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Durlston Country Park

Adonis Blue butterfly copyright natural england

Durlston Castle

Sally King Globe and Castle - Taken by Richard Edmonds

A 280 acre paradise of sea cliffs, coastal limestone downland, meadows, hedgerows and woods.

Durlston Country Park, National Nature Reserve and Castle, situated 1 mile from Swanage in Dorset is a countryside paradise with stupendous views, the Great Globe, a variety of walks and fascinating geology there is always something new to see and do.

This superb site in Purbeck, owned and managed by Dorset County Council's Ranger Team, is governed by the ethos of 'Conservation for Public Enjoyment'.

Visit the Durlston website

Visit the Durlston Country Park website (opens in a new window) for more information on things to see and do including events, exhibitions, the visitor centre and facilities, wildlife and geology, education programme and how to get involved.

Opening times and entry charges

Durlston Country park is open all year, sunrise to sunset.
It's free entry but there are car parking charges:

There is a large pay and display car-park on site.

Car Parking Charges:

Time of yearCharges
Easter - October£5 all day or £4 for 4hrs, £2.50 for 2hrs or £2.00 for 1 hour
November - MarchWeekdays £1 all day, Weekends £2 all day
Coaches £8 - very limited parking but coaches must park in the first car-park area on the left, (signposted Castle, Globe & Lookout)

Parking charges are payable all day every day.  There are no concessions for disabled visitors or blue badge holders, although there is a drop off point by the Visitor centre.  Overnight parking is not allowed.

Durlston Castle is our new Visitor Centre

A wonderful renovation of the Victorian Castle, fully accessible with a timeline from the car park, daily and monthly wildlife, geology, live camera images and regularly changing Exhibitions and Art in our gallery. Also home to Seventhwave café and restaurant and our shop (selling books, souvenirs and locally made gifts and jewellery). Come and spend the day here.
Open every day 10am to 5pm in the summer and 10am - 4pm in the winter.

Always Something To Do

Be it visiting the Castle, seeing the exhibits, walking a trail, watching the birds from the hide or admiring the view.
You can also take part in an event - including Astronomy evenings, bird walks, children's activities, workshops and more.

Particular wildlife to look out for includes: Guillemots, Fulmars, Whitethroats, Stonechat, Skylarks, Peregrine Falcon. Early Spider Orchids (plus 8 other orchid species), Early English Gentian, Cowslips, Thrift. Adonis Blue, Lulworth Skipper, Marbled White butterflies, Bottlenose Dolphins and much more.

What's on

There are a variety of events at Durlston between Autumn 2013 and Spring 2014 (pdf, 164kb) (opens in a new window)  to see and take part in.

There is an Astronomy Course 'The Cosmos Old and New' (pdf, 146kb) (opens in a new window) taking place on Thursday 7 and 21 November, and the 5 and 19 December. Join Bob Mizon FRAS to learn practical astronomy skills, £50 for a four part course.

There will be an art exhibition from the 'Purbeck Collective' (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window) from November 23 to December 15, open daily between 11am and 4pm. With prints, textiles, cards, jewellery and a host of Christmas gifts made by local artists on offer. Find out more on the Purbeck Collective (opens in a new window) website.

Gateway to the Jurassic Coast

Durlston is a gateway to the  Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (opens in a new window) which runs from Exmouth in the west to Old Harry Rocks at Ballard Down.  

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