Gleaming blue sea and endless sky. Dusty white limestone cliffs adorned with vivid green flora. Rocks arcing and curving in nature's unpredictable dance.
Meet England's Jurassic Coast.
England is packed full of beautiful natural places to see, and after getting my hallowed pink driver's license earlier this year, I've been raring to explore more of it.
It's funny, isn't it, that sometimes we never really appreciate the "jewels in our backyard." We're so busy living life, working, socialising, that we when we finally get a chance to relax we'd rather book a plane ticket to go somewhere as far as possible (and preferably hot).
But day and weekend trips just a couple of hours away give me really valuable relief and relaxation, especially when things just feel like too much. Nothing perks my mood up road-tripping with good friends, good playlists, and having the freedom to explore somewhere new.
On a classically cloudy July morning in London, my fabulous pals (Kat, Hani, Sara) piled into my beaten up family car (lovingly christened "The Soccermom"), and we zoomed off out of the city towards Dorset, to the Jurassic Coast, where the iconic Durdle Door beckoned.
We'd seen beautiful pictures of Dorset doing the rounds on Instagram for a while, so naturally, we had to go.
The journey took no time at all, a couple of hours tops, including a highly necessary stopover to pick up things like green tea and a giant bubble sword (vital purchase).
I was unprepared for how genuinely gobsmacking Lulworth Estate is.
We walked down a dusty hill from the parking lot towards the coast. The sea suddenly blossomed around us, with the graceful turquoise arc of Man O'War Bay sat below. It left me speechless for a moment. How, how had I slept on England's ridiculously beautiful coastline?!
As we stood there admiring Durdle Door from a leafy knoll, the thick clouds parted and radiant afternoon sun broke across the coast.
Durdle Door: a naturally formed limestone arch.
Down on the pebble beach, people were sprawled out in swimwear, enjoying the sun and taking a (seriously freezing) dip. Some people were in full wetsuits, swimming further out, and some were wearing water helmets (we had a good old laugh about that).
On the pebbles we had a barefoot picnic, nibbling on homemade sandwiches and fruit. Under the blazing sun, beside the rich blue sea, it felt like less England and more like the Algarve, or Italy, or somewhere in the Balearics.
Man O'War Bay
A few hours (and post-beach nap for me) later, we went off to get an extremely satisfying cup of tea and a 99p flake ice cream from the cafe carts before heading home.
Beaut day, all in all. Really need to explore more local places. If you have any recommendations for lovely places to visit in the UK, please do share!
Majority of photos taken by my talented pal Adrihani Rashid
Mel left London to chase summer around the world, one country at a time. She loves the ocean, writing postcards, and solo exploration. Travel with her on Instagram.