Dorset Swimming beaches

The beach guide has 43 swimming beaches listed in Dorset. Check here for all swimming beaches in the UK

  • Weymouth ©

    1. Weymouth Beach

    Weymouth Beach is a curving arc of golden sand adjacent to the town centre, with Weymouth pier at the southern end. Family-friendly, the safe, shallow waters are ideal for swimming, and a range of other activities are on offer during…

  • Newton's Cove ©

    2. Newton's Cove

    Tucked away below Nothe Gardens, Newton's cove is a small area of shingle with plenty of rock pools. The beach is backed by a modern promenade which makes access easy from Nothe Fort. Generally speaking this is one of the quieter spots…

  • Shore Road - Sandbanks ©

    3. Shore Road - Sandbanks Beach (Poole)

    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…

  • Greenhill ©

    4. Greenhill Beach (Weymouth)

    The mainly pebble beach of Greenhill lies in Weymouth Bay and is less crowded than the sandier beaches in the area. The beach is backed by a promenade which actually forms a section of the South West Coast Path. There are some lovely beach…

  • Mupe Bay ©

    5. Mupe Bay

    Just around the corner from Dorset's best-known cove (Lulworth) is the hidden gem that is Mupe Bay.  A crescent…

  • Swanage ©

    6. Swanage Beach (North)

    The clean, white sands combined with sheltered, clear waters of the bay make Swanage an ideal destination for a bucket and spade excursion.  The bay is flanked by magnificent chalk headlands on either side, and views out over the…

  • Bournemouth Beach ©

    7. Bournemouth Beach

    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…

  • Studland - Knoll Beach ©

    8. Studland - Knoll Beach

    Knoll beach forms the southern end of Studland Bay's four mile stretch of white sand. Backed by sand dunes the beach forms part of the Studland National Nature Reserve. 

    At the northern end, Towards Shell…

  • Church Ope Cove ©

    9. Church Ope Cove

    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…

  • Ringstead Bay ©

    10. Ringstead Bay

    The shingle beach at Ringstead Bay stretches for nearly half a mile (700m) revealing a wide expanse of sand at low tide. The western side of the beach has a number of rock pools and there is also a reef close to the shore which is visible…

  • Canford Cliffs ©

    11. Canford Cliffs Beach (Poole)

    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

  • Highcliffe ©

    12. Highcliffe Beach

    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…

  • Studland - Shell Bay ©

    13. Studland - Shell Bay

    Set at the very tip of the National Trust owned Studland Peninsula is the lovely Shell Bay. Depending on where you start this either the first or last of Studland's beautiful sandy beaches. There are two ways to reach Shell Bay; you can…

  • Lyme Regis Beach ©

    14. Lyme Regis Beach

    Lyme Regis' picturesque harbour dates back to the fourteenth century. Known as The Cobb, it contains a small, sandy beach sheltered by a curving harbour wall, famously used in the opening shot of the film 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'.


  • Seatown ©

    15. Seatown Beach

    Seatown is a coastal hamlet with a privately-owned beach, just east of Golden Cap, the highest point on England's south coast. The shelving shingle beach is open to the public and popular with fossil collectors, fishermen and families…

  • Swanage ©

    16. Swanage Beach

    Swanage combines a Victorian-style seaside resort with a sheltered, calm, gently sloping sandy beach that runs the entire length of the town. Behind the beach is a promenade, which is partly pedestrianised in summer. Entertainments…

  • Charmouth ©

    17. Charmouth Beach

    Popular on account of having a little more sand than Charmouth West Beach, Charmouth's East Beach is a good place to find small Ammonite and Belemnite fossils.


  • Alum Chine ©

    18. Alum Chine Beach (Bournemouth)

    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…

  • Harbour Lake ©

    19. Harbour Lake Beach (Poole)

    Harbour Lake is a sheltered, sandy beach not far from Poole town centre. The beach is surrounded by a nature reserve and seals are often seen swimming in the harbour. Popular for fishing, swimming and sailing.

  • Fishermans Walk ©

    20. Fishermans Walk Beach (Bournemouth)

    A little quieter than the two main Bournemouth beaches at East Cliff and West Cliff, Fisherman's Walk is a family-friendly sandy beach with a pleasantly lively atmosphere. The beach is mainly sand with some shingle, and has beach huts…

  • East Cliff ©

    21. East Cliff Beach (Bournemouth)

    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…

  • Charmouth ©

    22. Charmouth Beach (West)

    Part of the 96-mile long Jurassic Coast, Charmouth Beach is one of the best spots on the south coast to come fossil hunting. The beach is mainly shingle, although at low tide a good expanse of sand is exposed. The beach divides into three…

  • Lulworth Cove ©

    23. Lulworth Cove

    Lulworth Cove is a very sheltered pebble beach in a remarkable, horseshoe shaped cove, formed ten thousand years ago by erosion from the sea.

    There is ample parking, a cafe, toilets and boat trips in summer to Durdle Door and…

  • West Bay ©

    24. West Bay (West)

    The village of West Bay, formerly known as Bridport Harbour, lies at the mouth of the River Brit, about one and a half miles south of Bridport. West Beach is one of the two beaches on either side of the harbour and it forms a cove between…

  • Hengistbury Head ©

    25. Hengistbury Head Beach (Bournemouth)

    Hengistbury Head is a relatively unspoilt and south-facing pebble beach, with imposing clay and ironstone cliffs. At the less developed end is Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve, which separates Poole Bay and Christchurch Bay. Plenty of parking…

  • Branksome Chine ©

    26. Branksome Chine Beach (Poole)

    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…

  • Bowleaze Cove ©

    27. Bowleaze Cove

    Bowleaze Cove is a sand and pebble beach just over two miles northeast from Weymouth. At low tide further patches of sand and a number of rockpools become visible.

    There is a slipway here suitable for launching small craft and…

  • Durdle Door ©

    28. Durdle Door Beach

    The main feature of this iconic cove is the magnificent limestone arch leading into the clear, aquamarine waters of the sea. The arch, which separates Durdle Door from Man o'War Bay, was formed by thousands of years' of pounding waves…

  • Southbourne ©

    29. Southbourne Beach (Bournemouth)

    Bournemouth's Southbourne Beach can be reached directly from Southbourne High Street via the Fisherman's Walk nature trail. From the top of the cliff there are views of the beach and Hengistbury Head and, on a clear day, the Needles…

  • Durley Chine ©

    30. Durley Chine Beach (Bournemouth)

    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…

  • Man O'War Beach ©

    31. Man O'War Beach

    Located in the next small cove to the more famous Durdle Door is Man O' War beach. Whilst the rock formations are not quite as spectacular as next door the headland is still pretty impressive.


  • Mudeford Sandbank ©

    32. Mudeford Sandbank Beach

    Situated at the mouth of Christchurch harbour this sandy spit of beach forms a barrier between the sea and this large natural harbour. There are great views both of the harbour itself and to the Isle of Wight and Needles across the Solent.…

  • Boscombe Pier ©

    33. Boscombe Pier Beach (Bournemouth)

    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…

  • Avon Beach ©

    34. Avon Beach (Christchurch)

    Not far from Christchurch in Dorset, Avon beach is a good destination for families with young children. Backed by a promenade to one end and attractive, pastel coloured beach huts to the other, the beach here is gently sloping and is…

  • West Bay ©

    35. West Bay (East)

    This fine shingle beach stretches from the western end of the vast area of Chesil Beach to the harbour at West Bay. The beach slopes quite steeply into the sea and there are some areas of sand at the water’s edge. Because of this sudden…

  • Overcombe ©

    36. Overcombe Beach

    Just under two miles east of Weymouth is the wide shingle beach of Overcombe. Despite its relative proximity to the town the beach here has a very different feel with very little in way of development. It is a popular spot with local families…

  • Hengistbury West ©

    37. Hengistbury West Beach

    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…

  • Steamer Point ©

    38. Steamer Point Beach (Christchurch)

    Steamer Point is a dedicated Local Nature reserve (LNR) between Friar's Cliff and Highcliffe Castle on the Dorset Coast. The 24-acre site offers outstanding views from the cliff tops to the beach below and out over Hengistbury Head in…

  • Eypemouth ©

    39. Eypemouth Beach

    The beach at Eypemouth is a mix of gravel and shingle, although the odd patches of sand are occasionally exposed by the tidal movement. What makes the beach special, are the stunning views of the cliffs along the Lyme Bay Jurassic…

  • Sandsfoot Castle (Portland Harbour ) ©

    40. Sandsfoot Castle (Portland Harbour ) Beach

    Set on a sand spit in Portland Harbour, Sandsfoot Castle is a small, privately-owned beach, backed by cliffs and the ruins of Castleton Castle. Sheltered and sandy, Castle Cove is popular for a range of watersports including swimming,…

  • Highcliffe Castle ©

    41. Highcliffe Castle Beach (Christchurch)

    A lovely sand and shingle beach, excellent for swimming, with safe, clean water and views across to the Isle of Wight. Access from the grounds of Highcliffe Castle. Steamer Point Nature Reserve is adjacent to the beach. Parking and other…

  • Castle Cove ©

    42. Castle Cove

    Known locally as Sandsfoot Cove, Castle Cove beach lies within the Portland Harbour, about 100 yards from Sandsfoot Castle and Gardens. The secluded, sandy beach slopes gently into the water, and is backed by greenery and low-rise cliffs.…

  • Manor Steps ©

    43. Manor Steps Beach (Bournemouth)

    The sandy Manor Steps beach, to the east of Boscombe Pier is one of the quieter beaches in the Bournemouth…