Enjoy an educational holiday on the Jurassic Coast

Friday, 27 April 2012 9:09 AM

Dorset is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK for its long coastline, beautiful beaches and warm atmosphere. It also has excellent educational value too, with short breaks here offering visitors the chance to learn all about the UK's interesting paleontological history.

Something that the county is famous for is its Jurassic Coast and, with an abundance of dinosaur bones found here, this area is particularly interesting for children wanting to discover more about these ancient creatures.

The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles and stretches between Dorset and Devon on the southern coast of England. This area has been give World Heritage Site status due to its geological importance, with some rocks spanning 185 million years of history.

While its name suggests that most of the fossils found here are from the Jurassic period, rocks can actually be discovered from the Triassic and Cretaceous eras too.

Visiting the Jurassic Coast could be a good choice for a short holiday, as popular Dorset towns such as Bridport, Weymouth, Swanage and Lyme Regis are all within easy reach of the shoreline. Therefore, you will find plenty of holiday cottages near the Jurassic Coast that will enable you to explore the beaches by day before retreating to your home away from home as the sun begins to set.

Once you have settled into your accommodation, head straight to the coastline, as this is where you could discover some prehistoric fossils of your own. Areas that are particularly rich in these extracts are Lyme Regis and Charmouth's cliffs. Look carefully and you may find remnants of animals that swam in the sea during the Jurassic period millions of years ago.

You can join the crowds of eager geologists and budding palaeontologists who come to the beach to find something special to take home with them. This stretch of coast has an abundance of fossils, making it one of the richest areas in the world with regards to Jurassic relics.

If you fancy learning more about the area's past and the creatures that used to live during this period, you can take a guided fossil hunting walk from the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre or the Lyme Regis Museum. Following experts as you stroll along the beach will give you a far better chance of spotting some fossils, as they know exactly where to look for them.

One popular destination for fossil hunters is Lulworth Cove, as dinosaur footprints can be seen near this natural bay. This is also a great place to visit, because, as well as its close proximity to fossil-rich locations on the beach, it is one of Dorset's most beautiful spots.

The cove offers breathtaking views of the sea, particularly during the summertime, and tourists looking for a break from all the excavation work will be able to stop at one of the many cafes here for a bite to eat. Toilets, a car park and boat trips all make this a popular destination among visitors to the county, so head here early to make the most of the bay before the crowds arrive.

Once you have replenished yourself, continue walking down the coastline where you may locate a few more fossils before you call it a day. You could bring some souvenirs back to your Dorset holiday cottage, but don't forget to only take what you need and leave some for other explorers coming to the area who are eager to find a few fossils for themselves.

 

Visit the Jurassic Coast on a weekend in Dorset

Visit the Jurassic Coast on a weekend in Dorset

Dorset's Jurassic Coast is the ideal place to head to if you only have a few days to spend in the county. It is perhaps one of the most famous attractions here and with rocks recording nearly 200 million years of history, it has reason to be.

Great natural attractions in Dorset

Dorset: unmissable attractions for nature and wildlife lovers

If you and your partner are both wildlife lovers and enjoy exploring natural wonders, it is well worth choosing Dorset as your next holiday destination. Situated in the south-west of England, this is home to some of the finest and most exciting natural attractions in the country.

National Picnic Week

Top five UK picnic spots for National Picnic Week

In celebration of National Picnic Week from June 17 - 23, the National Picnic Week team have revealed their top UK spots for a picnic. To choose the spots the National Picnic Week Team travelled the length and breadth of the UK, sampling culinary delights and exploring the countryside.

Explore Dorset's houses and gardens on a short break

Explore Dorset's houses and gardens on a short break

Dorset is an ideal location to head to if you're looking for somewhere in the UK ideal for a short break. The region has plenty to offer in terms of attractions, being home to some of the most picturesque houses and gardens in the country. Here are just a few you can visit during your brief trip.

Christchurch: ideal for a weekend away

Christchurch: ideal for a weekend away

Dorset is home to many picturesque locations, but if you want somewhere that will enable you to combine your interest in history, nature and the coast, head to Christchurch. This pretty town is full of heritage and quaint locations, so you'll have plenty do on a weekend away.

Corfe is a picture-perfect Dorset village

Corfe Castle: an ideal daytrip on a short break

Dorset is an excellent setting for a romantic short break with your partner. Stunning countryside, interesting sights and a welcoming atmosphere all combine to make your holiday something to remember and Corfe in Purbeck is a great choice for a day out.

The village of Corfe with the castle behind

Feature: Dorset’s historical wonders

The quintessential English county, Dorset is a spectacularly beautiful place full of charming villages, historic ruins, green countryside and sun kissed beaches. As the whole county has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty...

revellers enjoying one of Britain's festivals

Feature: Family friendly festivals for the summer

With the British summer well and truly upon us, people from all over the country are busy making plans for festivals. Sitting on the grass, eating delicious organic food, and listening to favourite or new bands make summer festivals brilliant fun.

Coffee with a local in Amsterdam

Amsterdam

This week IdealShortBreaks.co.uk is in Amsterdam drinking strong black coffee with local Machteld Ligtvoet, who gives us tips on some of his favourite local haunts – including where you can go to find one of the best views of the city.

Top five alternative Christmas markets

Alternative Christmas markets

Forget the likes of Germany and Eastern European favourites, Budapest, Krakow and Prague this year and why not head to some alternative Christmas market destinations for something a little different this festive season?