodland have an extensive trail system for walking.
  • Activity lover: Visit Lyndhurst where you can hire bikes and explore the extensive cycle trails – wheel your way around Denny Wood to the south east, or plan ahead using the New Forest cycle route guide. If you feel like getting out on the water, drive down to beautiful Beaulieu and go canoeing or kayaking.
  • Refuel: both Lyndhurst and Beaulieu have plenty of options for food and drink.

Where to stay 

Stay at Ocknell campsite for easy access to both the A31 and a wide range of activities. Set amongst the trees, the pitches here are surrounded by grass and ferns, with secret pathways winding through camp. Just keep in mind that like many New Forest campsites, Ocknell campsite doesn’t provide showers.

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