10 of the best dog-friendly beaches in Dorset

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Local dog owners group, Dorset Dogs, have recommended their 10 favourite dog friendly beaches in Dorset for us. You’ll find a great choice of walks for you and your four-legged friend, from sandy beaches to stunning scenery at iconic locations like Durdle Door

Hengistbury Head

Dog friendly beaches in Dorset - Hengistbury Head

This is a huge area with plenty of space to zoom around, and because it’s so popular with dog lovers, it’s a great place for socialisation and training. It’s lots of fun to explore, with beautiful scenery, sand and sea. You can even walk the beach all the way around to Mudeford Spit and get the land train back. Plus there’s a café if you get peckish, and loos too.

Sandbanks West

Dog friendly beaches in Dorset - Sandbanks beach

There’s a real sense of friendliness at the ‘dog end’ of this beach in the summer, as you know that pretty much everyone there is a dog owner. Everything about it is great, from the beach itself to the sea, the views and the facilities. Our lad hates getting a sniff of the sea if he can’t chase a ball on the beach, so this is a favourite with all of us!

Weymouth Pavilion Beach

A smallish area but it’s off-lead all year round so hugely popular with doggy tourists. Our dogs love to swim in the shallow seas, and it’s great for puppies. Nearby Bowleaze beach, Portland, Church Ope and Chesil Cove are all-year too, so there’s plenty to explore. Portland in particular has some unusual walks and great open spaces, and always welcomes responsible dog owners.

Studland Beach

Dog friendly beaches in Dorset - Studland beach

Studland is great for a dog-friendly day out and one of our favourite places. There are lots of facilities, a beautiful shallow bay and stunning dunescapes, making it fun for the dogs and for the kids. During the summer season, when it’s on-lead only, you can hop across the ferry to nearby Sandbanks for off-lead time.

Lulworth Cove & Durdle Door

Dog friendly beaches in Dorset - Durdle Door

If you’re looking for spectacular and unusual scenery, this is a great choice for a dog-friendly beach day out. There are plenty of facilities at Lulworth, and on weekends you can climb the steps at the east end of the beach to explore the Fossil Forest and Mupe Bay’s cliff top walks. Last time I was at Durdle Door the East Bay was deserted and me and the dogs all swam in the sea together!

Hamworthy Park Beach

I love Hamworthy with its sea views, dog-friendly beach and lovely field for running about in. There’s a café for when you get hungry, water taps for when your dog gets thirsty, and a play area for the kids too. It’s a great place to socialise; our bull mastiff loves places with plenty of safe water to swim in, so this is a favourite of ours.

Branksome Chine beach

Dog friendly beaches in Dorset - Branksome

This a lovely sand and shingle dog-friendly beach, with greats view of the beautiful wooded chine behind it. In the winter you can walk all the way from Branksome beach to Sandbanks, which is very popular with dog owners.


Dog friendly beaches in Dorset - Kimmeridge Bay

This small coastal village on the Isle of Purbeck is a good place to spend a day. Take a picnic to eat on the rocks in the bay, and then go on a nice dog walk – the whole area falls within a designated Are of Natural Beauty, so there are some very scenic views.

Cogden Beach

This peaceful, rural beach is owned by the National Trust and is very easy to get to. It is part of the larger Chesil Beach (famous as the location for Ian McEwan’s 2007 novel of the same name) which in turns forms part of the Cogden Circular, making it a great place for dog walking.

Steamer Point & Highcliffe Beach

We love Steamer Point, which is part of a 24 acre nature reserve with a very informative information point. The walk from Avon Beach through the nature reserve to Highcliffe Castle is fantastic, and ideal for dogs.

Practical details for dog friendly beaches in Dorset

For more information, including location and seasonal changes about these and more fantastic beaches around Dorset, visit www.dorsetdogs.org.uk and www.iCoast.co.uk

Article and photos by the members of Dorset Dogs

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