Dorset’s coastline is a feast for the eyes and soul. From the sweeping silhouette of Durdle Door to the gently undulating sands of Weymouth Bay and the layered cliffs of Lulworth Cove, our beaches will leave you feeling invigorated. Let’s take a journey around three of my personal highlights, which are a little off the beaten track but, nonetheless, guaranteed to enchant at any time of year.
Endless golden sands
For me, the best beaches are those you can go back to over and over, all year round. So that means easy access and parking, a brilliant café nearby and a safe, sandy bay where relaxation is top of the agenda.
You’ll find all this and more at Knoll Beach and Middle Beach in Studland Bay. Owned by the National Trust, they are perfect for a walk in the autumn and winter and super for a sunbathe in the summer, dogs are welcome all year round too! The golden sands seem to stretch on forever, the sea is safe and gentle and the scenery is perfect. You’ll love it!
Walk the coast
If you’re after a walk that will blow away the cobwebs of everyday life and leave you feeling invigorated for days to come, the South West Coast Path is a must. From West Bay, where you can book West Bay Watch, you can head west towards Eype and Seatown – a beautiful walk with some ups and downs! Take in the stunning peak of Golden Cap which is equally beautiful bathed in the morning light or sunset glow. Just ask anyone who has stayed at Hardown House about the views!
Make your pit stop – with a little detour – at Downhouse Farm Café. They welcome dogs and you can take in the view across Lyme Bay to Portland. Head east, and you’ll reach Hive Beach, owned by the National Trust. From here you can wander up to Burton Bradstock, where there is a great choice of pubs and cafés.
A castle by the sea
Stunning views are never in short supply in Highcliffe, a small town on the coast a few miles east of Bournemouth. Spend the day at Highcliffe Castle, a truly splendid Grade I listed historic house that’s been called one of the finest Romantic and Picturesque houses. There are centuries of fascinating history to uncover and plenty for the kids to enjoy, like trails to follow and special events.
Afterwards, grab the picnic and wind your way down the zig-zagging path through scrub and trees to the beach, where the sands open out in front of you like a picture book. There are irresistible views over to the Isle of Wight and the attractive Hengistbury Head. I find myself coming back here over and over. For an hour or two, you can leave the pressures of daily life behind and find yourself simply captivated.
The team at Highcliffe Castle is working hard to reopen soon following the lockdown. In the meantime, the car park is open but does tend to fill up early on hot days, so plan to get here nice and early.
Continue the journey
Let us take you on a journey to Dorset from the comfort of your sofa! In these uncertain times, we’re bringing the best of England and Wales to you – so read on and experience Anne-Marie from Wyke Dorset Cottages’ favourite places to go and some hidden gems, too. We’ve got plenty of nearby properties, and can’t wait to welcome you back soon…