Beer beach

Beer Beach

Chesil beach

Chesil Beach

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Sidmouth

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Weston Mouth


Branscombe

Beer

Seaton

Lyme Regis

Charmouth

Seatown

West Bay

Hive Beach

Chesil beach

Weymouth

Ringstead

Durdle Door

Lulworth Cove

Kimmeridge Bay

Studland

Swanage

Ringstead bay

Kimmeridge at sunset

Bournemouth

Long, mainly pebbly beach with sand at Jacobs Ladder to the west where you can find rock pools at low tide to explore. Wide traditional seafront gives way to the distinctive red-hued Triassic cliffs.

Only accessible via footpath from the village of Weston. It is a peaceful and isolated beach. Isolated enough to be a popular beach for naturists. It is listed as one of nineteen nudist beaches in the UK.

A lovely wide, wild strand of shingle. Not too wild, though. The Sea Shanty serves everything from fry-ups through to cream teas throughout the day.

Small, picturesque cove. Against the cliffs are beach cafes serving everything from all day breakfasts to homemade cake. After youve had your fill, laze away the afternoon in one of the rows of deckchairs while staring at the little fishing boats puttering towards the horizon or drawn up on the pebbles. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, fishing trips leave from the sloping pebble beach.

Wide seafront similar to Sidmouth. A long curve of pebbles is backed by a wide promenade. Sand at low tide.

The main town beach is a steeply sloping pebble beach which shades into a sand near the picturesque Cobb Harbour.. To the east and separate from the main beach is the smaller, quieter Church Beach, pebbles with sand at low tide. To the west, beyond the Cobb Harbour is Monmouth beach; its white flinty pebbles give it an almost Mediterranean feel on a bright summer’s day. Low tide creates a paradise of rock pools for children to explore while an investment in a fossil hammer could give you your very own dinosaur to take home.

Peaceful with shingle which shelves quite steeply.

Two wide shingle beaches, East beach and West Beach, divided by a small harbour.

Long clean sandy beach overlooked by cliffs and farmland. Strong point: the award-winning Hive Beach Cafe when hunger bites.

An eighteen mile bank of pebbles which is one of the wonders of the natural world. Currents and a steeply shelving beach make bathing unwise. Behind it lies the Fleet, an enclosed area of brackish water which is now an area of special scientific interest and was the inspiration for the classic story Moonfleet by J Meade Faulkner.

The Naples of Dorset certainly lives up to its name in summer. A beautiful azure sea curves away to the chalk cliffs of the Purbecks shimmering in the heat haze.

The fine sand is unequalled for sand castles (ask the sand sculptor who has a pitch on the beach). The shallow water is perfect for toddlers... in fact it is the quintessential English resort with donkeys, swing boats and candy floss. It has a wide esplanade for promenading. Its biggest blight, though, is the traffic, and parking is always at a premium; so plan to get there early.

An unspoilt beach with just a few holiday bungalows and a tearoom. It is a wide curve of shingle beach with good safe shallows. Once again, lovely views of Portland, and gentle walks on to the cliffs when you have finished frying yourself. Its eastern end tends to be used for discreet nude sunbathing.

Two long shingle beaches are separated by the rocky outcrop of Durdle Door. Access is down a long path from the car park at the edge of a caravan park and the nearest WCs... Avoid loading yourself with too many deckchairs etc.; it is a long haul back to the top!

Like Durdle Door, Lulworth is an icon of the Purbecks. The beach forms an almost full circle broken by just a narrow entrance. It is mostly shingle and child friendly. Although it gets crowded where the road finishes, a short walk along soon shakes off the hordes.


A four mile stretch of gently shelving sandy beach owned by the National Trust. Superb for children. At the far end is a nudist beach for those who like to feel the sand between a bit more than their toes.

Traditional holiday resort.  A wide esplanade fronted by a long, sandy beach perfect for children. Pedalo hire is available.

The smooth sandy strand stretches for several miles all the way to Poole. It is backed by a wide car-free promenade along which you can walk or cycle (except in high summer) and refuel where necessary from the many kiosks and snack bars when you've had your fill of sand and sea. It is also just a short hop from sea front to the high street and its large department stores.

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Golden Cap from the beach at Lyme Regis

A long lane brings you to this wide cove backed by low cliffs. Rocky outcrops make it one of the best places for rock pooling. Constant activity surrounds the jetties as it is a popular destination for divers. There is a marine centre and WC. An ice cream van in the summer is the only source of food so bring a picnic.

The long beach in Charmouth lies about a quarter of a mile from the village centre. It is a mix of shingle, stone and sand divided by the river Char. Apart from beach activities there are fossils to look for as well as rock pools to explore at low tide. The Heritage Centre gives you a fascinating insight into the area and has a cafe.

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The best beaches in Dorset

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