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The Best 9 Dog Friendly Beaches in Dorset & 2021 Restrictions

If you’ve ever been to Dorset on holiday before, you’ll know it’s home to some of the most stunning coastlines in the whole of the UK. But what if you want to bring pets with you on holiday, down towards Lyme Regis, Bournemouth and otherwise? No need to worry – we’ve lined up some of the best dog-friendly beaches in Dorset for you to plan for the next time you travel.

Luckily, dog-friendly beaches in Dorset are widespread. However, we understand your plight as to how much of a pain it can be to find the best beaches for you, your family and your four-legged friends. You’ll be looking for the best facilities, convenient places to stay – and, naturally, you’ll want a sandy beach or two where there are zero dog restrictions.

So – save yourself a bit of time. In this beach guide, we’ve hunted down the best of Dorset dog-friendly beaches we can personally recommend. If you’re also keen to look for the best dog walks in Dorsetelsewhere, be sure to check out our complete guide.

When are dogs allowed on beaches in Dorset and the South West Coast Path?

Dog lovers know the pain of heading to a nice, sandy beach with their pets, only to find that there are dog restrictions in place. It can really spoil your hopes for a nice day out! Unfortunately, not all beaches welcome dogs all year round.

However, we’ve saved you from this regular pain and hassle by finding out when and where you can take your dogs at some of the most popular resorts in Dorset. It’s always a good idea to check out local signs as well as online guidance before your visit to make sure – but you can rest assured the data listed here is relevant to Dorset dog friendly beaches for 2021.

The Best Beaches in Dorset for Dogs 

Bowleaze Cove 

This pebble-dashed, golden sand beach is ideal for swimmers, surfers, fishers and budding sailors. It is particularly popular amongst families during the summer, thanks to the rock pools that are accessible at low tide, and the shallow water of the cove, which is ideal for children. Bowleaze Cove dogs love the area, too.

Around the beach, you will find beautiful green hills that are perfect for walking along with your dog and for views of the Isle of Portland. It also happens to be quite a popular viewing spot during the summer, particularly for the Weymouth firework show. 

Bowleaze Cove and beach also happen to be close to facilities such as a cafe and a nearby pub, as well as a funfair (although this is only present during the summer season). 

Best of all, dogs are welcome on this beach year-round! Chances are that you will come across quite a few dog lovers in this area. Many people choose this particular space for a day out with their dog’s thanks to the stunning walks and nearby facilities. You will want for nothing and will be grateful for this peaceful and beautiful beach. 

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 6PW

Facilities nearby: Cafe, pub, beach shop, slipway, car parking 

Chesil Beach 

Chesil Beach is one of the most famous beach resorts on the south coast, thanks to both its amazing length as well as its connections with author Ian McEwen. Books aside, you’re going to want to give your dog the full tour of this corner of Dorset.

This 18-mile long sand and shingle beach goes all the way from West Bay to Portland and is quite peculiar to look at in a way – as it can seem as though it goes on forever, in a straight line. 

It is a part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and the view of the beach from the coast road above Abbotsbury was in fact voted as Britain’s 3rd Best View in Country Life Magazine. How many other dog-friendly beaches have that kind of accolade?

The lagoon situated behind the beach, Fleet Lagoon, is designated as an SSSI, as it is an important natural habitat for various species such as egrets, swans, geese, and greenshanks. 

The beach itself is popular among anglers as it is known as being a great spot to catch mackerel. You will even find people cooking their own catch of the day on the beach, especially during the summer months. It also attracts plenty of people thanks to the traditional seaside town that can be found not far from the beach.

Another great feature about this beach is that dogs are welcome on it year round. The miles and miles of sand mean that even in the summer, it never feels overcrowded, and therefore offers plenty of space for you and your dog to enjoy together. 

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Chesil Beach, Weymouth, Dorset DT6 4RJ

Facilities nearby: Car park, toilets, picnic area 

Monmouth Pebble Beach

Monmouth Beach also happens to be a part of the Jurassic Coast. This relatively small beach extends from Cobb to Pinhey Beach and is particularly popular among fossil hunters. It is indeed very easy to find fossils on this beach, and the nearby fossil shop will help you with any further information that you would like to find out about your discoveries on the route.

The beach is surrounded by the Ware Cliffs – they exceptionally beautiful to behold, but they should not be climbed or walked on too close to the edge, as they are known for being quite unstable. 

This sand and pebble beach also offers chalets situated right on the beach that are available to rent for holidays. Why not look for pet-friendly holiday cottages in Dorset elsewhere, too?

This beach also happens to be yet another on which dogs are welcome year-round. It is a great place to take your four-legged friend for a peaceful wander, and a voyage or two through time. 

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: Yes

Address: Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3JN

Facilities nearby: Beach hut hire, car park, fossil shop, toilets 

Lulworth Cove

This cove is a particularly popular beach destination thanks to the typical British pebble beach and the clear blue waters, not to mention the beautiful green hills that surround the beach itself. It’s another Jurassic Coast staple. At low tide, you will find many rock pools, each filled with different sea wildlife. 

To reach the cove, you can take a walk along the South West Coast Path to connect you and your four-legged friend to the sandy stretch. Dogs are welcome on this beach year-round. The nearby trail and beautiful beach views make for a perfect day’s hiking – and we defy you to not fall in love with the various landscapes and views along the way. 

It is, however, advised to not walk too closely to the edge of the cliffs around Lulworth Cove, as rocks may fall from overhead.

Surrounding the cove, you will find plenty of local facilities, with a cafe and a pub nearby – as well as public toilets, a car park and a visitor centre. 

The area does tend to get quite packed during the summer season, so be careful to keep your dog on a lead when necessary. 

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Lulworth Cove, Main Road, West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5RQ

Facilities nearby: Cafe, pub, car park, toilets, visitor centre 

Durdle Door Beach

This beach is not only incredibly fun to say (!), it also happens to be an extremely photogenic area and is particularly popular for that same reason. You may recognise the limestone arch that edges off of the beach into the sea. It, again, is a Jurassic Coast staple.

The clear blue waters attract swimmers and snorkelers from all over the country, especially during the summer months, however, it is advised that extreme caution be taken in these waters as there is no lifeguard service and it can, at times, be a dangerous area to swim in. 

Access to the beach is down a steep, long staircase that should not be accessed without proper footwear! Word to the wise, Durdle Door isn’t the most accessible of beaches for people with low mobility – so do set expectations.

That being said, it is perfect for a dog walk by the seaside. Not only are dogs welcome here all year round, you’ll find it’s wonderful to snap photos of. You’ll likely find yourself taking shots and sharing them online in no time at all.

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Durdle Door, West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5PU (postcode directs to holiday park)

Facilities nearby: Cafe, restaurant, display car park, toilets, holiday park 

Kimmeridge Bay 

Kimmeridge Bay is wild, wonderful, and brilliant for anyone looking to learn more about local nature. Very few beaches in Dorset benefit from the biodiversity out here.

It is a particularly popular spot among those who are interested in marine wildlife, as it is through the beach that you can access the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve. From the beach, you can access the many rockpools, filled with crabs, fish and anemones. 

Although there is no actual sand on this beach, it does leave incredibly clear water as a result, making it ideal for snorkelers and divers. It also happens to attract many surfers throughout the year, thanks to its famously big waves crashing along the shoreline.

This beach also happens to be yet another to be a part of the massive Jurassic Coastline, thanks to rocks on the beach itself being filled with fossils.

Dogs are allowed on this beach year-round and although it will not be the softest spot to walk on, it is still a beautiful place to explore – and is a great starting point for the South West Path. 

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Kimmeridge Bay, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5PH

Facilities nearby: Slipway, car parks, toilets 

Church Ope Cove 

This stunning little beach is situated on the Isle of Portland and is made up of limestone pebbles and beautiful blue waters. So – why is this small pebbly beach popular with tourists?

Church Ope Cove attracts many swimmers, surfers and snorkelers during the summer months, however the currents are strong and as there is no lifeguard service, it is strongly advised to take precautions before heading into the sea. Even if you choose to remain on the pebbles, you will be able to admire the marine wildlife, including dolphins that are often seen in this area. 

Church Beach and Church Ope Cove are surrounded by stunning cliffs, on top of which lies Rufus Castle and the nearby ruins of St Andrew’s Church. 

Access to these historical landmarks requires walking over some rocky terrain – and access to the beach itself involves descending a steep path and a flight of stairs. Due to this, this particular beach may not be the best location for small children or those who have trouble getting around, however, it is ideal for dog walkers. 

Dogs are allowed on this beach all year round and thanks to its wonderful historic landmarks and its lovely pebbled sands, you’re sure to find it a great day out with dogs.

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Church Ope Cove, Pennsylvania Rd, Isle of Portland, Dorset DT5 1HT

Facilities nearby: Beach hut hire, cafe, caravan park, toilets

Studland to Shell Bay

Studland to Shell Bay offers a marvellous dog walk that’s close to both the lovely seaside town of Poole and the National Trust’s Studland Peninsula. Therefore, if you’re coming off the best Bournemouth beaches and are looking to explore other spectacular beaches that offer wonderful wildlife spotting opportunities, you’re going to want to make a beeline.

Shell Bay is a marine conservation award winner, and you’ll be pleased to hear that the area welcomes dogs all year round. That said, as with some other beaches in the area, you’ll need to keep your dogs on leads during the busy season – from May to September. Otherwise, you’re free to let them roam.

Boasting a picnic area and plenty of local restaurants, Shell Bay’s sandy route rivals the best of Lyme Regis when it comes to family seafront facilities. Keep in mind, however, that there is a designated zone on this route for naturist visitors. Therefore – be careful so you don’t get a shock, keep an open mind, and always read the signs.

There are no lifeguards on cover here, so while dogs are allowed, you’re going to need to keep a close eye on them. Why not take a look at nearby Knoll Beach while you’re in the area for more dog friendly days out in Dorset?

Seasonal restrictions: No (Keep dogs on leads between May and September)

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Studland, nr Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset BH19 3BA

Facilities nearby: Restaurants, cafes, picnic area, National Trust site, harbour access

Eypemouth Beach

Down in sunny Bridport, Eype Beach (as it’s known locally) is a shingle beach that offers amazing views – particularly of the world-famous Jurassic Coast. It will also readily welcome dogs all year round, though as with other beaches covered in pebbles, it’s worth considering what’s comfortable on their paws.

This area tends to be very popular with anglers and swimmers. However, we’d advise caution here, as there are no lifeguards on duty. It’s also probably a good idea to keep your four-legged friends on leads, too, even though dogs are allowed to roam free. You should also take a look down at Hive Beach, too, if you’re keen to sample the wider sands.

Eype Beach is a little bit off the beaten track, but it’s backed by a handy car park as well as links to some of the best cliff walks along the South West Coast Path. Just as you’d take care along steep winding lanes heading towards other beaches in Dorset’s rural corners, make sure that you have protective footwear, and eyes on your dogs at all times!

Seasonal restrictions: No 

Lifeguard service: No 

Address: Eypemouth Beach, Bridport, Dorset DT6 6AL

Facilities nearby: Pub, swimming, cliff walks, toilets, car parking

Last Word

Dog friendly beaches in Dorset are in strong supply, meaning you’ve got miles and miles to explore between you and your four-legged friends. From East Beach to West Beach / West Bay, to the popular Monkey Beach down in Swanage, there’s actually plenty more where this list came from. The fact is, if you are up for some dog walking down in Dorset, it shouldn’t take you that long to find sea wall beaches and cove walking spots.

What we really love about Bournemouth beaches and those heading out towards the Jurassic Coast is the fact that there’s a great variety. There are tourist spots as well as the odd coves that provide secluded peace as and when you need it. Some may even have an allocated dog exercise area or two.

There’s also much more than just sandy stretches out here. Hop on a land train to explore the Fleet Lagoon Nature Reserve, the Ancient Ware Cliffs, the Old Stone Quay, Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens, and – of course – Lyme Regis’ town centre. Once you’ve found a dog-friendly beach in Dorset that ticks all the right boxes, you’ll find it to be a great launchpad for further adventures. In fact, check out other stretches along Preston Beach, Cogden Beach, Middle Beach, Lyme’s Marine Parade, Charmouth East Beach and more.

Of course, for a spot of R&R, make sure to read our guide to dog friendly pubs in Dorset to plan ahead for an afternoon tipple. Dog friendly families wanting somewhere new to explore down in the southernmost UK can’t do much better than Dorset.

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