Seeing dolphins has to be one of the most special wildlife encounters that anyone can have in the UK. As a small island nation, wherever you live in the country you are no more than a 3 hour drive to the coast. And you don’t even need to get on the water either! Recently I was lucky enough to film my local pod as they passed close to a headland on the south-west coast path…
This video was filmed at Durlston Country Park in Dorset, where the coast path winds its way along the very edge of the vertical limestone cliffs, giving unobstructed sea views right down the waves crashing below. This makes it an ideal dolphin watching location, which can also be accessed by off-road mobility scooters – available for hire at the nearby visitor centre!
So how can you better your chances of seeing them? Well there isn’t really a best time to see them, as they appear throughout the year. The research at Durlston has recorded the fewest sightings in July and August, but even then they still are spotted! That said, if you visit on a calm cloudy day, the dolphins will stand out better against the flat sea and you won’t get dazzled by the sunlight reflecting on the water.
It’s just complete luck that you’ll be in the right place at the right time! I’ve spoken to volunteers at Durlston who have been taking part in regular watches for years and not ever spotted one. On the other hand I’ve met many people who have had a sighting on their first visit – not fair right?! So to give yourself the best chance, all I can say is you’re not going to see any sitting at home! So get yourself out to the coast, enjoy a nice wander along the cliffs and I’ll wish you the best of luck!