Day Tripper: The Durdle Door, Dorset

On Saturday, the whole family went on a day trip to the seaside! We had a few days of nice weather ahead of us, and it seemed a shame to ignore that. We packed up the car early in the morning, and by ten o’clock we were on the road to the coast. One snag: the traffic was terrible. Apparently, everyone else had the exact same idea as us about “heading to the seaside while the weather holds”, so the motorways were packed. Several times, we shut off the engine because we simply weren’t going anywhere. End result: a two-hour trip that actually took three hours.

Thankfully. this little guy slept most of the time.

Needless to say, we were all exceptionally glad to finally get out of the car once we’d arrived. There was a good stiff breeze coming off the water, and even the parking lot (just a cordoned-off area of grass) gave a good view of the cliffs. We each loaded up with our supplies—picnic lunch, beach chairs, blankets, baby—and began the trek down to the beach. This took about 30 minutes, given that the path down to the beach is long and steep. For the second half, you have to go even more slowly, since the original stairs collapsed and you have to clamber down a path formed entirely of other people having found a way down. Eventually, though, we made it down, and started walking along the rocks (no sand, just rocks of varying degrees of pokiness) to a good spot for our things.

Where we decided to sit.

The Durdle Door itself is a rock formation that looks (of course) like an arched doorway. I’m sure the views from the top are amazing, but since you technically aren’t supposed to hike the top of it (erosion), I kept my feet firmly on the ground. There were plenty of people, though, who decided not to let a little signpost stop them.

The Durdle Door!

The beach was not too crowded, thankfully, although the water was far too cold to do much swimming. Instead, we had lunch, enjoyed the views, and looked for interesting rocks. I also developed a playlist for the occasion (best listened to in just one ear so as not to miss the actual beach sounds). So what songs do I recommend for a day at the seaside?

  1. Bobby Darin, “Beyond the Sea”: It might seem like a bit of a cliché, but there’s a reason for that—it’s just such a good song! It’s a light, easy number, one perfectly suited to watching other people dive into the water while being quite pleased to stay put.
  2. Celia Cruz, “Ritmo Tambo y Flores”: This is one of her earlier songs, so it’s a nice follow-up to the first song. It is, however, a bit more lively, providing a much-needed contrast.
  3. Indigo Girls, “Closer to Fine”: I really love this song—the strumming, the interesting lyrics, the full-throated vocals—plus there’s something about acoustic guitars that seems fresh and well-suited to outdoor listening. It’s a definite feel-good song.
  4. Jack Johnson, “Bubble Toes”: Jack Johnson’s music is almost uniformly mellow, which makes it a good match for beach listening. What makes “Bubble Toes” different is its shift into a faster, more rocking tempo, becoming the sort of song you might sing while driving, preferably with the windows down.
  5. Rooney, “Blueside”: of all the songs on this playlist, “Blue Side” is the least like the others. It has electric guitar, keyboard, and a more obvious use of drums. It sounds more like a rock-and-roll song, and yet its vibe is still undeniably beachy. It’s a great way to hit the road, especially if the road takes you get fish and chips.
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