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Dorset

Dorset's secret beaches

Being superbly located on the Jurassic Coast, Dorset has access to some of the most beautiful stretches of beach in the UK.

Golden sands leading out to the clearest turquoise waters, rugged cliffs towering down from the South West Coastal Path and the most spectacular natural monuments such as Durdle Door just waiting for visitors to come and admire its beauty.

Whatever you are looking for from your trip to the coast, Dorset has it in spades. Have a look at some of our favourites!

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1. Worbarrow Bay

Worbarrow Bay

Dog-friendly: Worbarrow Bay is dog-friendly all year and there's even a welcoming pub nearby for pups and their owners. 

Car parking: A car park can be found at Tyneham village. 

Kids will love the air of mystery in Tyneham village which was abandoned in 1943 after the area was commandeered by the War Office.

A short ascent from the village leads to panoramic views over huge areas of heathland where you will encounter an abundance of wildlife, rare flowers, fungi and insects. Another bonus is that Worbarrow Bay is dog-friendly throughout the year and there’s a nearby pub where dogs are welcome. 

Walk to this secret beach on the Jurassic Coast: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate – 4 miles.One steady climb and one steep descent.
  • Getting There: The walk starts in the ghost village of Tyneham (BH20 5DE).
  • Best For: Dog walkers and children.

Download the walk for full details and directions.

Take the family away to The Grain Store in nearby West Lulworth, a holiday home for five that’s just 3 miles from Worbarrow Bay. Stay in a holiday cottage in West Lulworth with the family.

2. Chapman’s Pool and Dancing Ledge

Chapman's Pool

Dog-friendly: Dog's are welcome at this beautiful quiet seaside spot. 

Car parking: Park up at Renscombe Car Park to discover this secret beach. 

The hidden beach at Chapman’s Pool is a wonderfully wild beach where the stream joins the sea from a plunging ravine carved through high cliffs. If you are a strong swimmer stop off at Dancing Ledge. The pool cut out of the rock is like an infinity pool with a sea view.

As the tide returns, the water becomes a jacuzzi (best to take your cue here and get out before the ledge is completely immersed under the waves - experienced swimmers can swim in the sea next to the pool). Finish off with pint and pasty at the Square and Compass. It dates back to 1752 and has its own Fossil Museum. 

Walk to this secret beach on the Jurassic Coast: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate – 7.3 miles. The path is steep and can be slippery. Heathland is exposed on windy days.
  • Getting There: Start in Spyway car park (BH19 3HG).
  • Best For: Everyone. A breathtaking, dog-friendly walk.

Download the walk for detailed info.

Enjoy a trip to Above the Bay, an exquisite holiday cottage for seven that's right by the sea in Swanage, again just 3 miles away from this beautiful secret beach of Chapman's Pool. Find a holiday cottage in Swanage for your next Dorset break. 

3. Osmington Mills Beach

Osmington Beach

Dog-friendly: This cove is only small but welcomes dogs all year - keep a close eye on your canine companion near the crumbling cliffs! 

Car parking: The closest two are Ringstead National Trust Car Park and Overcombe Car Park. 

Kids will love the white horse and the foundations of the Roman villa on this walk. One of the highlights all the family can enjoy is the thatched Smuggler’s Inn which dates from the thirteenth century.

A pint in front of the fire in winter is a special treat! Work up an appetite with a swim or snorkel on Osmington Beach or try your luck fishing.

Walk to this secret beach on the Jurassic Coast: 

  • Difficulty: Moderate – 4.7 miles. Some gentle climbs and descents but nothing too strenuous.
  • Getting There: Start in Bowleaze Coveway car park (DT3 6PW).
  • Best For: Pub lunch, swimming and snorkelling.

Download the walk for route map and detailed historical info.

Retreat to the quaint and characterful Laurel Cottage in the heart of Osmington village which sleeps three guests and one dog, and is just 1.5 miles from the beach itself. Escape to Osmington for a break by this secret beach in Dorset.

Osmington holiday cottages

4. Mupe Bay

Mupe Bay

Dog-friendly: As it’s such a quiet seaside spot, dogs are welcomed all year round – however, you may wish to keep a close eye on your pup or, even better, keep them on a lead to ensure they don’t wander too near the steep cliffs.

Car parking: There are no car parks right by this quiet beach but you can walk from the car park at Lulworth Bay, otherwise a more direct route could be taken by parking at the church in Lulworth village.

This beautiful bay is quite out of the way and will involve a walk to reach it – perfect if you enjoy time out in the fresh, and discovering remote places while on holiday.

Rugged coastline extends in either direction offering beautiful views, and you may like to paddle in the shallow waters.

Ensure you are aware of the tide at all times and get off the beach when the tide begins to rise as there are no lifeguards in this quiet, secluded spot. It’s just the place to escape the world during your getaway to Dorset.

Walk to this secret beach on the Jurassic Coast: 

  • Difficulty: Hard – 4.5 miles with a very steep section around 2 miles into the walk.
  • Getting There: Starts and ends at the Lulworth Bay car park.
  • Best For: Anyone looking for a challenge.

Follow this challenging walking route from Lulworth to Mupe Bay.

While visiting this beauty spot, stay in Linden Lea Cottage - welcoming four guests and one dog, it’s a great place to collapse after all that walking! Stay in West Lulworth on the Jurassic Coast.

West Lulworth retreats

5. Fleet Lagoon

Fleet Lagoon

Dog-friendly: Dogs are welcome during the cooler months, while summertime restrictions apply. Dogs must be kept on a lead around the cliffs.

Car parking: Chesil Beach Car Park and Abbotsbury Beach Car Park.

An unexpected beauty spot with a peaceful beach, Fleet Lagoon is a real haven for wildlife and is a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The bed of the lagoon itself has been owned by the same family for an incredible 500 years, having been passed into the hands of the Ilchester family all the way back in 1539. Visit this scenic stretch of sand for a tranquil walk with the dog by your side.

Walk to this secret beach on the Jurassic Coast: 

  • Difficulty: Easy – 4 miles. There are gentle climbs and fields to pass through but it’s a relatively relaxed walk.
  • Getting There: Start by the Meadow Close bus stop in Chickerell, perfect if you’re holidaying without a car.
  • Best For: Wildlife-spotting as you circumnavigate the reserve.

Take a look at this walk here to plan your visit.

Stay at Stonebank, a wonderful holiday cottage in Weymouth sleeping eight guests and two dogs where you could enjoy a wonderful Dorset break. Stay in a Weymouth holiday cottage.

Cottages in Weymouth

6. Ringstead Bay

Ringstead Bay

Dog-friendly: Dogs are welcome all year round at this seaside spot, although you may be required to use a lead when in areas where there are likely to be ground-nesting birds.

Car parking: Ringstead Bay Car Park which is managed by the National Trust.

This wonderful sweeping golden beach is a real gem and a fantastic choice for families as there is something for everyone! Long walks for playful pups, the opportunity to go swimming in the clear waters for little ones and a beach café where everyone can collapse after a morning of adventure.

On clear days, you can spot Portland and there are usually beautiful coastal views surrounding you whatever the weather. It’s a delightful spot during the colder months when you can enjoy blustery beach walks, and during the summer months with plenty of picnic spots for everyone to gather. 

Walk at this secret beach on the Jurassic Coast: 

  • Difficulty: Varied – easy to hard. There are primarily lots of steep tracks meandering around this area for you to traverse.
  • Getting There: Park up at Ringstead Car Park and begin exploring!
  • Best For: Anyone and everyone – including your canine companion.

Visit the National Trust page to discover beautiful Ringstead Bay.

Book a trip to Seafields in Ringstead for a relaxed getaway with all the family – up to eight guests and one dog are welcome at this Dorset holiday home. Stay in nearby Osmington during your escape to Dorset and visit both beautiful secret beaches of Osmington and Ringstead Bay.

Stay in Osmington

And the rest…

There are many more beautiful secret beaches dotted all along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site for you to uncover, go walking and discover other secret coves and hidden sandy shores to enjoy. For anyone bringing the canine companion away on your travels, check out the Top Dog Walks on the Coast Path. 

When evening falls, and long days at the beach have you heading for bed, come to one of our holiday cottages on the Dorset Coast. From secret escapes for two, large houses for all the family or a retreat for you and a four-legged friend, we'll have the perfect property for all your needs. 

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