seven reasons why Lulworth Cove is the most romantic place in the world
The most romantic place in the world? It’s not to be found in a charming spot in an old European capital or on a tropical beach in an island paradise. We have somewhere closer to home in mind…
Its natural beauty is unmatched, the best England has to offer. Its buildings are imbued with tasteful charm. Inspirational literary references abound. Dorset’s Lulworth Cove is likely to be the most romantic place you’ll ever visit.
1. the views
The scallop-shaped cove is hedged by rocky arches and stacks and is backed by sheer chalky cliffs. It’s surrounded by grassy hills that shelter a pebbled beach and crystalline waters. Take the dramatic cliff-top walk – the views are inspirational.
2. nature walks
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
The rolling downs that surround the cove are full of wildflowers and butterflies in summer. Cowslips, ox-eye daisies and orchids stud the close-cropped grass and no fewer than 32 species of butterfly are all a-flutter, including the gorgeous Adonis Blue. Lie down, look up and see what there is to see.
3. Wild swimming
At Stair Hole, next to the Cove, you can explore blue grottoes and mysterious sea caves as magical as anywhere in the world. The Bloomsbury Group, literary bohemian types who used to holiday here, scandalised the locals by skinny dipping. Don’t get ideas…
4. St Mary’s Chapel
Set in the grounds of lovely Lulworth Castle is an uniquely pretty building. St Mary’s Chapel has perfect classical proportions, delicately gorgeous decoration and luminous natural light. You’ll struggle not to feel swept away by it all.
5. The poetry
Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton (c.1822) Image credit.
Lulworth Cove is linked to one of English literature’s most romantic poems, John Keats’s Bright Star:
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art —
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors —
No — yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft swell and fall,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever — or else swoon to death.
The young poet stopped off at Lulworth Cove on his voyage to Rome where he hoped the climate would restore him to health. The poem, probably the last one he wrote, was completed during the voyage. It was a declaration of love for his adored Fanny Brawne; he would never see her again, dying in Rome just five months later aged 25.
6. Extremely fresh seafood
Just inland from the Cove in Wareham you’ll find a rather lovely ramshackle little hut called Cove Fish. Here you can buy delicious fresh seafood landed from a local day boat. Amazing for a spontaneous picnic!
7. General indulgence
And if life isn’t already sweet enough add a few delectable pieces of homemade Dorset fudge from The Doll’s House, a tiny green jade former fisherman’s cottage on the Lulworth Estate.
So there you have it – the perfect place for a romantic break. Who needs Paris, when there’s Dorset?
You can find directions and more information at the Visit Dorset website here.
Where to stay
Lulworth Estate – offers everything from luxury cottages with swimming pools, to holiday homes, camping, touring and glamping pods.
Lulworth Cove Inn – has stunning coastal views and is dog-friendly
Limestone Hotel – a uniquely-designed, characterful hotel nestled in the Dorset hills