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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
There is a charge of £180 / $225 for solo travellers.
Q: What level of fitness is required?
A: The activity level is rated as EASY, suitable for occasional walkers (see our definitions here).
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.
Nights 1 and 2: The Acorn Inn, Evershot, Dorset
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: 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:
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 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.
Enjoying a stroll at Lulworth Cove.
Tour group and leader in front of Durdle Door.
Jonathan Evans discussing the golden sandstones at West Bay, recognizable to many as the backdrop for the TV series Broadchurch.
Statue of pioneering Victorian fossil hunter Mary Anning in Lyme Regis.
Fossil hunting at Kimmeridge Bay.
A “sea dragon”: an ichthyosaur on display at the Etches Museum (Source: Etches Museum).
Corfe Castle is a both village in Dorset and the site of a ruined castle of the same name. The village and castle stand over a gap in the Purbeck Hills.
The Acorn Inn is a 16th-century coaching inn built of local stone. Boasting an award winning restaurant, the inn is now part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection.
Rob Knipe, a GeoCultura tour leader, “reading the rocks” at West Bay.
Enjoying pasties at the Square and Compass, an ultra-traditional, award-winning pub.
The Cobb is an old stone pier forming an extensive harbour to Lyme Regis and is believed to date from the time of Edward I.
Chesil Beach, composed entirely of pebbles and cobbles, extends from West Bay to the Isle of Portland.
Transport for the tour will be by small, luxury minibus.