Whether you’re an early riser or a languorous lounger, a sun worshipper or a skilled swimmer, you’re bound to find the perfect Dorset beach. Lapped by the English Channel, Dorset’s beaches are celebrated for their striking beauty, geological significance (it isn’t known as the Jurassic Coast for nothing), and unspoiled nature, and luckily, all are easily accessibly when staying with us at the Acorn Inn or Summer Lodge Country House. Here are seven of our favourite beaches in Dorset – all you’ll need now is the perfect British beach treat. 99 flake, anyone?
Planning to paddle with the whole clan? Make way to Weymouth. One of the most popular beaches in Dorset, it stretches for over three golden miles. Amblers can take to the sand, while young ones are sure to be tempted by old-fashioned donkey rides and puppet shows. Though you’re very unlikely to have the beach to yourself, particularly on sunny days, don’t fret: Weymouth won the coveted Seaside Award from Keep Britain Tidy in 2015, meaning you’ll be picking your way through seashells instead of rubbish.
A highlight of the World Heritage-grade Jurassic Coast, the crescent-shaped Lulworth Cove is an idyllic setting for a peaceful stroll, far from the madding crowd. Dotted with fishing boats, the view is reason enough to visit, but spend a day here and you can also enjoy nearby attractions, including other primordial sights, from the fable-like fossil forest to the beautiful chalk cliffs of Mupe Bay.
An easy walk from Lulworth Cove brings you to one of Britain’s most popular (and recognisable) geological sights, Durdle Door. Take care on the steep path down to the shore and then marvel at this spectacular setting for picnics, sunbathing and snorkelling. The beach here is shingle (perfect for skimming pebbles out to sea) and affords quite the photogenic view of the limestone arch stretching out into the water.
When it comes to beaches in Dorset, naturalists and naturists alike share a love for Studland Beach. Not only does the beach have soft, golden sand and views of Old Harry Rocks, but it’s also adjacent to Studland Heath, which is home to an abundance of wildlife. Naturists, meanwhile, can throw their bathing suits in the air in celebration because the beach, one of the most popular nudist areas in the country, has been clothing-optional since the 1920s. That moniker is no misnomer, then.
With only a few cottages and a farm nearby, the coastal hamlet of Seatown in Lyme Bay offers a day of quiet and reflection – perfect for catching up on your summer reading and escaping the crowds. There’s even a pub within easy strolling distance serving delicious local food and a thirst-quenching selection of Dorset ales, so get your beach chairs at the ready and prepare to settle in for the day.
The beaches of Dorset are known for being welcoming to our four-legged companions, and Chesil Beach is no exception. Offering some great walks and plenty of picturesque splendour, the shingle ridge is one of Britain’s natural wonders, stretching for 18 miles from Portland to West Bay – so there’s an abundance of opportunities to exhaust Fido on your day out.
Are you of the adrenaline-junkie persuasion? Watersports enthusiasts would do well to make a beeline for Swanage, thanks to the embarrassment of aquatic activities available, from canoeing to jet skiing. Swanage Pier is a popular spot for divers – both new and experienced – with a designated training zone and plenty of boats waiting to ferry you out to offshore dive sites. And, for something a bit different, why not head out to sea and learn to hoist a mainsail with Moonfleet Adventure Sailing aboard a classic gaff-rigged cutter?