There’s plenty for you and your best friend to do in Dorset, and with our large selection of pet-friendly cottages, there’s no need to leave them behind. We’ve put together a few dog-friendly beaches and attractions for you below so that you can be sure that your four-legged friend has the best holiday too!
Take your four-legged friend to the fantastic Dorset coast. Walk, run, dig up the sand on the beaches and hunt for fossils together.
There are lots of beaches in Dorset that allow our canine friends access all year. The most famous landmark in Dorset, Durdle Door, welcomes four paws as well as two to its shores and this popular sandy beach is perfect for dogs who love to splash about in the shallows and roll about in the sand. Be mindful, Seatown beach does not allow dogs at any time of year.
Beaches where four paws are allowed all year:
- Eype Beach
- Cogden Beach, Burton Bradstock
- Abbotsbury (Chesil Bank and Fleet Lagoon)
- Weymouth – Greenhill Groyne to Overcombe and Bowleaze Cove and dog exercise area (by Pavilion)
- Ringstead Beach
- Durdle Door
- Man O’ War Beach
- Lulworth Cove
- Worbarrow Bay
Dogs are also allowed on the South West Coast Path all year round. See here for details.
Beaches which have summertime and other restrictions for canines:
- Charmouth – no dogs between 10am and 6pm during July and August.
- Lyme Regis main beach – between May 1 and September 30, no dogs up to the bridge at the end of the promenade after which dogs are allowed on leads westwards towards Lyme Regis.
- West Bay – no dogs between 1st May and 1st October except on a lead in the port area.
- Burton Bradstock – no dogs between May 1 and September 30, except on East Beach.
- West Bexington – allowed all year in restricted area.
- Weymouth – Greenhill Groyne to dog exercise area (main sandy beach) – no dogs from Good Friday until 1st November.
- Swanage – no dogs between 1st May and 1st October.
- Studland – dogs on leads between 1st May and 30th September.
Dog-friendly attractions in Dorset
It's not all walkies! Bring your canine pal along to one of two of these dog-friendly attractions. Dorset is a dog-loving county and there are many places to take your four-legged friend while on holiday, here are some dog-welcoming attractions for you to explore.
Dogs in Swanage and Purbeck
At Dorset’s very own Ayers Rock, which is also known as Devil’s Anvil, your dog is allowed to roam free off the lead. To get there, walk from Studland Village across the heath for about 1 mile and you will discover a 400-tonne block of sandstone perched up on a hill. According to local legend, the Devil threw it from the Isle of Wight and was trying to hit Corfe Castle!
Arne, RSPB Nature Reserve
The 563-hectare nature reserve with fantastic wildlife welcomes dogs on leads. You can wander through beech woodlands, heathland, butterfly meadows and wetlands to a small beach. You will get the opportunity to see wild sika deer, wading birds, butterflies, squirrels and the possibility of nightjar and woodlark. A good tip is to check with the wardens at the visitor centre for what to look out for while there.
This castle ruin guards the gateway to Purbeck and has been a fortification since Roman times. It is on a natural hill and dominates the local landscape. It was defeated by treachery during the English Civil War. Today you can wander around the ruins and there are often special events so time your visit to attend for more fun. Plus, there is a National Trust shop and tearoom. Dogs welcome on a lead.
See the village of Corfe Castle in miniature and feel like a giant. Set in an acre of garden with a tearoom and shop in the centre of the ‘full size’ village, you’ll have a fun visit. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
This 280-acre wildlife park situated on the western edge of Swanage welcomes dogs on a lead in specific areas of the park. Most visitors start at the castle which houses a cafe/restaurant and shop, then wander through the park gazing out across open downland and out to sea before turning back at the lighthouse. Get a photo standing beside the giant globe and view live webcams of the seabird colony on the cliffs. If you are really lucky you might spot a dolphin! There are 30 different species of butterfly found here.
Kimmeridge Bay is a marine reserve with a visitor centre. Dogs are welcome here and can be let off the lead. There are also snorkelling trails, a Museum of Jurassic Marine Life and the Clavell Tower all situated near the picturesque village on the coast.
The Steam and Diesel Engines run from Swanage to Corfe Castle along 6 miles of beautiful countryside. They offer various dining experiences and run special events - you could even drive one on a Driving Experience. Take your dog along for the ride (on a lead, of course).
Dogs in Lulworth
Clouds Hill (Lawrence of Arabia’s home)
Once the home of T.E. Lawrence, more commonly known as of Lawrence of Arabia, this small cottage houses an exhibition about his life. The cottage is very close to how he left it just before he sadly died in a motorcycle accident on a local road nearby. You can also bring along your dog on a lead in the grounds.
Lulworth is a pretty village with an oyster-shaped cove, home to two pubs and various cafes and shops. The cove is an iconic Dorset landmark as is the nearby Durdle Door, the famous rock arch. The beaches here allow dogs all year round.
A village ‘frozen in time’, the village was evacuated in 1943 as it had been commandeered by the army for training purposes and the war effort. The villagers believed they would return, but it never happened. Today this village ruin sits in a beautiful valley with a track leading to Worbarrow Bay. The village has two exhibitions in the church and the old school house, displaying what life was like before the evacuation. The ancient Hill Fort of Flowers Barrow is set high above and provides great sunset views – a perfect place to take the dog for a walk on a lead.
Dogs in Weymouth and Dorchester
Two delightful wetland nature reserves found in the centre of town, just behind the harbour. Information centre, cafe and toilets. Dogs welcome on leads.
The valley was landscaped in the style of Capability Brown in the 18th century. The gardens are in a horseshoe shape below Minterne House, with a chain of small lakes, waterfalls and streams to explore. There is a unique collection of Himalayan Rhododendrons and Azaleas, and the garden is famous for its autumnal colours. Dogs are welcome on a lead in the grounds.
Built by Henry VIII to protect Portland Harbour, the castle is now a ruin. It is surrounded by gardens and has a cafe just off The Rodwell Trail.
A mix of life-size models, fossils and skeletons, you are encouraged to have a ‘hands-on experience’! Your dog can come too as long as he is well-behaved around the exhibits.
Dogs in Bridport
This historic subtropical garden is over 250 years old and welcomes dogs on leads throughout the 20 acres of exotic and unusual shrubs and trees. This botanic treat is located in a unique, mild climate with a restaurant, plant nursery and play area.
Dogs are welcome at Eggardon Hill as long as they are kept under control around the farm animals that graze on the land. At 827 feet above sea level, this Iron Age hillfort commands a fantastic vantage point so you can enjoy fantastic views. On a good day you can see South Devon, Start Point and the English Channel. You can drive there along the line of the Roman Road. If you’re lucky, you may spot a heard of wild deer grazing with a spectacular white stag in its midst.
Dogs are welcome at this iconic Dorset landmark as it sits all alone on a hilltop. Be sure to check for farm animals and ensure your dog is on a lead should there be sheep or cattle around. Walk up the hill to see the panoramic views of Chesil Beach and Portland. Wander around the nooks and crannies of the chapel, including the ‘wishing holes’ where the local women used to pray to St Catherine to find them a husband.
Dogs in Lyme Regis
Dogs on a short lead are welcome in the gardens and tearooms. Dogs aren't allowed in the house.
This historic harbour wall has a fascinating history and is famous in its own right, as well as having been featured in many literary works.
The great rocky shoulder of Golden Cap is the highest point on the South Coast at 191m and provides panoramic views in every direction.
There are National Trust car parks on each side of Golden Cap at Stonebarrow Hill to the west and Langdon Hill in the east, and there are 25 miles of footpaths around the Golden Cap estate. An old radar station houses a National Trust information point, shop and toilets.
At the top of Golden Cap is Thorncombe Beacon. It was one of a series of beacon hills along the south coast where lookouts kept an eye on the horizon for the Spanish Armada approaching during the Elizabethan era.
When it's time for you and your dog to head back home, why not stay in one of our Jurassic Coast cottages? Our excellent range of pet-friendly self-catering holiday homes and cottages throughout Dorset will welcome all members of the family.