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Best Beaches in Dorset

The county boasts some of the most breathtaking beaches in the UK! If you're planning a trip to Dorset, you must include a visit to its stunning coastline. From golden sandy beaches to hidden coves, Dorset has it all.

Durdle Door beach is a natural limestone arch situated on the Jurassic Coast and is a must-visit due to its crystal-clear waters which are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Dorset is also home to the award-winning Sandbanks beach. This beach is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. With its soft golden sand and shallow waters, Sandbanks is the perfect destination for families with young children. The beach also offers a range of watersports activities, including windsurfing, kayaking, surfing and paddleboarding.

If you're looking for a quieter beach, then Lulworth Cove is the perfect destination for you. This small and peaceful cove is surrounded by cliffs and offers stunning views of the Dorset coastline. The picturesque Studland Bay beach is worth visiting as it offers stunning views of Old Harry Rocks.


Sandbanks Beach

Sandbanks Beach

About: Sandbanks Beach isn't just about expensive properties. The beach is famous across the UK and one of the best beaches in the country. Sandbanks Beach has won the Blue Flag Award consecutively for over 30 years, making it a really safe destination for all the family to enjoy. The sweeping golden sands, clear waters and views all contribute to the beauty of Sandbanks Beach.

There are a number of designated areas where you can barbecue, swim or dog walk.

You are welcome to bring your own equipment and there are parasols, deck-chairs, sun-loungers and sports equipment available to hire from the beach office on Banks Road.

Facilities: There are a number of toilets with disabled access scattered across the beach, showers, several restaurants and cafes (we love the Jazz Cafe for people watching at any time of the year), crazy-golf and sports facilities including beach volleyball.

Parking and Transport: There are a number of carparks in Sandbanks which are mostly pay and display. You can also pay to park on the road if you are able to get a space. Try Sandbanks car park or Shore Road Car Park. There is also a regular bus service (get the Breezer 60 from Poole), and Sandbanks Ferry is always a favourite.

Location: Banks Road, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7QQ

Tel: 01202 708181


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Hamworthy Beach

Hamworthy Park and Beach

About: Hamworthy Beach is the oppposite end to Poole's famous Sandbanks beach, on the Northern Shore of Poole Harbour. It's close to the town centre and Poole's amenities, but far enough away to offer a real slice of paradise. Hamworthy Park and Beach is often quieter than Sandbanks (although it's very popular with locals). 

It's popular all year round for dog walking as it is a designated dog beach. The park and seasonal paddling pool make it a really popular choice with families too.

Facilities: There is an onsite cafe, public toilets and beach huts for hire. You are no longer permitted to barbecue at Hamworthy Park and Beach.

Parking and Transport: Parking - Hamworthy Park surface car park BH15 4DJ; 60 spaces. There are a few public transport options with morebus and Yellow Buses. The nearest train stations are Hamworthy (0.9 miles), Poole (1.4 miles) and Holton Heath (2.8 miles). Although you can cycle to the beach and park and there are designated cycle routes, cycling isn't allowed on the promenade at Hamworthy Park.

Location: Lulworth Avenue, Poole, Dorset, BH15 4DH

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Canford Cliffs

Canford Cliffs Beach (credit Poole.gov)

Canford Cliffs Beach

About: We love the Canford Cliffs area; the blue sea and golden sands backed by the stunning backdrop of the cliffs make it a real beauty spot. It's located between Shore Road and Branksome Chine. It has Blue Flag status making it a hit with families and it's popular with swimmers and paddle boarders.

Facilities: Lots of cafes and restaurants in the lovely village of Canford Cliffs. There are plenty of refreshments and drinking water spots on the beach itself, plus public toilets and lifeguards during peak summer months.

Parking and Transport: Parking in Canford Cliffs can be tricky, especially during peak season so be prepared to drive around a bit to find a spot. Off street parking is available on Western Road BH13 7BH; 50 spaces, 2 disabled. There are a few public transport optoions, view timetables with morebus and Yellow Buses. The nearest train stations to this beach are Branksome (1.6 miles), Parkstone (2.8 miles) and Bournemouth (2.9 miles). Cycling is permitted on the promenade but restrictions are in place during July and August. 

Location: Cliff Road, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7HX

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Studland Beach (credit National Trust)

Studland Bay

About: Studland Bay in Purbeck, is a magnificent four-mile long strength of perfect golden sandy beaches with gentle waters and offers incredible views across to Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Wight.

The four National Trust owned sandy beaches and heathland are; Knoll Beach, Shell Bay, Middle and South Beach. 

Don't be surprised if you see more than the coastline; these are the most popular naturist beaches in Britain! 

Although you can while away the time sunbathing and swimming, it's worth a walk around the designated walking trails throughout the sand dunes and woodlands as you are likely to spot many wild flowers, birds, insects, and even deer!

Facilities: There are numerous public toilets on Studland's Beaches including disabled, guide dogs allowed, numerous car parks with disabled spaces, cafe and shop at Knoll Beach. Boat, Kayak and Wind Surfing hire and designated areas.

Parking and Transport: The shorest journey to Studland from Poole is via the Sandbanks Ferry. If you drive, or take the bus, it's a good 19 mile drive, approx. 30 minutes but the views are worth it and if you can take in some of the walks and views which aren't close to the ferry port (Old Harry Rocks is a must!). The more Breezer 50 has a good bus service to and from Studland.

Location: Ferry Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AQ

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Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay

About: Kimmeridge Bay is a sheltered rocky bay and is a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a good spot to observe the geological importance of the Jurassic Coast.

This sheltered bay, though not sandy, is a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home to the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Marine Centre.

As well as delivering some really wild and different views to what you would be used to from Poole's beaches, Kimmeridge, with a right-hand reef break, can be a fantastic spot for surfing when the conditions are right. Check out the current conditions and surf forcast here.

Facilities: If you are looking to spend the day here, we recommend you check the tide times and bring a picnic as the local shop and pub is a good 20 minute walk away from the beach and car park. Toilets and showers in the slip-way carpark. Bring change for parking and the £3 toll road.

Parking and Transport: Kimmeridge Bay is 17 miles and approx. 32 minute drive from central Poole via the A351. There are parking spaces for 100 vehicles. Visit Travel Line South West to play your busy journey. 

Location: Ferry Road, Studland, Dorset, BH19 3AQ

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