Hengistbury West Beach

Hengistbury West Beach - Dorset
© Miss Steel and licensed for reuse under this Licence

Hengistbury Head is a promontory which juts out almost a mile into the sea separating Poole Bay and Christchurch Bay.
The mainly undeveloped headland has a terrain composed of a mix of heathland, woodland, wetland and scrub, and provides a habitat to a good variety of plant and animal life.  There are nature trails here and a visitor centre.  Information boards tell about the wildlife and also about the history of the area, which is thought to have been home to one of Britain’s first Iron Age communities.

On the western side of the headland, West Beach is composed mainly of shingle and pebble.  From the beach there are views towards Poole Bay and towards the western tip of the Isle of Wight.  This is a good place to come to get away from the crowds of some of the Bournemouth area’s main beaches. It is also one of the few beaches in the area that are dog friendly throughout the year.

Although there is no lifeguard cover, Hengistbury Head is popular for swimming and surfing. 

A miniature land train operates along a circular route, taking in the main car park and Mudeford Spit.

Type of beach

Pebbles & shingle

Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs allowed

Dogs are allowed and dog bins are provided.

Dorset dog friendly beaches »


  • Swimming/bathing
  • Wind surfing


  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Toilets

Nearest town




OS grid ref.

SZ 1612 9085


There are 500 pay and display parking spaces at Hengistbury Head.

Water quality

Water quality star rating


Marine Conservation Society Recommended

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Hengistbury West Beach Reviews

Jul 10th 2022

There’s everything to interest anyone. The geology alone is beautiful! Scenery and walks are varied. Beautiful place

Sep 23rd 2021

needs more beach very disappoint will not visit