If someone asked you to choose a tour of any region of England, which one would you pick? That question was recently posed to me, and in selecting an area to visit, I came across an itinerary that included a destination called Durdle Door in Dorset. It sounded like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland. I had to go.

Coast at Durdle Door

Last weekend I traveled on a three-day tour of southwest England compliments of Rabbie’s, a Scottish tour operator that has recently started offering small group tours of England. Their South West Highlights tour included stops at Stonehenge, Bath, Exeter, Glastonbury, and Tavistock, as well as visits to Dartmoor National Park and the Dorset Coast.

Boat in Lulworth

The last of these was the first place we went after Stonehenge. We started in Lulworth, a small seaside village full of pretty thatched roof cottages and quaint cafes and restaurants. Along the high street ran a stream with colorful boats in it, and at the end was a beautiful cove with a pebble beach.

Lulworth Cove

Even in the winter Lulworth lured visitors to its shops and shores, which were buzzing when we arrived.

Pond in Lulworth

My tour group consisted of me and two Australian university students, and the three of us stopped at the Dandelion Cafe Bistro for a quick lunch of bangers and mash before exploring the town and the cove.

Bangers and Mash

Afterwards we hopped back on the van, a shiny new vehicle driven by Kevin, our guide for the trip. He drove us up a hill to Durdle Door, which, as it turns out, was not a location from a fairytale, but a naturally formed rock arch on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

Durdle Door

Despite being real, Durdle Door could have come out of a fantasy. The stunning cliffs, the long sandy beaches, and the beautiful limestone arch were exactly what I least expected to find in England.

Cliffs at Durdle Door

In fact, the warmth of the winter day, the clear blue skies, and the spectacular rocky coastline made me feel like I was back in California. Maybe I had fallen down the rabbit hole after all.

Beach at Durdle Door

But I didn’t mind. The atmosphere was enough to make me want to stay in Wonderland—er, Durdle Door and the Dorset Coast—forever. But the tour had an itinerary and I had to follow it, and off we went to the next stop: Exeter. To be continued…

8 Comments on Lady at Durdle Door

  1. AS from one Expat California style to another, there are even more jewels in the crown yet to be discovered. I settled in Scotland and there are places here it will remind you of California, especially in the Highlands. The Trees, Douglas Fir are from my childhood memories growning up in California never knowing they are from Scotland. Do enjoy the rest of your tours. There are more places off the beaten track in Scotland that could be of interest. Certainly beautiful to see. Get to know the real Scots, more than Whisky and Tartans!
    Bye for now fellow Californian,

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