Highcliffe Beach

Highcliffe Beach - Dorset
© Stephen Williams and licensed for reuse under this Licence

Highcliffe Beach is the most easterly beach in Dorset, sitting right on the border with Hampshire.

A series of breakwaters help to create a sand and shingle beach that is popular with swimmers and surfers, particularly body boarders. Not in keeping with its name, Highcliffe is backed by grassy dunes, bushes, trees and low-rise cliffs. The dunes and shrublands behind the beach are criss-crossed with a number of paths and at the western end there is the Steamer Point Nature Reserve.

From July to September there is a lifeguard service on the beach and the beach is cleaned daily during the high season and at regular intervals during the winter.

Car-parking for just over 600 cars is available at the top of Highcliffe cliff, a pay car park, including disabled parking as well as a café (The Cliffhanger Café) and toilet and baby changing facilities. From here there is a rather steep path descending down onto the beach that makes disabled access difficult. However, there is a surfaced wheelchair route from Waterford Road to Chewton Glen

Pubs, restaurants, and shops can be found a few hundred meters away in the centre of the town of Highcliffe.

The Dorset coastal path runs alongside the coast from nearby Chewton Bunny along to Mudeford Quay, providing a few miles of undisturbed paths for walkers to enjoy.

Type of beach

Sand & shingle

Lifeguard service


Dogs friendly beach?

Dogs banned between groynes H8 & H11 from 1st May to 30th Sept. Dogs are permitted on the gravel promenade if on a lead all year.

Dorset dog friendly beaches »


  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Diving & snorkelling
  • Jet-skiing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming/bathing
  • Surfing
  • Water skiing


  • Disabled facilities

Nearest town



BH23 5DG

OS grid ref.

SZ 2052 9297


Parking for 900 including disabled. Fees apply from 1st Mar to 31st Oct.

Water quality

Water quality star rating


Marine Conservation Society Recommended

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Highcliffe Beach Reviews

Great beach with wonderful views

Sep 21st 2020

Highcliffe beach is a 50/50 sand and shingle beach with great views across to the Isle of Wight.  The water is divided by a number of groynes and the wind is kept down by the natural sheltering of the cliff behind.  There is ample parking at the cliff top car park and toilets and refreshments available at the Cliffhanger Cafe by the car park.
It is certainly well worth a visit.

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