Church Ope Cove

  • Church Ope Cove - Dorset
    © Ivan Hall and licensed for reuse under this Licence
  • Church Ope Cove - Dorset
    © Ian Wool
  • Church Ope Cove is located on the Isle of Portland near Weymouth. The beach consists of soft limestone pebbles and is surrounded by cliffs on three sideswhich provide shelter from the often strong breeze in the area. As the beach faces south, it is also something of a sun trap throughout the day.

    The beach is popular for swimming, snorkelling and diving, however, there is no lifeguard and the currents outside the direct cove area are strong. As a result, swimming further out is not recommended and children shouldn’t venture out into the deeper parts of the cove at all.

    One of the big draws of Church Ope Cove is the views of Rufus Castle which overlooks the area beach the clifftop. You can also walk to the nearby ruins of old St Andrew’s Church which is accessed via a footpath leading directly from Church Ope Cove.

    Wildlife highlights here include a range of species of birds and if you are lucky you may even spot a passing dolphin in these waters.

    To get to the beach, you will need to walk down a flight of steep steps which may be difficult for small children or less able visitors. Amenities nearby include a cafe, a caravan park and toilets. Visitors may also notice that there beach huts here although these are privately owned and are not usually available for rent.

    Type of beach


    Lifeguard service


    Dogs friendly beach?

    Dogs allowed

    Dogs are allowed. There are no dog bins. but dogs are seldom seen on the beach.

    Dorset dog friendly beaches »


    • Diving & snorkelling
    • Good fishing
    • Swimming/bathing


    • Cafe/restaurant
    • Toilets
    • Beach hut hire

    Nearest town



    DT5 1HU

    OS grid ref.

    SY 6976 7103


    Parking is available for 15-20 cars. a quarter of a mile away opposite Pennsylvania Castle. Parking is free.

    Water quality

    Water quality star rating


    Marine Conservation Society Recommended

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