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The beaches in Dorset, alongside the many other beautiful coastal locations, make the county one of the UK's most perfect holiday destinations. With nearly 100 miles of coastline to be enjoyed, it's no surprise that some of the country’s best beaches are found here.
From the historic Jurassic Coast, where fossils await, to the town beaches in Bournemouth and Poole, there's a beach for everyone.
Blue Flag beaches:
The cleanliness and the safety of the beaches in Dorset are reflected by the fact that nine beaches in the county have Blue Flags. The Blue Flag status is an internationally recognised award and an indication of a beach’s high environmental and quality water standards. The Blue Flag beaches in Dorset include; Alum Chine (Bournemouth), Durley Chine (Bournemouth), Fisherman’s Walk (Bournemouth), Southbourne Beach (Bournemouth), Branksome Beach (Poole), Canford Cliffs Chine (Poole), Sandbanks Peninsula (Poole), Shore Road (Poole), and Swanage Central Beach (Swanage), which is also where Coldplay's iconic video for hit single Yellow was filmed.
For fossils and all-around natural beauty, the Jurassic Coast is your port of call. About 1km to the west of Lulworth Cove in West Dorset is arguably the most well-renowned features of the Dorset coastline, Durdle Door. The main feature at this beach is the staggering rock formation that glides down to the sea.
Man O’ War beach is located right next to Durdle Door and is a popular shingle beach providing safe bathing in relatively shallow water. Charmouth Beach is a great place to head for fossil hunting, with ammonite fossils found along the sands, while Lyme Regis is a fantastic place for a guided fossil walk.
These beaches all provide a stunning and dramatic backdrop for your holiday in Dorset.
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For beaches that are perfect for your next family holiday in Dorset, try locations such as Weymouth, Swanage, Sandbanks, and Bournemouth’s Alum Chine Beach. Weymouth beach offers visitors three miles of golden sand, minutes from the town centre and historic harbour. At Weymouth, you will also find more traditional seaside attractions as well as other great events during the peak season.
During the quieter months, the beach is dog-friendly and the Georgian esplanade is a lovely location for a stroll. During December you can even take part in the Christmas “Chase the Pudding” race at Weymouth Beach. Swanage Central beach has been an extremely popular Dorset beach for many decades, with many enjoying the golden sand and glistening water.
There are two beaches in the town of West Bay, East Beach and West Beach. The former, a fine shingle beach with sand at the water’s edge, is the beach used in the ITV drama Broadchurch. The latter is a pebbly beach with sand/shingle at the water’s edge that is perfect for families due to its location within a protective cove.
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Arguably some of the most popular beaches in Dorset can be found in and around the towns of Bournemouth and Poole. The pick of the beaches in Bournemouth is the main central beach which is comprised of glorious golden sand, and beautiful blue waters. Ideal for family holidays, its cleanliness is recognised as it has recently been the recipient of Keep Britain Tidy’s Seaside Award as well as being the only seafront in the country to receive a silver standard award from the Green Business Scheme. Poole’s Sandbanks beach is a small, sandy beach that has achieved Blue Flag Status for 26 consecutive years.
Use our guide of Dorset beaches above to help plan your next holiday in Dorset. While you're at it, take a look at our guide to things to do in Dorset, food and drink and our useful interactive map.