Best Beaches In Dorset

Looking for a tropical escape without the hassle of jet lag? Offering a slice of coastal paradise closer to home, Dorset boasts a tonne of pretty beaches just waiting to be explored. Whether you're into bustling sandy stretches or secret coves you can only reach by boat, this beachy gem serves up the ultimate seaside getaway featuring golden sands, clear waters, and azure skies. Get ready to dip your toes in the English Channel and discover the best Dorset beaches with our curated list.


Bournemouth Beach

Bournemouth Beach has been a seaside superstar since the Victorian era, and still reigns as one of Britain's beachy best, boasting a micro-climate with some of the UK's warmest sea temperatures. Picture this: miles of golden sand, a vibrant resort town at your feet, and a lively atmosphere exuding pure coastal charm. With epic views of the Isle of Wight and the Purbecks, cute beach huts, an arcade-packed Victorian pier as well as a playful promenade train, this sandy destination is the ultimate British seaside escape. Hungry? Head straight to nearby award-winning restaurant WestBeach to indulge in fresh seafood while taking in the views.

Bournemouth Beach Best Beaches Dorset | DesignMyNight

Don't be crabby - head to Bournemouth beach for a shell-ebration of all things sun, surf, and salty air.

Swanage Beach

On the hunt for sandy beaches in Dorset for dogs? Swanage Beach might make you feel like you're abroad, but no passport is needed to access its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters. Just a pebble toss from Swanage town centre, this exotic location perfectly blends Victorian seaside charm with a serene, gently sloping sandy stretch that hugs the whole village. Nestled in calm waters and sheltered from the storm, it extends from Ballard Down to Peveril Point, making it a shore thing for a relaxing day out.

Swanage Beach Best Beaches Dorset | DesignMyNight

Swanage Beach is famed for its epic, sweeping sandy bay that's been a crowd-pleaser for years and years.

Chesil Beach

Chesil Beach, an 18-mile marvel of shingle stretching from West Bay to Portland, is the pebble paradise you didn't know you needed. Separated dramatically from the mainland by Fleet Lagoon, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a haven for birds, marine life, and anyone looking to escape the ordinary. Dive into activities like paddleboarding at the picturesque Church Ope Cove, Jurassic Jet Ski Tours, or meander through Abbotsbury's cutesy art and pottery galleries. Feeling beach weary after all that fun? Drive 30 mins to the charming 16th-century coaching inn, Bull Hotel, for some well-deserved refuge and a steaming plate of ribeye steak.

Chesil Beach Best Beaches Dorset | DesignMyNight

When Dorset gives you sandy beaches, make sandcastles at Chesil Beach.

Durdle Door

Experience a quintessential English beach scene at Durdle Door beach, where the main attraction is the stunning limestone arch that frames the aquamarine sea. This iconic landmark on the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been shaped over millennia by the relentless waves crashing against the headland. Explore intriguing caves and take a shallow dip in the crystal-clear waters, all while soaking in the view of one of the world's most famous (and highly Instagrammable) natural arches.

Durdle Door Best Beaches Dorset | DesignMyNight

Emerging majestically from the deep blue sea, Durdle Door stands as one of the world's most renowned natural rock arches.

West Bay Beach

West Bay Beach is a sloping Jurassic Coast gem that's too iconic to miss. This stunning location near Bridport features dramatic, shimmering sandstone golden cliffs that offer gorgeous panoramic views. Whether you're here to stroll along the shore, marvel at the magnificent cliffs soaring 50 metres above the beach, or simply soak up the scenery, the breathtaking beauty of one of the best beaches in Dorset for families guarantees a fantastic time. For a luxury stay close by, make an indulgent escape to Summer Lodge located a 30-minute drive away, where you can treat yourself to a delicious traditional afternoon tea.

West Bay Best Beaches Dorset | DesignMyNight

Home to both East Beach and West Beach, West Bay Beach is famously known as the golden gateway to the Jurassic Coast.

Lulworth Cove

The stunning Lulworth Cove is a near-perfect circle sculpted by rock erosion over millions of years. This geological gem, one of the best sandy beaches in Dorset, offers visitors a chance to soak in the wonders of nature. Framed by dramatic limestone cliffs, the cove features calm, lagoon-like turquoise waters perfect for swimming and rock pooling at a low tide. Picture a seashell-shaped bay where you can lazily dip in and out of the water or enjoy a picnic shielded from coastal gusts.

Lulworth Cove Dorset Best Beaches | DesignMyNight

With its postcard-perfect beauty and unspoiled charm, Lulworth Cove is a must-visit spot for any beach lover or nature enthusiast.

Studland Beach

The UK's version of the Hamptons and a quintessential beach-goer's haven, Studland Beach is nestled between marram grass-covered dunes and boasts breathtaking views of the Old Harry Rocks sea stacks. Stretching over four miles, it boasts some of Dorset's finest coasts: South Beach, Middle Beach, Shell Bay, and Knoll Beach, offering gleaming sands and crystal-clear waters that are perfect for serenity by the shore. Surrounded by nature reserves, heaths, wetlands, and woodlands, this area isn't just a paradise for walkers but also a sanctuary for wildlife.

Studland Beach Dorset Best Beaches | DesignMyNight

Dive into relaxation mode with stunning panoramic views at Studland Beach.

Man O' War Beach

Man O' War Beach is a true Jurassic Coast gem. This shingle beach, flanked by towering cliffs, offers stunning views of the iconic Durdle Door arch. The cove's lagoon-like aqua is sheltered from wind and currents by a ring of narrow rocks, creating a serene, semi-circular haven. A prime spot for adventure, locals love to snorkel and kayak here in the summer. With crystalline waters, it's a hotspot for divers heading to Durdle Door and Stair Hole. But beware; the steep path down to this beautiful beach is challenging, so come prepared for a bit of a hike.

Man O' War Beach Dorset | DesignMyNight

Best beaches in Dorset for swimming? Dive into crystal-clear bliss at Man O' War Beach.

If you can't get enough of this coastal content, take a look at our guide to Devon beaches and sign up to our UK newsletter for all the latest.