Top 10 dog-friendly beaches in Dorset

Beaches, Coastal, Pet friendly

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! All of the pet-friendly beaches below welcome dogs all year round, without restrictions.

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: Multiple pay and display car parks close to the beach. Cafe and picnic area.

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: Car parking on the clifftop above. Cafe, toilets and shop nearby.

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: Road parking and pay and display parking nearby. Toilets, cafe, shop, pub nearby.

Monmouth Beach

Image: Paleobear (licensed under CC 2.0)

This pretty sand and pebble beach in Lyme Regis 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, this 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: Pay and display car park next to the beach. Toilets - other amenities a 10-15 minute walk into town.

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 five miles east of Weymouth.

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

Eypemouth Beach

The pretty village of Eype leads you down steep winding lanes to the hidden beauty of Lower Eype 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: Small car park above the beach. Pub and refreshments in Eype, a 10-minute walk away.

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, the beach 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.

Facilities: Nearest parking at Mudeford Quay (15-minute walk) - ferry also available from the quay. Cafe, toilets and shop next to the beach.

Steamer Point Beach

Located at Christchurch, admire the Isle of Wight from the sandy shores of this beautiful beach, welcoming dogs off the lead all year round. Part of a 24-acre nature reserve, this beach can only be reached via Highcliffe Castle or the mile-long path leading from nearby Friar's Cliff Beach.

Facilities: Pay and display parking at Steamer Point and Highcliffe Castle. Cafe and toilets.

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.

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: Parking around a 45-minute walk away in Seatown.

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.

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.

Posted by Hannah on 7th February 2018