Best Beaches in Dorset

5 Best Beaches on the Dorset Coast

What Dorset may lack in overall coastline it certainly makes up for in the variety and quality of beaches along the 60 or so miles of coast. The fact that over half the county's coastline is made up by the UNESCO World Heritage Site Jurassic Coast should give one an inkling that there's something special about Dorset's beaches!

The choice of coves and beaches is impressive with, to use a cliche, something for everyone. There are vast sandy stretches around Bournemouth, quality surf spots near Kimmeridge and the most amazing and bizzarre coves along the Purbeck coast. This is prime holiday territory so the choice of Dorset cottages to rent is pretty comprehensive too

Lulworth Cove
Lulworth Cove

Best Cove

OK, a slightly vague title and various contenders including Durdle Door and Chapman's Pool but I think Lulworth Cove should take this title.

Located on the Isle of Purbeck (which isn't really an island) is the anomoly that is Lulworth Cove. Formed relatively quickly in geological terms the cove is almost a perfect circle with a break in the cliffs leading out to the open ocean.

It is the result of several hundred thousand years erosion by the sea of the various bands of rock and clay that form the coast here. The cliffs are limestone and chalk, where as the hole in the middle is hewn from softer clay.

Sandbanks, from Studland
Sandbanks, from Studland

Best for Millionaires

Arguably the most overpriced strip (or spit if you prefer) of land in the UK is Sandbanks on the outer edge of Poole harbour. Boasting a plethora of the most expensive houses in Britain (and therefore the World!) Sandbanks is the haunt of the inordinately wealthy and a source of fascination to those who aren't!

Whilst the narrow strip of sandy, beach fringed land has it's merits, including great views across the World's 3rd biggest harbour, it is hard for the mere mortals amongst to understand how many of the houses here fetch over £5 million. But the likes of Liam Gallagher. Lenny Kravitz and Gordon Ramsay have all been rumoured to have an interest in property here. Sandbanks is particularly popular with premiereship footballers

Fisherman's Walk Beach
Fisherman's Walk Beach

Best for Families

Fisherman's Walk Beach in Boscombe (just outside Bournemouth) is a fine example of a good old fashioned British family beach. Other close contenders were Swanage and Weymouth, but Weymouth tends to get ridiculously crowded in the summer and the parking is just a bit easier here.

As you would expect of a family beach Fisherman's Walk is safe in all respects with clean water (Blue Flag Award) and seasonal lifeguards. The bathing is made even safer with zoning for watercraft and the LV= KidZone - lost children scheme.
It also has all the facilities nearby including shop, cafe and toilets.

Charmouth Beach
Charmouth Beach

Best for Fossils

They don't call this stretch of coast The Jurassic coast for nothing! With cliffs and coast documenting 180 million years of geology, the Blue Lias rock here is rich in fossils from this period. Frequent landslips regularly unearth new fossils making this a haven for paleontologists.

Charmouth beach near Lyme Regis is one of the most accessible and amenable sites on the coast for fussil hunting with recent cliff falls exposing many fossils. The most common find is the ammonite although it was near here that Mary Anning famously discovered the first complete icthyasaurus back in 1811.
These days however you'd be pretty lucky to find too much as there are plenty of commercial fossil collectors combing this stretch.

Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach

Best for Length

I really-tailor made this category for Chesil Beach as it deserves mention. At 18 miles (29Km) long and virtually straight for most of its length, the beach here is pretty spectacular. It doesn't become any less unusual on closer inspection either. The beach consists of a shingle bank reaching 50ft (15m) high and around 600ft (200m) wide - it is apparently and example of a 'tombolo'!

One interesting fact about Chesil beach is that the size of the chert and flint shingle actually gradually changes size over the length of the beach. I can't remember which way around it is but the stones are bigger at one end than the other.

Another unusual fact is the stones that make up the beach are not like any in the locality and their exact origin is not entirely clear.

More by this Author

  • Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

    Bodmin Moor is Cornwall's last great wilderness. Although it only covers around 80 square miles the moor feels much more remote. Despite its harshness and bleakness this is not a featureless landscape. I find it both...

  • 10 Places to Visit in Somerset

    I've just spent the last 3 days haring around Somerset with a camera. When you read through the list below please don't expect to manage it in 3 days - I am the fastest thing on 2 legs with a camera and I have the sore...

  • Surfing Slang: An A-Z of Surf Terms

    An A to Z of surfing terms from air to Zog's it's all here. If talking the talk is important to you apres surf then this list of surfing terms should prove invaluable!

1 comment

swiftman profile image

swiftman 7 years ago from At Sea

I love dorset and Devon beaches they so nice and clean, plus th water looks so much more clear.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article