Discovering Dorset’s West Bay in One Day

Spoil yourself and discover Dorset’s sensational West Bay – you can see loads in one day…

Whilst on an English summer jaunt and based in the lush county of Somerset, an escape to striking Dorset is a must whilst on a camping trip in Cornwall.

What to do in West Bay

West Bay offers a plethora of activities depending on the time of year you visit – remember the coast along south-west England sees wild unpredictable weather.

Hire a canoe, whizz around Lyme Bay in a rib boat, take a fishing trip, just fish from the beach, or indulge in an electric bike tour around the quieter country lanes to explore surrounding enchanting pretty villages. A dip in the chilly sea, a long coastal cliff walk along the Jurassic Coast, and a picnic at the harbour or seaside are free activities for all of the family to enjoy.

The village of West Bay does get busy in the summer months but still is a pleasant spot to explore.

Jurassic Coast

Around 154 kilometres from East Devon to Dorset is renown as England’s Jurassic Coast and you can walk all of this route, should you so desire.

The Jurassic Coast’s geological history spans some 185 million years over the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.

Chesil Beach was once a hot spot for smugglers during the 18th and 19th centuries when smuggling was referred to as “free trading”.

Chesil Beach, West Bay, Dorset, England, Europe

The soaring burnt-orange cliffs are an intrinsic part of this dramatic rugged coastline, which effortlessly paints a picture of its once unsavoury history.

South West Coast Path

Why not walk some of the South West Coast Path (SW Coast Path) whilst you’re in the Jurassic Park area?

The extensive coastal path hugs some 1,014 kilometres around the south-west of England. The blue line following the coastline in this map by OpenStreetMaps on WikiMediacommons gives you an idea of the path’s expansive distance.

SW Coast Path, England, Europe
Map: OpenStreetMaps on WikiMediacommons

Aafter walking through West Bay and on Chesil Beach’s opposing side, you can continue on the SW Coast Path once more for a contrasting view.

SW Coast Path, West Bay, England, Europe
The vistas are just as spectacular and the walk as strenuous in parts as you ascend on this path.

SW Coast Path, West Bay, England, Europe

West Bay village

Described as a small harbour settlement and resort town’, West Bay is home to loads of gorgeous quaint historic houses and also offers many National Trust gardens.

West Bay, England, Europe

The Bridport Arms Hotel provides accommodation as well as hearty meals in its Heritage Listed charming building, still adorned with the traditional rustic thatched roof, which today is an expensive alternative.

Bridport Arms Hotel, West Bay, England, Europe

Take a stroll along the River Brit, which is much more protected from the seafront’s elements, especially in today’s windy weather.

River Boat Hire, West Bay, England, Europe
Many bikers captivate the village’s roundabout today before heading back out once more into the threatening English weather.

West Bay, England, Europe

The West Bay Hotel

Vibrant colours match the 18th-century West Bay Hotel’s vibrant and shady history of smuggling…

West Bay Hotel, West Bay, England, Europe
Why not rest a while in the 18th-century inn overlooking the Jurassic Coast beach?

This relaxed restaurant and hotel is only a 2-minute-walk from Bridport Harbour, 2 miles from Bridport, and 1 mile from the Bridport & West Dorset Golf Club.

West Bay Hotel, West Bay, England, Europe

The Customs House

Popular with families, there is always the time when in West Bay for a visit to the Customs House unique emporium.

The Customs House, West Bay, England, Europe

The Customs Maid Cafe includes dog-friendly indoor and outdoor seating areas whilst you unwind, surrounded by more eclectic memorabilia.

The Customs Maid Cafe, West Bay, England, Europe

Brimming with trinkets, antiques, and collectables from a bygone era over 3 fabulous floors and enclosed in ancient walls dating back some 200-years, I’m sure you’ll discover something to buy with over 100 traders in this stone building.

The Customs House, West Bay, England, Europe

Each time I visit, there seems to be an abundance of ever-changing collector’s pieces.

Bridport Harbour

Picturesque manmade Bridport Harbour juts out proudly at the end of ochre-coloured Chesil Beach and interrupts the SW Coastal Path walk for a while.

First built in 1388 the harbour saw many expansions over centuries to accommodate the increasing number of ships and also lucrative trade of rope and nets. And in recent years, additional major redevelopment to accommodate changing wind and sea currents, which previously made the entrance unnavigable.

The Harbour, West Bay, England, Europe
Looking back to Bridport beachfront, the ominous clouds following us during the day start to deepen and close in bringing a spot of rain.

Today is not the day for swimming. Although it’s summer, the water is still quite cold.

The Harbour, West Bay, England, Europe

A couple of plaques along the harbour serve as a reminder but also to explain this region’s invaluable part in WWII.

The Harbour, West Bay, England, Europe

The long trail in the distance you see leading back up the hill in this photo is the other part of today’s long walk. Still part of the SW Coast Path, this section of the path is an amazing hike offering a diverse sweeping panorama.

The Harbour, West Bay, England, Europe

Where to eat?

Love to try new spots so there’s always time to stop off for a leisurely coffee and delicious cake or savoury, especially after a very long coastal walk.

Today, The Cornish Bakery provides warm and comfy surrounds. Great service from staff and you can enjoy yummy freshly-baked goodies at reasonable prices.

The Cornish Bakery, West Bay, England, Europe

The Station Kitchen

This very funky but vintage-style restaurant lying along the old West Bay train station is worth a mention, if only for its concept and ambience. Unfortunately, discovered this one too late in the day on the way to the car so didn’t stop for food, just a peek.

The Station Kitchen, West Bay, England, Europe
Managed to sneak a photo from the carriage’s doorway. Love the preserved interior graced with alluring retro furnishings and peculiar curios, which is like stepping back in time.

The Station Kitchen, West Bay, England, Europe

If you’re not dining in the actual train, then the restaurant itself does have internal and outdoor seating areas.

The Station Kitchen, West Bay, England, Europe
Will definitely check this cool spot out for an extended break on my next return to West Bay.

Where is West Bay?

West Bay, England, EuropeFrom the base in Street, Somerset, it’s an easy drive of just over an hour before you arrive at beautiful West Bay, in the scenic county of Dorset.

Parking can be a problem in busy West Bay and of course as with most places in England, it’s paid-parking. Expect to pay £0.50 per hour or £2.00 for the day depending on which car park you use.

Visit Nilla’s Photography for more images. More posts on the United Kingdom at Image Earth Travel.

Chesil Beach, West Bay, Dorset, England, Europe

26 responses to “Discovering Dorset’s West Bay in One Day”

  1. nitinsingh Avatar

    Nice image n good writing

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you for your great feedback and happy that you enjoyed this post!

  2. Gillian Morris Avatar
    Gillian Morris

    Ah lovely Nilla. Your photos are fab x

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Thank you Gill for the lovely feedback. x

  3. LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia Avatar

    I just love coastal towns, they are so simple and charming!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      So do I – especially in south-west England, they’re very quaint and love the thatched houses.

  4. equinoxio21 Avatar

    One more reason to want to spend a few months in Britain… Time, time…

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes, so much to see and so little time Brian.

  5. Christie Avatar

    Lovely places Nilla! Cornwall is on my list for awhile now, but just short of time😉

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Yes, time is an issue when travelling and hope you get to Cornwall in the near future. I’m sure you’d love it Christie. Cheers, Nilla 🙂

  6. the eternal traveller Avatar

    We spent a week staying just outside Bridport and explored the area thoroughly. It’s so pretty and very interesting. We had a very tasty evening meal at the Bridport Arms Hotel too.

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Carol, sounds like a lovely stay. I haven’t eaten at the Bridport Arms but bet the food was good. I love the delicious pies in English pubs, did you try one there? 😋

  7. Kelly MacKay Avatar

    Yes, this area is on my list. Thanks for showing us around. I grew up in a village called West Bay, On the Bra d’or lake of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The name caught my eye. Cheers

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Kelly, I’d imagine that the name West Bay was brought over with the British?
      Glad I could wet your appetite to visit and show you around a little – love this area of England, cheers, Nilla

      1. Kelly MacKay Avatar

        Oh you did entice me to get therefor sure I am going. Most of the settlers in Cape Breton came from the Scotland during the clearances. Many of the places around my home have carried these names such as Inverness, Oban, Loch lomond. I did a tour of Great Britain twenty years ago and then returned to Scotland in 2010. I have not yet gotten to the south coast, I must get there.

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Wow, sounds like your area is also steeped in history.
        I’m glad this post has re-ignited your desire to return to the UK, cheers, Nilla

  8. Latitude Adjustment: A Tale of Two Wanderers Avatar

    It looks like a cool place. We will have to check it out one day!

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      I have another post from 2015 on Dorset as visit this beautiful area whenever I’m in the UK. I’m sure you’d love it there…

  9. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

    Very interesting
    I actually liked the part about the village because I’m really into places with historical houses in them

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Mohamad, then I’m sure you’d love travelling through the UK, especially in Dorset – such a picturesque area of England with loads of history.
      Also love Cornwall for its plethora of history.

      1. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

        It’s quite interesting to study the history of other countries
        I actually know a lot about Great Britain’s history throughout studying WW1 and 2

      2. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        Excellent and great that you have an interest in history, more people should so we don’t forget the atrocities that’s come to pass but is still happening today.
        Not sure if you’ve seen ‘The World at War’ (ITV) and the ‘The War’ (Ken Burns), you may want to see these…

      3. Mohamad Toutounji Avatar

        I will make sure to check them out
        Thank you

      4. Image Earth Travel Avatar

        You’re very welcome.
        I rarely watch TV although if I stumble on a good documentary then I’ll watch it – love a good movie though… 😉

  10. sloppy buddhist Avatar

    Nilla thank you for the details…I appreciate the architecture of these spaces…happy travels ~ hedy ☺️

    1. Image Earth Travel Avatar

      Hi Hedy, hope all is well with you and many thanks for your great feedback – much appreciated! 😉
      Love the architecture in the UK but especially in this region as there are still loads of thatched roofs in use.

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