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One of the top things to do in Dorset and things to do near Durdle Door is to visit Old Harry Rocks!
The Old Harry Rocks Walk can be done in a short, quick and easy way from as quick as 1 hour in total, or you can spend longer walking along the coast doing the Old Harry Rocks Circular Walk and turn it into a half-day activity as this will take about 4 hours.
The view from Old Harrys Rocks is amazing and it’s easy to see why it’s a popular place to visit in Dorset and one of the popular places to visit near Lulworth Cove!
In this Dorset travel blog, I’m going to explain how to walk to Old Harry Rocks, the best place for Old Harry Rocks parking and some Old Harry Rocks facts!
Old Harry Rocks Walk
FAQ About Old Harry Rocks Walk
How do I find Old Harry Rocks?
Old Harry Rocks is located on the Eastern side of Dorset, it is a 30-minute drive from the popular attraction Durdle Door.
How long is the walk to Old Harry Rocks?
The easiest and quickest walk to Old Harry Rocks takes 20-30 minutes from the nearest car park.
Where do you park for Old Harry Rocks?
There are a few car parks in Studland for Old Harry Rocks parking. The closest car park is South Beach Car Park.
Is Old Harry Rocks worth visiting without a drone?
Drone photos of Old Harry Rocks are really impressive and before visiting, I thought that seeing Old Harry’s Rock from the cliff might not be as impressive as the photo’s I’d seen of Old Harry Rocks from the water by drone.
However after visiting, I can say that Old Harry Rocks is still worth visiting and seeing, even without a drone and it is really good in person!
Why is it called Old Harry Rocks?
The name ‘Old Harry’ Rocks is not completely clear and there are a few legends as to how it got this name.
One involves the Devil, another is that the term ‘playing Old Harry’ used to mean to destroy or ruin, and they were given this name to warn ships away from the area. And finally, another is because of the pirate Harry Pain who used to live in and around Poole which is nearby.
Old Harry Rocks Parking
I parked at South Beach Car Park in Studland which is the recommend Old Harry Rocks car park for a quick and easy walk.
The Old Harry Rocks Postcode for this car park is: BH19 3AU.
This is a national trust car park and in summer they extend the car park into an overflow field so there is plenty of parking for the Old Harry Rocks walk!
Although the car park does not have any toilets, as you start the walk, in just a few minutes, after the Bankes Arms pub, you’ll pass some public toilets that are free to use.
If you wish to walk from Swanage to Old Harry Rocks which is a longer walk, North Beach Car Park in Swanage is the best place to park as it is the closest car park to the coastal path up to Old Harry’s Rock.
Old Harry Rocks Map
Here is a map with the Old Harry Rocks parking options detailed on it along with places I have mentioned below to help you do the Old Harry Rocks walk.
- For more of my Dorset and South England posts see:
- 25 BEST Things To Do in Lyme Regis, Dorset!
- How To Do The Golden Cap Walk in Dorset!
- How To Visit White Cliffs of Dover From London On A Day Trip!
- How To Visit The Seven Sisters Cliffs from London On A Day Trip!
- 10 Things To Do On A Brighton Day Trip!
Walk to Old Harry Rocks
Studland to Old Harry Rocks Walk
Doing the walk from Studland to Old Harry Rocks is the easiest and quickest walk you can do, and compared to many other walks in the area to see White Cliffs like the White Cliffs of Dover, it is a very easy walk to do!
There is a handy map in the Old Harry Rocks car park for how to do the walk.
From Studland South Beach Car Park, walk down the hill until you see the toilets.
Here, turn left and follow the South West Coastal footpath.
The footpath starts as a narrow path with trees and bushes overhead and on either side, it then opens up into a field where you can start to see really nice coastal views.
The footpath is flat with only very gentle inclines and declines and easy for young children to walk.
It is an enjoyable and beautiful walk, especially as you start to get closer to the White Cliffs!
The walk to Old Harry Rocks takes just 20-30 minutes from the car park to Old Harry Rocks and what is known as ‘The Foreland’ viewpoint, depending on how fast you walk.
After exploring Old Harry Rocks, you can walk back the same way you came.
This means that if you are short on time on your Dorset sightseeing, you can do the Old Harry Rocks Walk in around 1 hour or 1 hour 30 minutes in total if you want more time to explore or you are with people who walk slower.
This will give you the rest of the day to do many of the other popular things to do in Dorset.
Swanage to Old Harry Rocks Walk
If you want a longer and harder walk with some inclines and declines, then walking from Swanage to Old Harry Rocks is a good idea!
In Swanage, walk to Ballard Way which is a residential area of Swanage and find the start of the South West Coast footpath.
The walk starts with an incline straight away as the footpath takes you from street level onto the top of the cliff. Luckily, the view of Swanage Bay and Beach in the distance is a good distraction.
The footpath becomes very narrow at points making it not pram accessible and it will probably be quite hard work for children too.
Once at the top of the cliff you’ll reach a viewpoint called ‘Ballard Point or Ballard Cliff’, this is where the footpath becomes wider and much flatter and actually declines slightly as you walk towards Old Harry Rocks.
The view is really incredible and there are plenty of amazing views of the White Cliffs and other unique rock formations in the water before even reaching Old Harry’s Rocks.
The walk from Old Harry Rocks to Swanage took me just over 1 hour and that was doing the walk downhill with only a few photo stops.
When walking to Old Harry Rocks from Swanage I would give yourself at least 1 hour 30 minutes to do the walk there, and just over 1 hour back to do the walk back to Swanage and the car park.
This walk makes a great half day activity to add to your list of things to do near Durdle Door!
Old Harry Rocks Circular Walk
For longer hike, the Old Harry Rocks Circular Walk is the walk for you!
The best parking for Old Harry Rocks circular walk is the Studland South Beach Car Park.
From here, follow the footpath from Studland to Old Harry Rocks which is a simple and easy footpath to walk.
After seeing Old Harry Rocks, take the footpath along the opposite coastline. In 25-30 minutes you’ll reach Ballards Point or Ballards Cliff as it’s also called, which is a great viewpoint of Swanage below.
Here, the footpath splits, the footpath closest to the water will take you down into Swanage so this is not the footpath you want to take,
Instead you want to continue inland slightly heading for Studland Hill.
At Studland Hill, 2 footpaths meet and you want to the the footpath leading you to the right in the direction back towards Studland.
This footpath takes you to a small area of streets and houses called ‘The Glebe’, with accommodation called Shell Bay Cottage and Littlecroft B&B.
Continue down the paved road to Manor Farm Tea Room and turn right down Watery Lane which will take you back to the toilets by Studland South Beach Car Park.
Something important to note is that the footpath connecting the Coast and The Glebe is not on Google Maps, therefore I do not recommend following Google Maps for this Circular Walk.
I recommend Maps.Me which has all the footpaths on.
I hope this helps you plan your Old Harry Rocks Walk!
- For more of my South England posts see:
- A Devon Road Trip Guide & 3 Day Devon Road Trip Itinerary!
- A Cornwall Road Trip Guide & 4 Cornwall Itineraries To Follow!
- 15 Hidden Gems in Cornwall To Visit To Escape The Crowds!
- How To Visit Cheddar Gorge. Things To Do, Cheddar Gorge Walks & Parking!
- 10 Reasons to Book a Stargazing Cabin in Devon at Royal Oak Farm!