Dorset Beaches

With almost 100 miles of coast it should be no surprise that Dorset has its fair share of great beaches. Yet what makes the Dorset coastline special is the diversity and range of coves and beaches. From sandbanks and spits to circular coves with weird and wonderful rock formations.

A large proportion of the coast in Dorset forms most of the Jurassic Coast, England's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast stretches from Old Harry Rocks near Swanage to the border with Devon at Lyme Regis. The coast owes its status as a World Heritage Site to the unique insight into the Earth's geology it offers. It has been described as a geological 'walk through time' spanning the 185 million years of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The coast here is also a haven for palaeontologists with a high concentrations of fossils, although fossil hunters have pretty much emptied the area around Lyme Regis.

The beaches of Dorset are not only of interest to scientists though. There are some great family beaches and Blue Flag awards have been given to 9 beaches in East Dorset, mainly in the Bournemouth and Poole area.

There are also a few good surf spots in Dorset. The most popular are the Bournemouth beaches, particularly by the Pier and Southbourne, however, just along the coast is one of the best reef breaks in the UK (when it works and the army aren't blowing things up, which isn't too often!) at Kimmeridge.

If you would like information on all of the UK's beaches have a look at the UK Beaches Guide website.

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Popular Dorset Beaches

  • Swanage Beach

    Swanage is a small Victorian seaside resort on the Isle of Purbeck. The town looks over a gently shelving blue flag beach with its own pier and a harbour suitable for small day boats.The pier, originally built as a dock for the paddle...
  • Weymouth Beach

    A clean, safe and sandy beach runs the length of the town of Weymouth, situated 8 miles south of Dorchester and 5 miles north of the Isle of Portland. Weymouth has had a strong tourism tradition since the 18th century and the beach remains...
  • Highcliffe Beach

    Highcliffe Beach

    Signposted from Christchurch, Highcliffe, once part of Hampshire, is Dorset's most easterly parish. A short walk down steep cliffs will bring you to the beach, which is clean, safe and sandy and offers pleasant views of the Isle...
  • Chesil Cove

    Chesil Cove

    Chesil Cove, at the most southerly, Portland, extreme of the 17 mile long Chesil Beach, is a pebble beach that protects the low-lying village of Chiswell from flooding.Chesil Cove is a haven for scuba divers due to the numerous shipwrecks...
  • Lulworth Cove

    Pebbles and high cliffs characterise Lulworth Cove, where the difference between the Portland stone and the softer Purbeck can be clearly noted in the bay's near-perfect circular shape, making it a sheltered harbour for boats. The...