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Dorset Beach

The countless stretches of sandy beaches in Dorset are without doubt one of the major attractions to the region, we have put together a guide to some of our favourites.

Vast sandy expanses, fascinating natural landmarks and ancient fossils are just some of the things you will find when exploring the best beaches in Dorset. No matter who you’re looking to visit with, there are Dorset beaches just perfect for families, friends, dogs and more.

Read on to discover 13 of the best Dorset beaches…

Beaches in Bournemouth

1. Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth Beach and Pier

Forming part of the vast stretch of sand hugging the Dorset coast and centred by a charming traditional pier, Bournemouth Beach promises a traditionally English family day out in Dorset. The space that Bournemouth Beach boasts allows day trippers of all kinds to escape to the coast, including a fabulous dog exercise area for your four-legged friend.

Amenities and facilities rest within simple reach as the town of Bournemouth is just a stone’s throw away, while Bournemouth Pier offers an amusement arcade, a theatre and more to make the most of. Our handy Bournemouth Travel Guide offers the finest recommendations on how best to spend your visit to the area.

2. Swanage Beach

Swanage Beach, Dorset

Swanage Beach is the perfect spot for a family day out to the seaside, boasting safe swimming waters with seasonal lifeguard cover and views towards the surrounding white chalk cliffs. Your canine companions are welcome between October and April, and you can even hire boats and pedalos if you’re looking for a bit of adventure.

The town’s plentiful facilities rest just a stone’s throw from Swanage Beach, as well as its stunning Victorian pier with its intriguing museum and exhibition centre. Take a look at our very own Swanage Travel Guide to ensure that your visit is one to remember.

3. South Beach, Studland

South Beach, Studland

This stretch of sloping golden sands run beautifully along the Studland Peninsula, with shallow waters making it the perfect spot for children to paddle. The ability to hire a beach hut makes South Beach in Studland ideal for a full day soaking up the rays. Those bringing their four-legged friend for a day out can even head to The Old Granary in Wareham, one of the finest dog-friendly pubs in Dorset.

Admire views out to the picturesque Old Harry Rocks and enjoy a network of scenic paths and trails close to this stunning dog-friendly Dorset beach. For those who enjoy getting out and about with your pooch, check out 5 of the best Dorset dog-friendly walks.

Beaches in Weymouth

4. Weymouth Beach

Weymouth Beach, Dorset

Weymouth Beach boasts an expanse of soft golden sands and offers activities and attractions for all types of holidaymaker to take advantage of. A trip to this bustling Dorset beach can involve everything from traditional donkey rides and Punch and Judy shows to safe swimming or simply taking in your magnificent surroundings.

Use our Weymouth Travel Guide for all your holiday inspiration, or perhaps check out a range of other family-friendly days out in Dorset.

5. Chesil Beach 

Chesil Beach, Weymouth, Dorset

Chesil Beach, or Chesil Bank, spans an impressive 18 miles from Portland to West Bay, containing an estimated 180 million pebbles. This magnificent stretch is now also an important conservation area, a unique place for spotting both flora and fauna.

For one of Dorset’s most iconic views, climb to the summit of Abbotsbury Hill and let the breath-taking beauty of Chesil Beach sink in.

6. West Bay

West Bay, Dorset

This small yet glorious shingle beach marks the western point of the unique Chesil Bank stretch, running towards the Isle of Portland. Broadchurch fans among you may recognise West Bay as one of the filming locations throughout the hit series, with the dramatic East Cliff being an iconic sight.

Explorers will be in their element on a visit to West Bay East Beach, this designated Site of Special Scientific Interest has much to offer from ancient fossils to a number of scenic walking paths. See this magnificent sight for yourself and use our West Bay Travel Guide for ideas on the best things to see and do in the area.

7. Bowleaze Cove

Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth, Dorset

Bring the whole family together to enjoy the range of activities and coastal scenery surrounding Bowleaze Cove near Weymouth. With safe bathing, shallow waters and ideal conditions for jet-skiing, this stunning dog-friendly Dorset beach has something for everybody.

Enjoy some refreshments in a choice of delightful eateries, or make your visit even more fun-packed by spending some time at the Fantasy Island amusement park. Use our Dorset walking guide to discover the finest paths and trails within a stone’s throw.

Beaches in Lulworth

8. Durdle Door

Durdle Door, Dorset

Undoubtedly one of the most iconic sights in Dorset, Durdle Door is simply unmissable if you’re seeking a Dorset beach. Admire the beauty of one of the UK’s most idyllic natural landmarks while your dogs and children make the most of this sand and shingle beach.

The crystal clear waters are popular with snorkellers and swimmers, making this one of the best Dorset beaches with no shadow of a doubt. Browse our guide to Durdle Door to enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

9. Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove, Lulworth, Dorset

Lulworth Cove is known as being one of the best Dorset beaches simply for its unique semi-circular shape, created by sea erosion over 10,000 years ago. The surrounding high cliffs make this a beautiful beach in Dorset for all to enjoy.

From Lulworth Cove, you can enjoy boat trips to the remarkable Durdle Door during the summer months, or those bringing their canine companions can discover one of the best dog-friendly Dorset walks. Make use of our Lulworth Travel Guide, offering recommendations on places to stay, things to do and how to get to Lulworth.

10. Man O’War Beach

Man O'War Beach, Dorset

Resting within close proximity to the renowned Durdle Door, Man O’War Bay offers a quieter Dorset beach for those looking to escape the crowds. Lined by narrow rocks, Man O’War Beach offers a shaded spot in the afternoon as well as promising calm waters for all the family to make the most of.

Snorkellers, divers and surfers flock to this popular Dorset beach throughout the summer, making this a beautiful spot to get that adrenaline pumping.

11. Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay, Lulworth

Not your conventionally soft and sandy Dorset beach, Kimmeridge Bay is a rocky beach proving to be a hit with keen water sports enthusiasts. With warm and shallow waters, snorkelling and diving are both popular activities, Kimmeridge Bay is also a hot-spot for spotting wildlife and admiring coastal scenery. The unique Kimmeridge Bay is undoubtedly one of the best hidden gems in Dorset.

Beaches in Lyme Regis

12. Cobb Beach

The Cobb, Lyme Regis, Dorset

Find this charming Dorset beach next to the 14th-centiry harbour in Lyme Regis, perhaps recognised as one of the filming locations for ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’. Being small in size and providing seasonal lifeguard cover, The Cobb Beach is the perfect Dorset beach for families.

Be spoilt for choice with pubs and eateries in abundance nearby, as well as a range of scenic walks throughout the Dorset AONB. Make full use of our handy Lyme Regis Travel Guide for all the holiday inspiration you’re looking for.

13. Charmouth Beach

Charmouth Beach, Dorset

Ancient fossils are one of the things that Dorset is famous for, and there is no place better to find them than Charmouth Beach, a stretch of Heritage Coast bursting with history and enveloped in magnificent views. Set up camp for the day in a charming beach hut and get searching for those Ammonites and Belemnites.

The quaint coastal village of Charmouth provides a handful of shops and eateries to make the most of, while astounding natural beauty can be uncovered by travelling along the coast in either direction.

Inspired to visit some of these magnificent Dorset beaches? Book a coastal cottage in Dorset to experience the seaside splendour up close! Plan everything about your holiday from restaurants to walks by using our handy Dorset Travel Guide.

Image Credits: Manuel MartinCC BY 2.0Herry LawfordCC BY 2.0; Jim ChampionCC BY-SA 2.0Frank ShepherdCC BY-SA 2.0

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