England’s Jurassic Coast: 2-night Guided Small Group Tour

Discover the many stories of the dramatic Jurassic Coast, a geological wonder that for centuries has inspired fossil hunters, authors, artists, film makers and adventurers

Highlights

  • We hunt for fossils at the best site, at the tour time selected by our expert
  • As England’s only natural UNESCO world heritage site, this stretch of the Dorset coastline is deemed as important as the Galapagos and Yellowstone National Park; beautiful as well as ancient, it holds many secrets waiting to be discovered
  • Our expert guides will bring to life the fascinating geological landforms, rock formations and fossil treasures of the Jurassic Coast, and how they have influenced where castles and monasteries were built
  • All of Dorset’s key landmarks are visited and their geology and history revealed:
    • Fossil hunting - at a site selected by our local expert
    • Durdle Door - with its iconic limestone arch
    • Corfe Castle - a Saxon stronghold and Norman fortress
    • Lulworth Cove - a perfect horseshoe-shaped bay
  • Your expert tour guide of Lyme Regis will tell the story of Mary Anning, a pioneering Victorian fossil hunter
  • The activity level is rated as EASY (view our activity level definitions)
  • The tour begins and ends at The Acorn Inn, Evershot, Dorset.

Sustainable travel options: we make it easy for you to leave your car behind, arranging ‘meet and greet’ pick-up and return drop-off, if requested:

  • By arrangement (additional cost) from nearby mainline stations or Southampton or London airports at the start of the tour
  • Please contact us to discuss options +44 2081 451001, use the Ask a question tab or complete our Contact Form 

Overview

The UNESCO-designated Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site, more popularly known as the Jurassic Coast, displays world-famous rocks, fossils and coastal landforms and provides a unique and spectacular glimpse into a period spanning 185 million years. Over the course of this two-night tour our expert local guides will help you fine fossils and tell you the story of this intriguing coastline, sharing key insights behind its fascinating landscapes, history and geology.

The insider knowledge is provided by our expert guide Jonathan Evans, a geologist who lives locally and is a Trustee of Lyme Regis Museum.

How did the dramatic coast and landscapes evolve? The tour unravels the early history from arid desert landscapes when the dinosaurs appeared (around 240 million years ago) through to shallow tropical seas which saw the rise of titanic marine reptiles, the peak of the dinosaur period and the evolution of ammonites. Dorset remained under warm sub-tropical seas while chalk was produced, and finally the tour reveals the changes and erosion of the last 10,000 years following the last ice age.

An exclusive Lyme Regis walk will highlight Mary Anning (1799-1847), whose fossil finds intrigued the Establishment scientists and formed the basis for our understanding of dinosaur evolution.

In addition, you will have a chance to go fossil hunting at a location selected by our expert, where you can be the first to release fossils from millions of years of burial! This tour also includes a visit to the Etches Collection museum, to see its newly-displayed giant pliosaur skull, which featured on a David Attenborough documentary.

Above all, this is a landscape that leaves a lasting impression.

Tour Map

Day 1 – Arrival

The Acorn Inn

Guests arrive at their leisure this afternoon and have a chance to relax and enjoy The Acorn Inn in Evershot. Early evening welcome to Dorset and introduction to the itinerary from your guide Jonathan Evans.

Group dinner at The Acorn Inn.

Day 2 – Lyme Regis

Searching for Ammonites in Lyme Regis

The group departs The Acorn Inn after breakfast in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle. Today includes an exclusive morning fossil hunt on the beach with Jonathan Evans, geologist and Trustee of Lyme Regis Museum, and discussion with your expert guide on the life of Mary Anning, the extraordinary Victorian fossil collector.

Free time in Lyme Regis for lunch.

Meet up again early afternoon for a guided walk, along the coast to see Mary Anning’s statue and to include the Cobb, the Lyme Regis Harbour Wall and famous setting of the film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, with Meryl Streep and, more recently, in the new Netflix film Persuasion. Option to visit Lyme Regis museum.

Return to The Acorn Inn, free evening.

Day 3 – Corfe Castle, Kingston Church, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

View of Corfe Castle, Corfe, Dorset

Check out of The Acorn Inn and take a private guided walk around Corfe Castle and the village with our local expert. Built by William the Conqueror, it was one of the first castles in England to be built from stone. It is positioned to defend one of the only gaps in the steep-sided Purbeck ridge which extends across Dorset.

Next stop is a short journey to visit Kingston Church, nicknamed 'the Cathedral of Purbeck', which according to John Betjeman 'gleams with Purbeck marble' followed by lunch at an ultra traditional local pub. 

After lunch the group will travel to Lulworth Cove, Stair Hole and Durdle Door to see the iconic geological features of the Jurassic Coast and learn how they were formed, followed by a visit to the Etches Collection Museum.

Lulworth Cove. This wonderful geological masterpiece and striking horseshoe-shaped cove has been carved out of the cliffs. Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch, made of rocks some 140 million years old. Stair Hole is where the rock layers are folded into a remarkable structure called the ‘Lulworth Crumple’. This feature and much more in the area are a northern outpost recording a continental collision of Africa with Europe that formed the Alpine Mountains around 50 million years ago. We'll finish off with a visit to the Etches Collection museum, which houses the spectacular fossil skull of a pliosaur, carefully extracted from the cliffs above Kimmeridge Bay in 2023.

The tour ends late afternoon, returning participants to The Acorn Inn or nearest railway station by arrangement.

Note: this provisional itinerary is subject to change.

Single Supplement

There is a charge of £180 / $225 for solo travellers.

Activity Level and Transport

Q: What level of fitness is required?

A: The activity level is rated as EASY, suitable for occasional walkers (view our activity level definitions).

Q: How much walking is involved?

A: Our tours are aimed at people of all ages who enjoy being out of doors and like walking, but we do not describe them as walking holidays. This tour involves walks of up to 3 km (1.5 miles) and takes in coastal sections with rocky foreshores, and often many steps to reach the beach. Sturdy waterproof footwear is essential.  The weather is variable, so a waterproof jacket should be packed

Q. How does the group travel?

A. Participants will travel by small luxury coach, which has air conditioning. The group size is limited to 14 people, plus the tour leader.

Q: How much travelling in the minibus is planned for each day?

A: Travel times between locations is kept to a minimum with only the occasional journey of 1hr-1hr 30mins, and that is usually to return to the hotel at the end of the day.

Q: What happens if the weather is bad, or it rains?

A: We build flexibility into our itineraries and watch the weather forecast closely. Where possible, we will adjust the itinerary to ensure we take full advantage of the good weather for the outdoor locations in the schedule. We always have plenty of alternative indoor places to visit and great cafes and pubs for a pit-stop if needed. Our tour manager liaises with the expert guide (and the driver) to ensure time in the minibus is minimised and there is maximum time to enjoy the Dorset walks and stunning views.

The Tour Includes/Excludes

The Tour Includes:

  • The services of your Tour Leader, who will be with the group throughout the tour and local Blue Badge Guide on second full day
  • Transportation costs from the start to the end of the tour 
  • All accommodation costs for the two nights, assuming double occupancy rooms. There is a supplement for single occupancy of a double room
  • Two breakfasts, dinner at The Acorn Inn on the first evening
  • Lunch on second day
  • Entry fee to Corfe Castle and The Etches Collection, local guide fees and activity fees, where arranged as part of the tour
  • Service charges for accomodation and any meals included in the tour price

The Tour Excludes:

  • Single supplement for solo travellers, see 'Need to Know' section for price
  • Extra or optional activities not described in the tour
  • Dinner on the second night
  • Lunch in Lyme Regis
  • Alcoholic drinks with meals
  • Personal expenditures, and extras at the hotel
  • Transportation to the start venue or from the end venue of the tour. However, (at extra cost) we are happy to arrange transport and pick-up from mainline railway stations or transport from Southampton or London airports. Please contact us for details
  • Passport and visa fees
  • Participants should provide their own travel insurance 

Accommodation

Nights 1 and 2: The Acorn Inn, Evershot, Dorset

The Acorn Inn

The Acorn Inn manages to be a popular village pub, a foodie favourite and a comfortable place to stay. This 16th-century coaching inn is packed to the rafters with character – and has an enviable literary heritage too.

Note: If required for reasons beyond our control, GeoCultura reserves the right to substitute alternative accommodation of equal or higher quality.

Deposit and Payment Terms

Deposit: A deposit of 10% of the tour price is due upon registration for a tour.

Final payment: Full payment is due 60 days before a tour begins, or upon registration if within the 60-day window.

Cancellation by participant: A participant may cancel a registration after securing a confirmed place on a tour for any reason. The following refund terms will apply:

  • Greater than 60 days before tour begins: Any monies paid plus half of the deposit will be refunded
  • 30 to 59 days before tour begins: 35% of tour price will be refunded
  • 15 to 29 days before tour begins: 25% of tour price will be refunded
  • Within 14 days of tour or during the tour: No monies will be refunded

Cancellation by GeoCultura: GeoCultura reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrolment, inability to run the tour or concerns about the safety, health or welfare of participants. If a tour is cancelled before it begins, all monies paid will be refunded (including any deposit).

Please refer to our Terms and Conditions page for additional details.

Jonathan Evans

 Jonathan Evans

Jonathan Evans currently resides in Dorset, England, close to Corfe Castle. He has guided many groups along the Dorset and Devon coasts, both for geoscientists and individuals from other backgrounds. 

Jonathan has spent his career in the petroleum industry, initially in technical roles and then in management roles in India, Pakistan and Oman and, finally, global leadership roles from the UK. More recently, Jonathan elected to retire from industry to pursue other interests. 

He was involved in supporting the application for the Jurassic Coast to be recognized with UNESCO World Heritage Site status.  

Jonathan’s interests include sailing, beekeeping and organic vegetable gardening. 

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