Top 10 dog-friendly beaches in Dorset

Beaches, Coastal, Pet friendly

Posted by Hannah on 7th February 2020


Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

Planning a holiday in Dorset, home to one of Britain’s most spectacular coastlines and countryside radiant with natural beauty? Don’t let the thought of taking your dogs hold you back from exploring this lovely county on the South Coast - there are plenty of dog friendly beaches in Dorset to discover for a start! 

On these dog-friendly Dorset beaches, you can spend your days getting salty paws and toes on long beach walks, doing some doggy paddle in the crystal-blue sea or simply digging holes in the beach (your dog may be more successful at this than you). 

In fact, all of the pet-friendly beaches below welcome dogs all year round, without restrictions, so you're free to roam these dog-friendly beaches in Dorset with your four-legged best friend! 

Chesil Beach

This gently sloping shingle beach, also known as Chesil Bank, is a popular spot for mackerel fishing and offers wonderful views over to Weymouth and Portland. The pebbly 18-mile stretch of Chesil Beach from Portland to West Bay offers an abundance of dog walking space and the opportunity to delve into the world of fossil hunting too. After a long game of fetch, have a look around the village of Abbotsbury. The Swannery and Sub-Tropical Gardens are great attractions, although please note only the Sub-Tropical Gardens allow dogs.

Facilities:>Cafe and picnic area.>

Parking: Multiple pay and display car parks close to the beach. 

Durdle Door West and East Beach

The distinctive rocky arch of Durdle Door, near West Lulworth, is perhaps one of the country’s most recognised geological wonders. You’ll love walking along the sand and pebble beach here and along the adjacent Man 'O' War beach with your dog. Access to Durdle Door beach is a bit limited so make sure you wear sturdy footwear walking down the steep path or over the hills from Lulworth Cove. Lulworth Cove is also a beautiful place to visit and also has a pretty dog-friendly shingle beach (no restrictions between October and March).

Facilities: Cafe, toilets and shop nearby.

Parking:Car parking on the clifftop above.

Bowleaze Cove

Moody blue cliffs provide a stunning backdrop to this beautiful beach, located just 2 miles east of Weymouth and 2 minutes away from the South West Coast Path. As well as being dog friendly, Bowleaze Cove is also a great family beach, with shallow zones for bathing and watersports.

Facilities: Toilets, cafe, shop, pub nearby.

Parking:  >Road parking and pay and display parking nearby.

Monmouth Beach

Image: Paleobear (licensed under CC 2.0)

Probably the best dog-friendly beach in Lyme Regis , this pretty sand and pebble beach welcomes dogs all year round – great news for dog-friendly families wanting to spend the day fossil hunting or rock-pooling at low tide. Part of the Jurassic Coast, Monmouth Beach is backed by the ancient Ware Cliffs. It's around a mile outside of Lyme Regis town centre, but all of the town's amenities should still be within easy reach.

Note: Other beaches in Lyme Regis may have restrictions.

Facilities: Toilets - other amenities a 10-15 minute walk into town.

Parking:Pay and display car park next to the beach.

Ringstead Bay

This shingle stretch of Ringstead Bay, with its excellent water quality, is lovely for bathing and swimming as well as dog walking. At low tide, a stretch of sand is also uncovered, and there are also rockpools to explore at the western end. It's located around 5 miles east of Weymouth.

Facilities: Cafe, shop and toilets. 

Parking:Pay and display car park 50 metres from beach, free National Trust car park on the cliff top (involves a steep walk)

Eypemouth Beach

The pretty village of Eype leads you down steep winding lanes to the hidden beauty of Lower Eype beach, also known as Eypemouth Beach. A small pebbly beach popular with walkers enjoying the South West Coast Path, enjoy endless games of fetch and gorgeous views out to sea.

Facilities: Pub and refreshments in Eype, a 10-minute walk away.

Parking: Small car park above the beach.

Mudeford Sandbank

Situated at the mouth of Christchurch harbour, this sandy beach offers amazing views over the Solent towards the Isle of Wight and The Needles. Extending off Hengistbury Head, Mudeford Sandbank can be reached by a 15-minute walk, a land train or ferry. As well as walks along the beach, the beach is also great for bathing and water sports and we reckon it's one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Christchurch.

Facilities: Cafe, toilets and shop next to the beach.

Parking: Nearest parking at Mudeford Quay (15-minute walk) - ferry also available from the quay.

Steamer Point Beach

Another contender for the best dog-friendly beach in Christchurch, you can admire the Isle of Wight from the sandy shores of Steamer Point Beach, welcoming dogs off the lead all year round. Part of a 24-acre nature reserve, the beach can only be reached via Highcliffe Castle or the mile-long path leading from nearby Friar's Cliff Beach.

Facilities: Cafe and toilets.

Parking: Pay and display parking at Steamer Point and Highcliffe Castle.

Church Ope Cove

Near Fortuneswell, Church Ope Cove is one of the very few beaches on the Isle of Portland, and good news – its dog friendly! A haven for bird watchers, enjoy the secluded peace of this pretty little cove walking your dog along the pebbly shores.

Facilities: Toilets by the beach. Small cafe at the nearby caravan park. 

Parking: Small, free car park opposite Pennsylvania Castle. 

St Gabriel's Mouth

Image: Rob Noble, licensed under CC 2.0

At the heart of the Jurassic Coast lies St Gabriel's Mouth, a peaceful sandy beach. Perhaps the most remote beach on this list, the only way to reach it is via a 45-minute coastal path walk from the village of Seatown, home to the Golden Cap, the tallest cliff in England. Despite the long walk, however, the views and peacefulness are well worth it!

Facilities: None! Bring some water and a picnic and remember to take your rubbish with you.

Parking: Parking is around a 30-minute walk away at Golden Cap.

Dog-friendly holidays in Dorset

If you're looking for a dog friendly beach or inspiration while on holiday in Dorset, don't forget to check out our Dog Spot, filled with great content on dog-friendly holidays.

Things to remember

  • Remember to respect the tide times at all times as some beaches can be completely cut off at high tide.
  • Pay attention to any warning signs on the beaches, and be aware of landslides, mudslides and falling debris from the cliff faces.

Dog-friendly beaches Dorset map