Dog friendly beaches in Dorset

If you’re planning a visit to Dorset with your four-legged friend, spending some time on Dorset’s world renowned Jurassic Coast is a must. All along the spectacular coastline are beautiful and easily accessible beaches and best of all, many are dog-friendly year round. So no matter what time of year you choose to visit, your dog will be able to feel the sand beneath his paws.

Dog friendly Dorset

Whether you prefer a quiet spot or a bustling resort, pebbles, shingle or sand, there’s sure to be a beach that will suit you. I still have many more to explore, but here are just a few that get my personal bark of approval.

Ringstead

To the east of Weymouth, a small country road off the A353 takes you through Upton village to the car parks at Ringstead Bay.

You can park at the National Trust car park at the top of the hill and follow one of the steep tracks down to the shingle beach or continue to the private car park at the bottom of the hill. Here there’s a flat parking charge no matter how long you stay, but with a little shop, café and toilet facilities as well as easy access to the beach and the South West coast path, you can easily spend a good few hours here! We certainly did.

Dog Friendly Ringstead Beach, Dorset

Ringstead Beach is a quiet stretch of the beautiful Jurassic coast with great views across Weymouth Bay to the Isle of Portland. I visited one cloudy Saturday morning in June and almost had the beach to myself! I ran and ran.

Dog Friendly Ringstead Beach, Dorset

If you want to include a walk, head along the coast path to White Nothe, one of the Jurassic Coast’s best viewing points.

White Nothe Dorset

Burton Bradstock (Hive Beach)

Hive Beach at Burton Bradstock, near Bridport, is one of my favourite beaches because here we often combine two of my favourite pastimes – playing on the beach and eating!

At any time of year, it’s a great place to visit. There are some dog restrictions in place in the summer months on the beach area immediately in front of the café, but there’s still plenty of beach to the east and west for you and your dog to enjoy.

Hive beach, Dorset

We usually climb the hill from the National Trust car park for far-reaching views along the coast and then head down to the shingle beach to play. Alternatively you can park at another National Trust car park at Cogden, just east of Burton Bradstock. From there take the footpath across the field to access the dog-friendly Cogden beach or head along the South West Coast Path to Hive Beach.  

Dog Friendly Hive Beach, Dorset

And there’s no need to bring my usual packed lunch of carrot sticks and dried sprats when I come here! Round off your visit at the dog-friendly Hive Beach Café and your four-legged friend can enjoy a home baked doggie treat while you enjoy local seafood, homemade cakes or a cup of tea overlooking the sea.

Hive Beach - Doggo Treats

It’s a popular place and you may have to wait for a table, but it’s worth it!

Lyme Regis

There are lots of interesting places to visit in the pretty resort of Lyme Regis and a choice of beaches too! Dogs are welcome to play on Monmouth Beach and Church Cliff Beach all year round; between October and April dogs are allowed on Front Beach too.

Dog Friendly Lyme Regis, Dorset

We usually park at Charmouth Road car park and head down the new walkway that takes you to the seafront, Church Cliff Beach and the Tourist Information Centre (TIC). 

Pop into the TIC to get advice about tides and staying safe on the coast, as well as ideas for having a great time in the town. Staff there know all the best places to go!

Just behind the TIC is Church Cliff Beach, which is especially nice for an early morning run, or even a swim if your dog likes that sort of thing. It’s sandy in places and is pawfect at low tide when there’s an extensive rock ledge with lots of rock pools to investigate! 

Dog Friendly Lyme Regis, Dorset 

Alternatively, you could head over to Monmouth Beach which stretches from the Cobb to the west, where you and your dog can hunt for some fossils among the pebbles. There’s a pay and display car park with direct access to this beach, but it fills up quickly on summer days!

Dog Friendly Monmouth Beach Lyme Regis, Dorset

Durdle Door

The rock arch at Durdle Door is probably the most recognisable landmark along the Dorset coast and the beach is dog-friendly all year round. Access to the beach is down a lot of steps, but it is well worth the effort!

Dog Friendly Durdle Door, Dorset

Park at the public pay-and-display car park at Durdle Door Caravan Park, then follow the steep path down to the coast. Stop to admire the far reaching views along the coast and across to Portland, before descending the steps to the sand and shingle beach.

Dog Friendly Durdle Door, Dorset

This iconic spot is very popular on summer days; I went one cold but sunny day in January and there were just a handful of fellow walkers and dogs enjoying this beautiful beach.

Dog Friendly Durdle Door, Dorset

The steep walk back up the steps and back to the car park is quite tiring for those not as fit as me, but there are rocks big enough to sit on and catch your breath on the way and refreshments are available back at the car park!

Hengistbury Head and Mudeford Sandbank

Hengistbury Head, a scenic headland near Bournemouth, and Mudeford Sandbank, which extends off the headland and is lined with pretty coloured beach huts, offer lots of possibilities for a great doggy day out!

From the main Hengistbury Head car park, it’s just a short walk to the café, the Visitor Centre (registered assistance dogs only permitted inside) and the beach. Dogs are welcome all year round on the beach which stretches all along the southern side of the headland.

Dog Friendly Hengitsbury Head, Dorset

Follow trails amongst grassland, heathland, woodland and wetland or make the short climb to the top of Hengistbury Head to enjoy views of the Isle of Wight, Mudeford Sandbank, Christchurch harbour and Priory, the Purbeck Hills and Bournemouth Pier and beach. 

Dog Friendly Hengitsbury Head, Dorset

Alternatively, for easy access to Mudeford Sandbank, do as I did! Hop on the Land Train outside the café and enjoy the 15 minute ride. The trains run regularly, weather permitting. There’s a small charge for dogs, but it was great fun and, as it was a hot sunny day, I loved feeling the wind in my face as we rattled along the headland in open carriages through lovely cool woodland, bound for Mudeford. When we emerged from the woodland, we had lovely views across to Christchurch.

Land train at dog friendly Hengitsbury Head, Dorset

The land train stops at Mudeford Sandbank, which forms a natural barrier between Christchurch harbour and the sea. There are beautiful soft sandy beaches and colourful beach huts lining the shore.

Dog Friendly Dorset - Beach huts at Mudeford Sandbank

You can also get to Mudeford Sandbank and Hengistbury Head from the other direction, using the ferry from Mudeford Quay. Ferries run regularly and dogs travel free on this 5 minute crossing. From the ferry drop off, a beach café, toilets and the land train station are all just a short walk.

West Bay

Just a mile south of the lively town of Bridport is West Bay, a charming fishing village on the Jurassic Coastline, which you may recognise as the setting for ITV’s drama Broadchurch. Long stay parking, toilet facilities and a children’s play area can be found at the car park on West Bay Road and from there, the bustling harbour and beaches are just a short walk away.

Dog Friendly Dorset - West Bay

The cliffs at West Bay provide a stunning backdrop for a fun day at the beach. Though the central beaches have dog restrictions during the summer months, wander along the esplanade westwards and you’ll find a lovely long beach where dogs can play year round.

Dog Friendly Dorset - West Bay

It’s a popular spot for dog owners so if your dog is ‘Mr Sociable’ like me, there’s usually plenty of potential playmates on the beach!

Dog Friendly Dorset - West Bay

From here you can see along the coast to Eype Beach…another beautiful Dorset beach where dogs are welcome year round. That’s next on my list; I hope to go there soon and will report back!

Related

Ringstead Beach
Beach
Ringstead beach

A protected shingle beach overlooking Weymouth Bay.

Burton Bradstock (Hive Beach)
Beach
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.

Hive Beach Café
Café
Hive Beach Café

The Hive Beach Café is located right on the beach at Burton Bradstock on the Jurassic Coast.

Lyme Regis
Town
WDDC credit

Lyme Regis is Dorset's most westerly town, a bustling and picturesque seaside resort famous for its fossils and literary connections.

Durdle Door
Beach
Durdle Door beach

Eroded by time and nature, Durdle Door is one of Dorset’s most photographed and iconic landmarks. A shingle beach only accessible on foot via a steep path and steps from Lulworth Cove or Durdle Door Car Park. Swimming is possible in some places. Dogs are allowed all year.

Hengistbury Head
Natural Wildlife Site
Hengistbury Head moody sky

Hengistbury Head is a relatively unspoilt and south-facing pebble beach, with imposing clay and ironstone cliffs.

Mudeford Sandbank
Beach
Mudeford Sandbank, Dorset

A unique spit which adjoins the ancient headland of Hengistbury Head and forms a natural barrier between the harbour and the open sea. The area is designated a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).

Bridport & West Bay
Market Town
Bridport & West Bay

Set amongst the spectacular rolling Dorset hills, Bridport is a lively town with a friendly and vibrant character. A mile south is West Bay, a bustling harbour which becomes a popular tourist resort in the summer months.

4 Comments

Comments

  1. Archie & Riley
    We are off to Dorset with our humans today and will definitely be following up some of Dylan’s recommendations. My mum says she loves Dylan’s blog & he looks just like us!
  2. Benji the Border
    To celebrate my 4th birthday we are off to Swanage and I can't wait to check out some of Dylan's tips. Since my Border friend Archie died in July I am home alone for the first time and am hoping to make some new friends.
  3. sky
    any suggestions for dog friendly hotels/pubs or B & Bs that we can stay at?
    many thanks

    mary@coexistence.co.uk

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