Beaches in Bournemouth, Dorset

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Located on the south coast of England is Bournemouth, the largest resort in Dorset and one of the most popular seaside towns in the south west. It attracts over five million visitors every year to its safe sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife and abundance of attractions for all the family. read more...

The beach guide has 9 beaches listed in and around the town of Bournemouth. We have arranged these beaches in order of closest to the town first (distance in brackets).

  • Bournemouth Beach (0.5 miles)

    Bournemouth Beach © Jackpeasephotography | BY-SA

    Bournemouth's main beach has been catering for beach-goers since Victorian times, yet remains one of Britain's favourite beaches. It is easy to see the attraction; a huge swathe of fine golden sand set on the doorstep of this vibrant coastal resort town. In the summer Bournemouth beach may get a little too popular for some,…

  • Durley Chine Beach (0.8 miles)

    Durley Chine © Jonathan Hutchins | BY-SA

    West of Bournemouth pier, Durley Chine is often thought of as one of the best beaches in town, around 10 minutes' walk from the more central beaches. Its clean water, golden sands, and easy access to baby changing stations, RNLI services during the summer season, ice cream kiosk, and lost children's centres, make it a…

  • East Cliff Beach (0.7 miles)

    East Cliff © Chris Downer | BY-SA

    Located between Bournemouth and Boscombe Piers, this well-maintained, sandy beach is one of the two main beaches at Bournemouth. East Cliff beach has a reputation for being one of the cleanest along this section of the Dorset coast. It is also said that the bay here benefits from its own microclimate with a reputation for…

  • Alum Chine Beach (1 miles)

    Alum Chine © Robin Drayton | BY-SA

    West of Bournemouth Pier lies this clean, wide sand and shingle beach, backing on to attractive tropical gardens. It's usually quieter than the central beaches; family-friendly features include a large adventure playground with a pirate theme and paddling pool, lost children centres, and ice cream kiosks. The beach slopes gently into the sea and…

  • Boscombe Pier Beach (1.6 miles)

    Boscombe Pier © Chris Leather

    Boscombe Beach forms part of the long stretch of flat, sandy shoreline between Sandbanks to the west and Hengistbury Head to the east. The water quality here is good and in the summer months the beach attracts plenty of visitors who come here to soak up the sun, play in the sand and waves and…

  • Branksome Chine Beach (1.6 miles)

    Branksome Chine ©

    This wide, sandy beach (with some shingle areas) has stunning views out to sea, and backs on to a promenade with a bar, restaurant, and shop. Drinking water is also available, with other refreshments and seaside essentials on sale at the shop. Beach huts can also be hired. 

    There is parking at Branksome Chine Surface Car…

  • Manor Steps Beach (1.8 miles)

    Manor Steps © David Hawgood | BY-SA

    The sandy Manor Steps beach, to the east of Boscombe Pier is one of the quieter beaches in the Bournemouth area. A number of wooden groynes stretch out into the sea and from the beach there are views of the white cliffs of Hengistbury Head. The beach is backed by low-rise, wooded cliffs.  


  • Canford Cliffs Beach (2.1 miles)

    Canford Cliffs © Chris Downer | BY-SA

    Canford Cliffs has to be one of the quieter beaches on the south coast of Dorset, yet it ticks all the boxes for facilities with cafes, toilets, summer lifeguards and excellent Blue Flag water quality. 

    Located between Branksome Chine and Sandbanks, it is part of an affluent Bournemouth neighbourhood. Parking (limited on-street) is on…

  • Shore Road - Sandbanks Beach (2.9 miles)

    Shore Road - Sandbanks © Ian Wool

    With scenic views of Brownsea Island and the Purbeck Hills, this gently sloping, shelving beach with safe, clean water links to the main Sandbanks beach and is a family favourite. It's usually quieter than Sandbanks itself. The free Beach Check app shows how busy it is. The promenade has ice cream kiosks, a cafĂ©, and…

Bournemouth beaches map

Map featuring Bournemouth beaches. Click on pins to view beach details

About Bournemouth

Located on the south coast of England is Bournemouth, the largest resort in Dorset and one of the most popular seaside towns in the south west. It attracts over five million visitors every year to its safe sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife and abundance of attractions for all the family.

Bournemouth seaside

As with many British seaside towns, Bournemouth's popularity grew with the arrivals of the railways in 1870. From then on summer visitors from the Midlands and London flocked to the town. This means much of the town centre architecture is Victorian with the Grade I listed St Peter's Church and its 202 foot spire built in 1879 being one of the main local landmarks. As the town grew in the early 20th century, so did the amenities with theatres, cinemas, cafes and hotels all built to keep up with its growing popularity.

Bournemouth boasts seven miles of sandy beaches backed by sandy clay cliffs. This stretch of coastline is an unbroken chain of great beaches from Sandbanks to Christchurch harbour. There are two piers in the area; Bournemouth Pier is close to the town centre and shorter of the two, it was originally built as a wooden jetty in 1865 but was added to throughout the years and is now home the Pier Theatre (added in 1960). The other is the award winning Boscombe Pier which opened in 1889 and was extended in 1927. It has also been renovated more recently and is now a Grade II listed building.

Other landmarks include the neo-classical style Bournemouth Town Hall, originally built as the Mont Dore Hotel in 1881 and now also a Grade II listed building. The Pavillion Theatre is another notable building, close to the seafront and built in an Art Deco style in 1929, it is still a popular venue. The town has several gardens including Lower, Central and Upper gardens that run for several miles down the valley of the River Bourne. In the Lower gardens is the Bournemouth Eye, a helium filled balloon that rises to nearly 200 foot and provides a panoramic view across the area.

A number of events are held in Bournemouth throughout the year including the popular Bournemouth Food and Drink Festival which takes place over 10 days. There is also The Arts by the Sea Festival which was launched by the University in 2012 and is a mix of film, theatre, dance, music and literature. The Bourne Free carnival was initially a gay pride festival but is now about diversity and inclusion and takes place every year during the summer. There is also the Air Festival that is spread over four days in August, attracting over a million people and features displays from various aircraft including the Hurricane, Spitfire, Vulcan and Red Arrows.