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Beaches in Purbeck

Studland and Swanage - sandy beaches ideal for families. Kimmeridge, Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Worbarrow Bay are more rugged.

The Purbeck Beach Guide

CategoryShell BayKnoll BeachMiddle BeachSouth BeachSwanage BeachKimmeridge BayWorbarrow BayLulworth CoveDurdle Door
Beach typeSandSandSandSandSandShalePebbleShingleShingle
ToiletsYes (in car park)YesYesNoYesYesNoYesYes (in car park)
Disabled toiletsYesYesYesNoYesYesNoYesYes (in car park)
Baby changingYesYesYesNoYesNoNoYesNo
ShopNoYesYesNoYesNoNoYesYes (in car park)
RefreshmentsYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYes (in car park)
Watersport hireYesYesNoNoYesYesNoYesNo
Dogs allowed off lead1 Oct - 30 April1 Oct - 30 April1 Oct - 30 April1 Oct - 30 April1 Oct - 30 AprilAll yearAll yearAll yearAll year
Dogs allowed on lead1 May - 30 Sept

1 May - 30 June. 1 July - 7 Sept before 10am and after 6pm. 8 Sept - 30 Sept.

1 May - 30 June. 1 July - 7 Sept before 10am and after 6pm. 8 Sept - 30 Sept.

1 May - 30 SeptN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Dogs not allowedN/A1 July - 7 Sept between 10am and 6pm.1 July - 7 Sept between 10am and 6pm.N/A1 May - 30 SeptN/AN/AN/AN/A

Studland

Studland's sandy beaches (Shell Bay, Knoll Beach, Middle Beach and South Beach) are owned and managed by the National Trust (opens in a new window) .

Dogs (opens in a new window)  are allowed at certain times of the year.

Shell Bay is the start of the 630 mile South West Coast Path national trail. Old Harry Rocks near South Beach mark the end of the Jurassic Coast (opens in a new window)

Various  watersports (opens in a new window) are available at Studland's beaches.

The shortest route to get to the beaches from Poole and Bournemouth is via the Sandbanks Ferry (opens in a new window) . Bus number 50 stops at Shell Bay, Knoll Beach and Studland village (a short walk to Middle Beach and South Beach), download the timetable. The Rempstone Cycle Ride is the best way to reach Studland by bike - avoiding busy roads.

Swanage

A sandy beach with all the facilities of a seaside town - owned and managed by Swanage Town Council (opens in a new window) .

Dogs (opens in a new window)  are allowed at certain time of the year.

Various watersports (opens in a new window) are available at Swanage beach.

Wilts and Dorset bus company run bus numbers 50, 40 and 44 from Worth Matravers, Wareham, Poole and Bournemouth - download the timetables. There is a Steam Railway which runs between Norden Park & Ride, Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross, Herston and Swanage with lots of room for bikes, pushchairs, buckets and spades - for details visit Swanage Railway (opens in a new window) .

Kimmeridge

Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and is made up of shale which runs out to sea in smooth ledges (known as Kimmeridge Ledges). These ledges are a great spot to sit when the tide is out, although rock pools and wet areas can be very slippery. The Kimmeridge cliffs are very unstable and should not be climbed. The top part of the beach is loose shale.

Swimming is possible but the beach is most popular for its shoreline and the wildlife to be found in the rock pools. The Fine Foundation Marine Centre found next to the beach contains information about the Marine Reserve and is run by Dorset Wildlife Trust (opens in a new window) . Weather permitting, under water camera viewing of sea-life is available at the Centre. There is a snorkelling trail during summer and glass-bottomed kayaks tours are also available - find details on the  Dorset Wildlife Trust website (opens in a new window) .

There is a large cliff top car park which a charge is paid at the top of the road. Toilet facilities are available in the car park. There is a slipway available for small boats to the side of the beach (charge payable on top of the car park fee).

Dogs are allowed all year.

Beach cleans are organised several times a year by the Dorset Wildlife Trust (opens in a new window) .

Worbarrow Bay

A pebble beach owned and managed by  The Ministry of Defence (opens in a new window) (MOD). The beach slopes steeply into the sea and the safest part for swimming is the end next to Worbarrow Tout.

The beach, Tyneham Village and the Lulworth Range Walks are only open some weekends, during Bank Holidays and in the school summer holidays, although the MOD reserve the right to close the area at any time.  Parking and toilets are available in Tyneham Village approximately 1 mile inland from the beach.

Dogs are allowed all year.

Beach cleans are organised several times a year by the Dorset Wildlife Trust (opens in a new window) .

Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove is part of the Lulworth Estate (opens in a new window) . Found in West Lulworth, the Cove has a shingle beach which slopes steeply into the sea, although some parts are reasonably safe for swimming.

Dogs are allowed all year.

Water sports (opens in a new window) are available at Lulworth Cove.

Durdle Door and Man O' War

Durdle Door and Man O' War is part of the Lulworth Estate (opens in a new window) .

Please note access to the beach at Durdle Door is limited at present due to a landslide. The adjacent Man O' War beach is open and accessible. Durdle Door and Man O' War are shingle beaches which can only be reached on foot via a steep path and steps over the hill from Lulworth Cove or down from Durdle Door Caravan Park where parking is available. The beaches slope steeply into the sea in places but swimming is possible in some parts. 

Dogs are allowed all year.

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