Dorset Beaches & Coast

Dorset’s Famous Jurassic Coast

Over 40 stunning Dorset beaches and ragged Jurassic coast make up the breath-taking Dorset coastline, formed over a millennium.  The Dorset coast has it all, from long sandy beaches with clean, safe bathing to dramatic coastal walks along the Jurrasic coast – a World Heritage Site.

Dorset Beaches & Coast Dorset Holiday Cottages
There are over 20 beaches to choose from along the Heritage coast, you really are spoilt for choice.  You and your family can enjoy a traditional day out at the seaside, making sandcastles and relaxing in the sunshine (Dorset has one of the best sunshine records too).  Alternatively marvel at the World famous Durdle Door, formed thousands of years ago.

Here are a selection of the best days out at the beach or along the famous coast.

Christchurch Beaches

Avon beach, Friars Cliff,  Highcliff  & Gundimore Beach (Christchurch)
East of Mudeford Quay between Gundimore Beach and Friars Cliff Beach.

Avon Beach is the main beach for Christchurch. The beach is mostly sandy with some stones and has views of the Needles and Isle of Wight in the distance. Great for families with small children as it has its own beach level car park. A designated bathing beach apart from the area in front of the car park which is allocated for watersports.

Between 1st May – 30th Sept no dogs in groynes H8 – H11.

Mudeford Sandbank
Mudeford Sandbank is a sandy beach adjoining Hengistbury Head with picturesque views of Christchurch Harbour.

Dogs allowed all year.

Dorset Beaches & Coast Dorset Holiday Cottages



Bournemouth Beaches

Seven long miles of golden sands are bigger and better than ever before, offering something for everyone!


bournemouth beach

Central Beach
Enjoy  seafront attractions, cafés and restaurants, not forgetting the fantastic views of the bay from our historic Pier. At Pier Approach, discover life beneath the waves at the Oceanarium or have a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. Take a walk along Bournemouth Pier for fantastic views of the bay, children’s rides and boat trips to a number of destinations along the coast.

Durley Chine beach
A family favourite, Blue Flag award-winning Durley Chine beach is great for kids. It also boasts a traditional pub on the promenade and a refreshment kiosk.

Alum Chine beach
home to the beautiful Tropical Gardens and has both Green and Blue Flag awards. Alum Chine is a great family friendly area with a pirate-themed children’s playground and water play area.

Boscombe beach
Boscombe seafront has been transformed from a sleepy 1950’s style beach into the exciting 21st century through Boscombe Spa Village redevelopment scheme with plenty to do and see.

Southbourne beach
Blue Flag award-winning beach at Fisherman’s Walk. Snacks and ice creams are on hand and more refreshments can be found at the café on the cliff top, along with a crazy golf course, which is easily accessible by the Cliff Lift.

Some beaches permit dogs in winter months, call the beach office on 01202 451781



Poole Beaches

Hamworthy Park
Offering an oasis of peace and tranquility from the busy town centre. It provides the setting for outstanding panoramic views over the middle and upper reaches of the harbour towards the Purbeck Hills in the distance.

Dogs all year           

hamworthy beach

Branksome Chine
offers great sandy beaches and stunning views across the coastline. Its Blue Flag status attracts both locals and visitors.

Dogs are not permitted on the main beaches between 1st May & 30th September

Canford Cliffs
is a natural and tranquil area situated between Shore Road and Branksome Chine. It has Blue Flag status with sandy cliffs and picturesque wooden huts, making Canford Cliffs a popular choice for locals.

Dogs are not permitted on the main beaches between 1st May & 30th September

Shore Road
Fine, golden sand, gradual sloping beach and clean, safe water make Shore Road Beach an ideal place to visit. This Blue Flag beach offers a range of facilities along the promenade, including ice-cream kiosks and cafe. The area is also renowned for its wind and kite surfing, with opportunity to hire equipment or have lessons nearby.

Dogs are not permitted on the main beaches between 1st May & 30th September

Winner of the prestigious Blue Flag award for a consecutive 27 years and with its soft golden sands and breathtaking views, it is no wonder that Sandbanks is considered one of the best beaches in Britain. Facilities include a crazy golf course, children’s play area, slacklining, BBQ area and Cafe. Take the chain link ferry across to Studland to further explore the Purbeck Isle

Dogs are not permitted on the main beaches between 1st May & 30th September


sandbanks beach in dorset





Purbeck Beaches

Shipstal Beach Arne
A secluded and often undiscovered haven in the RSPB Nature reserve. A beautiful walk from Arne will lead you to this gorgeous sweep of sand that bleeds into the trees behind, takes you through some classic English woodland, past ponds that teem with frogs and newts, and to a hide from which you can watch the birds that have made their home here.

Dogs are welcome but, must be kept on a lead at all times.

Studland Beaches, (Shell Bay, South beach, Knoll beach & Middle beach)
Rated Britain’s fourth top beach by Which? magazine, Studland comprises three miles of golden sand owned and managed by the National Trust. The area is a haven for rare birds and native wildlife and includes not only two national nature reserves but the National Trust’s only designated nudist beach.A ferry connects Sandbanks to Studland

Shell Bay and South Beach. Dogs allowed 1st Oct – 30th Apr, on leads at other times.
Knoll beach and Middle beach. Dogs allowed 1 st Oct – 30th Apr on leads. No dogs 1st July – 7th Sept.

studland beach
old harry rocks

Old Harry Rocks Walk
A five-mile coastal walk from the National Trust car park at South Beach, Studland takes in Old Harry, one of the most famous landmarks on the South Coast. Old Harry Rocks are a pair of chalk stacks created through thousands of years of erosion by the sea. Originally part of the chalk ridgeline that runs across the south coast joining up with the Needles on the Isle of Wight. Spectacular sea views over Poole Harbour and as far as the Isle of Wight await you along with a hidden heathland valley. Return via the Agglestone, a striking rock formation with a place in local legend.

The beach is one of the main attractions of the town with thousands flocking to Swanage every summer to relax on the sand. The waters are clean, and the beach has won many European Blue Flag Awards, as well as the Encams Quality Coast Award. Swanage beach has a well earned reputation for being a good place to soak up the sun and play in the sand and sea. Swanage beach runs the length of the town and is backed by a promenade lined with amusements and attractions.

No dogs May – end Sept.

swanage beach
Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Jurassic Coast and its geology is world-renowned. Rocky shale and comentstone reefs make the area a key habitat and the bay is a designated Marine Nature Reserve. Although there are no sandy beaches the sheltered bay is good for swimming, diving, surfing and windsurfing. Large ledges act as natural jetties for wandering along to explore marine wildlife. It is one of the best places in the country to go rock pooling.

Dogs allowed all year.

warbarrow bay beach
Worbarrow Bay (Tyneham Village)
Worbarrow Bay is a wide shingle beach just along the coast from Lulworth. The beach is flanked by the headland of Worbarrow Tout to the east and the tall sloping cliffs of Flower’s Barrow to the west.

Dogs allowed all year.

Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove is a very sheltered pebble beach in a remarkable, horse-shoe shaped cove, formed ten thousand years ago by erosion from the sea. There is ample parking, a cafe, toilets and boat trips in summer to Durdle Door and Mupe Bay.

If you’re feeling energetic why not take the coastal path to Durdle Door, a real natural beauty that will quite literally take your breath away!

Dogs allowed all year

lulworth cove
durdle door

Durdle Door
Famous for the Durdle Door Arch this beach is a narrow strand of mixed shingle gravel and sand. The eastern end (Durdle Door Cove) is protected by the arch, while the rest of the

beach is partially sheltered by a submerged offshore reef. Durdle Door and Man ‘O’ War beaches are part of the Lulworth Estate. Shingle beaches which are only accessible on foot via a steep path and steps over the hill from Lulworth Cove or down from Durdle Door Car Park

Dogs allowed all year.


Beaches in West Dorset & Weymouth

Ringstead Bay
Around 700 yards of shingle beach with uncovered sand once the tide goes out. There are also rock pools at the western end and an offshore reef that is uncovered by the tide. The beach is overlooked by unspoilt farmland and cliffs.

Dogs allowed all year

A shelving beach made up of pebbles and shingle, popular with both local anglers and families for mackerel fishing. It is also the site of the Chesil and Fleet Nature Reserve. There are stunning views across to Weymouth and Portland and to the east is the beautiful site of Golden Cap.

Dogs allowed all year

fishing from chesil beach
Chesil Beach
Located on the south coast England in the county of Dorset. It is a pebble beach 18 miles long and stretches north-west from Portland to West Bay. For much of its length it is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called the fleet lagoon.

Dogs allowed

Beaches in Weymouth

Weymouth’s three mile beach is just minutes from the town centre and historic harbour. There’s plenty of entertainment for everyone to enjoy ranging from traditional attractions such as Punch & Judy and donkey rides, to lively events such as beach volleyball championships,live music and free summer firework displays.
Enjoy a stroll along the level promenade or on the sands with your dog during the quieter months

No dogs on main beach between 1st May – 30th September. Dogs permitted all year round within a restricted area

weymouth beach
weymouth by the sea


Bowleaze Cove
A small sand and shingle beach near to the village of Preston. Bowleaze Cove is a popular family beach with the ‘Fantasy Island Funfair’,  a take away and a gift shop. The beach is especially popular in the summer months. There are plenty of rock pools to discover along with a small pier which divides the beach.

Portland Bill
A narrow promontory at the southern end of the Isle of Portland, and the southernmost point of Dorset, England. One of Portland’s most popular destinations, the popular attraction Portland Bill Lighthouse is found in the area. Portland Bill is also noted for its rough coast, and is the only place on Portland where the limestone cliffs rise directly from the sea. As such many landforms including coves, ledges and caves have been formed.
portland bill at sunset

Bridport Beaches

West Bay
A fine, smooth, pebbly beach, with shingle and sand at the water’s edge.

East Beach consists of a very fine shingle ridged beach with sand at the water’s edge. The beach extends as far as the eye can see along the Chesil Beach to Portland Bill.

Note that dogs are not permitted on East Beach and West Beach between 1st May and 30th September. However, they are permitted on the East Cliff Beach area and West.

west bay
Burton Bradstock (Hive Beach)
A shelving shingle beach, close to the village of Burton Bradstock.

On a clear day, visitors can enjoy breath taking views round to Portland and right the way round to the East Devon Coast.

No dogs between June – end Sept, except East Beach

burton bradstock beach
West Bexington
A shingle beach that shelves steeply. Walking is popular around this area and like many of the other beaches in the vicinity, views to the East and West are superb.

Dogs allowed in restricted area.

West Bexington
A shingle beach that shelves steeply. Walking is popular around this area and like many of the other beaches in the vicinity, views to the East and West are superb.

Dogs allowed in restricted area.

Eype Beach
A steeply shelving pebble beach. Located three miles from Bridport. Walkers can enjoy breath-taking views across the West Dorset coast.

Dogs permitted on beach all year round.
Refreshments are available at Lower Eype.
Cliff Beach at all times.

Owned by the National Trust, this steep shelving, single beach is located on the coast road between Burton Bradstock and Abbotsbury

Dogs allowed all year round

Lyme Regis

The Cobb, Church Beach, Town beach & Monmouth beach
Lyme Regis is a picturesque and historic seaside town set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. A town of steep streets, its most outstanding feature is a delightful 13th century harbour known as the Cobb.

The beaches in Lyme Regis are a mixture of sand and pebbles.

The Cobb, contains a small sandy beach sheltered by a curving harbour wall, famously used in the opening shot of the film ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’

Monmouth beach – dogs all year
No dogs May – end Sept. On leads at all other times.

lyme regis beach
Charmouth East & West  Beach

Both beaches are a mix of sand and shingle

Popular on account of having a little more sand than Charmouth’s West Beach, Charmouth’s East Beach is a good place to find small Ammonite and Belemnite fossils

No dogs 1st May – end Sept.

charmouth beach