Dorset is blessed with an incredible coastline and some of the premiere beaches in the UK. Whilst the classic seaside resort towns of Bournemouth, Swanage, Weymouth and Lyme Regis offer the most famous soft sandy beaches; there are many alternatives that will reward visitors with relaxing beaches and stunning coastal scenery, far from the madding crowds.

Gundimore Beach, Mudeford

Offering splendid views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, Gundimore has a mixed sand and shingle beach that is easily accessible from Mudeford Quay and nearby Highcliffe.

Gundimore Beach credit Millard Photography

Steamer Point Nature Reserve towards Highcliffe provides a delightful walk taking in the magnificent 17th-century castle and gardens.

South Beach, Studland

This sheltered beach offers a quieter alternative to the popular Studland beaches of Shell Bay and Knoll, with an outlook across the bay towards bustling Bournemouth

Studland South Beach credit Jon Bish National Trust

Access the beach from the village of Studland following the iconic South West Coast Path towards the imposing chalk cliffs at Handfast Point.

For adventurous visitors, stay on the path for a rewarding hike to Handfast Point and take in the spectacular Old Harry Rocks, a series of three chalk pinnacles that mark the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast.

Chapman’s Pool

A beautiful wild beach in a natural secluded bay is the reward for those who are prepared for a moderately challenging walk from the nearby village of Worth Matravers. The path can be steep and sometimes slippery, so exercise caution as you descend down to the beach or simply take in the view from the South West Coast Path. Those who do venture down are treated to some of the very best coastal scenery to be found along Dorset’s coast.

Chapman's Pool

A pleasant 5 mile circular walk taking in the enchanting old quarries at Winspit makes for a great day out; topped off with refreshments at the Tea Rooms and a nosey around the fossil museum at the unique Square and Compass pub in Worth Matravers.

Worbarrow Bay

Worbarrow Bay welcomes visitors with an expansive shingle beach and an interesting story at nearby Tyneham. The village was requisitioned for military training ahead of WW2 and the remnants of the village now remain within the MOD firing ranges, therefore access is limited at certain times of the year.

Warbarrow Bay credit Rachel Baker

Park up and explore the remains of Tyneham village, before making the pleasant stroll for a mile and a half down to the beach.

The ranges are accessible most weekends and holiday periods, but do be sure double check opening days before visiting.

Church Ope Cove

A genuine smugglers cove that is believed to be the landing site of the first ever Viking raids on the British Isles, Church Ope is situated beneath the ruins of Rufus Castle on the sheltered eastern side of Portland.

Church Ope Cove Portland

Offering sanctuary from the prevailing wind and opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and fishing; the beach is accessed from steps that lead down from Rufus Castle, a short walk from Portland Museum.

Cogden Beach

A lesser known stretch of the epic 18 mile Chesil beach that on a clear day, affords dazzling views east towards Portland and west towards Golden Cap and on to Lyme Bay.

Cogden Beach credit James Loveridge Photography

The fine shingle beach is owned by the National Trust, who provide parking (free to members), and is also served by the amazing X53 Jurassic Coaster bus service, which stops near to the footpath leading down the beach.

We hope that we’ve given you an insight into the lesser known gems along our breath taking coastline. Don’t forget to share your experiences with us on social media. Maybe it’s time to get out and explore?


Gundimore Beach
Gundimore Beach, Mudeford, Christchurch

Great views of the Isle of Wight and Mudeford Sandbank.

Studland Bay
Knoll Beach and Studland Bay

The National Trust car parks are open at Shell Bay, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach from 9am to 5pm. Toilets are open at Shell Bay, Knoll Beach and Middle Beach. There are limited spaces, so if the car park is full please come back another time. BBQs are not allowed anywhere on the beach or heathland. Fine sandy beaches stretch continuously for 4 miles. The heathland behind the beach is a National Nature Reserve with many rare birds and all six British reptiles.

Old Harry Rocks
National Trust Property
Kayaking at Old Harry Rocks on the Jurassic Coast

Standing tall on Handfast Point at the southern end of Studland Bay is one of the most famous landmarks on the South Coast – Old Harry. The chalk formations are popularly know as Old Harry Rocks, but the name actually refers to the single stack of chalk standing furthest out to sea.

South West Coast Path
Walking Route
Durdle Door beach at sunrise

The Dorset Coast Path forms part of the 630 mile South West Coast Path National Trail.

Worbarrow Bay
Worbarrow Bay, Tyneham, Dorset

Worbarrow Bay is found 1 mile (walking) from Tyneham village. The Bay and village are now managed by the Ministry of Defence and access is limited.

Tyneham Village
Tyneham Village Church, Dorset

Tyneham village was evacuated in 1943 during WWII and has been deserted ever since. The Church and School have exhibitions about the village and villagers. Tyneham Village, Worbarrow Bay and the Lulworth Range walks are open to the public most weekends and during school holidays.

Church Ope Cove and East Weares
Natural Feature
Church Ope Cove and East Weares

Discover one of Portland’s hidden gems on the island’s sheltered east coast. Climb down steps to enjoy this secretive cove or explore the weares , a unique rocky landscape created through landslips and quarrying.

Cogden Beach
A Dorset beach

The National Trust car parks at Cogden Beach and Hive Beach are now open. Spaces are limited, so if the car parks are full please come back another time. Owned by the National Trust, Cogden Beach, the steep shelving, single beach is located on the coast road between Burton Bradstock and Abbotsbury (B3157).

Golden Cap
National Trust Property
Golden Cap

The National Trust car parks at Golden Cap are now open. There are limited spaces, so if the car park is full please come back another time. Golden Cap is a high, flat-topped hill of deep orange sandstone on the cliffs between Charmouth and Bridport, and is comprised of two ages of rock from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The Cap is the highest point on the south coast, at 627ft (191m), with views along the shore to the tip of Portland Bill in one direction and to Start Point in the other. Inland, you can see Pilsdon Pen and as far as Dartmoor.



Nobody has commented on this post yet, why not send us your thoughts and be the first?

Leave a Reply