Lulworth Cove SUP
Unique 360 degree shoreline! Paddleboard and sunbath on the nearest beach to Poole that has genuine turquoise water.
≈ Quick Facts:
- Beach Name: Lulworth Cove
- What is the distance around the cove: Half mile
- How long does it take: 20 minutes
- Shelter from wind: NW – N – NE
- Best Tide: No
- Waves: No
- Pay To Park: Yes
- Parking Distance: 10 minute walk
- Do you pay to launch: No
- SUP Rental: No
- Wildlife: Not seen
- Eat & Drink: Restaurants, pubs & cafes
- Toilets: Yes
- Hazards: Boats entering the cove
≈ Location Guide:
Where to park & launch a SUP in Lulworth?
Drive right through the Lulworth until you can’t go any further, the car park is on your right. Parking costs £1.00 an hour in the summer. It’s a huge car park but fills up very quickly so don’t arrive any later than 11am to guarantee a decent spot. Leave it much later and you can add another 5 minutes to your walk.
On a sunny day the town is buzzing with tourists which can make it challenging carrying your paddleboard through the masses down to the beach. The walk is downhill the whole way so not too arduous. Maybe save a bit of energy for the long uphill walk back, bit of a killer after a long SUP. Probably advisable to bring a set of wheels, would make it a hell of a lot easier. Once you arrive at the cove you will find a slipway directly in front of you that you can easily launch from.
Alternatively you can launch anywhere along the very long, stony beach. I chose this option because I had my wife with me who was on a mission to sunbath. The beach is quite narrow so you can’t totally get away from the constant procession of people trudging up and down trying to find a pitch, but stunning views all the same so totally worth it!
Best wind and tide direction?
You are surrounded on about 200 degrees of the cove by high sided land and cliffs which gives a decent barrier against the wind. So from North West going clockwise to North East will give you decent protection, providing it’s not blowing a gale. I have only paddleboarded here once which was in a light Easterly. You can’t paddle out of the bay in an East, the open ocean is way to rough. The tide isn’t an issue here as far as I know, but if you aren’t a confident paddleboarder then I wouldn’t advise going out if it is an offshore wind and an outgoing tide, next stop France!
What is there to see in Lulworth Cove?
The first thing that will strike you about the cove is the colour of the water, on a sunny day the sea is a brilliant turquoise, stunning! This SUP report is focused on only paddling around the cove. If you paddle off to the left from the slipway you will have huge chalk cliffs towering over you on the left.
There is also usually a sprinkling yachts moored in the centre of the cove which only helps to add to the beautiful picture postcard views. This is a place for chilled out cruising and enjoying your surroundings, gliding over shimmering turquoise water.
The cove is quite unique in its shape, it begs to be paddled in a circular route around the shoreline. There is a sandy beach on the opposite side where you can land safely without dinging the board. Nice spot to stand and look back at the town entrance, it would take 20 minutes to trip your way along the stony beach to get here. There is also a stack of seaweed in the water on the far side that kind of obstructs your access in this area so you will have to paddle on past this to get to the opening to the ocean.
In an East it’s too rough out there so I just traversed the gap to the opposite side and continue around the remainder of the shoreline. Before crossing the gap make sure you watch out for the shuttle boat that takes passengers down to Durdle Door further along the coast, he comes charging in to the bay creating quite a large wake. For your interest, the boat is a large rib, he charges £6.00 return trip to Durdle Door, launching from the pier alongside the slipway at Lulworth, saves doing the monster hill walk to get over there if you have a ton of beach gear to take with you.
I was hoping to actually paddleboard down the coast to Durdle Door the day I was there but in an East wind it was not doable, it’s cross shore, making the sea quite rough, plus you would have to SUP straight in to this coming back. This route would be possible in an offshore wind as the cliffs that run all the way would give you decent shelter.