Beaches in Dorset

Looking for a fantastic beach break but feel your only option is to go abroad? Think again, because Dorset has many beautiful beaches along our 100 miles of coastline. So it won’t cost the earth (or break the bank) to feel soft sand and clear blue sea gently lap over your feet.

The huge variety of beaches makes Dorset’s coastline one of the most inspiring and spectacular stretches of coast found anywhere in the UK.

Fabulous beaches

Every beach has its own unique charm and character to explore - from miles of sweeping golden sand to secluded private coves and everything in between.

Build sandcastles, take a swim, walk the stunning coast path or just sit back and enjoy the views - we know you'll have a great day out.

Lyme Regis lies on the Dorset and Devon border and continues to be enjoyed by all ages. Home to glorious golden sand, stunning scenery and safe bathing waters protected by the famous Cobb, Lyme Regis makes for a wonderful day at the seaside.

Eagle eyed visitors to West Bay may recognise it as the setting for ITV’s award winning drama Broadchurch. With its iconic cliffs, West Bay provides a breath-taking backdrop for a wonderful day at the beach.

Family friendly

Dorset is the place to come for award winning beaches. The county boasts 25 Blue Flag and Seaside Award beaches.

Soft golden sands and safe bathing waters make Weymouth a fabulous family holiday destination. With a number of beaches to choose from, Weymouth with its Georgian architecture along the esplanade really is a slice of the traditional British seaside. Enjoy a stroll along the promenade, donkey rides on the beach or watch a Punch and Judy show to entertain young and old.

Swanage beach with its large stretches of golden sand and sheltered bay is known for its clear water and family-friendly designated swimming areas. This traditional seaside resort has been enjoyed by families since Victorian times and features a beautifully restored pier and promenade.

In the east of the county, the famous sandy beaches of Poole and Bournemouth are nestled beneath a magnificent cliff line. Stretching along the coastline for 10 golden miles, all the way from Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head. From the headland, you can hop on a foot passenger ferry across Christchurch Harbour to Mudeford and Highcliffe beaches or travel on one of the land trains or boat trips and enjoy the views.

Accessible beaches

There are lots of beautiful beaches and coves in Dorset, but access to some of the wilder locations will often involve many steps or steep slopes, which will not be ideal for all our visitors.

We’ve put together a beach guide which gives a quick overview about Dorset beaches and coves to help you plan your visit. The guide gives information about blue badge parking, accessible toilets and general accessibility to and on the beaches.

There are many beaches in our popular resorts with level esplanades, ideal for both wheelchairs and pushchairs. Matting on beaches (available during the peak holiday season) are located at Boscombe, Sandbanks, Swanage, Weymouth, West Bay and Lyme Regis beaches. Studland’s Knoll beach has a wooden boardwalk onto the sand. Please check to see when the accessible matting is available for your chosen location. These are very popular beaches during the summer, so careful timing is advised to avoid crowds and access suitable nearby parking spaces.

Beach wheelchairs can be booked in advance from Studland's Knoll beachBournemouth, Boscombe, Branksome Chine, SandbanksWest Bay and Lyme Regis.

Accessible beach hut hire can be booked at Swanage and Boscombe.

Discover Dorset's less visited beaches

If you are looking to avoid the crowds, there are many lesser known beaches to visit along our coastline. Because they are more secluded, you won't find beachside cafes, shops or showers and you may need to walk a little further to get there, but it will definitely be worth the effort.

Because these beaches are less visited, there may not be any litter or recycling bins, so remember to take any rubbish away with you at the end of the day.

Find the perfect beach for you with our beach guide - a full list of all Dorset's beaches and what facilities they have to offer.

Have fun & stay safe

We encourage everyone to enjoy the spectacular coastline and beaches in Dorset safely.

We have teamed up with the wonderful SafeWise charity and the Dorset Coast Forum who have created an animation to promote coastal safety in a fun way to children called CoastWise - check it out and remember to share these helpful tips with your family and friends.

Book a beach hut

What is more traditional than a beach hut at the British seaside. Did you know some of the earliest beach huts to be built in the UK were at Bournemouth - built either side of Bournemouth Pier in 1909?

Beach huts can be hired by the day or for the duration of your stay.

Dorset beach hut locations include: SwanageLyme RegisAvon Beach, Mudeford, Poole, Bournemouth, Boscombe and Southbourne.

Luxury beach huts where you can stay overnight are located near Boscombe Pier and at Mudeford Sandbank.

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